Settling Into a New Normal & Looking Forward

Blog > Tips & Advice

Settling Into a New Normal & Looking Forward

By The Independent Planners Collective | Oct 2, 2020

By now, most of us have shifted how we do business. Our programs, if any, now look a lot different than they did in February 2020. We had to think on our feet to navigate uncertainty and now we are in survival mode, but how do we get to thrive?

For independent planners (IPs) like us, that means taking control with the understanding that there are things that we cannot control—we cannot “fix” everything, but we can make it the very best that it can be.

We asked planners, “What are you doing now/how have you shifted?” in our September Crowdsourcing Poll. Some are trying new things that they didn’t have time to do pre-pandemic such as working on their business and not in their business. Many planners have told us they are immersing themselves in learning about hybrid and virtual events and studying for the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) exam. And sadly, a few of our colleagues have left the industry with the intention of coming back.

“Together, we can sustain our energies and strength to collaborate on events as they are today and what we can do to continually make them better in the future.”

“Some supplier and planner businesses may not survive the pandemic and individuals will end up in other industries, at least temporarily,” says MaryAnne Bobrow, president of Bobrow Associates Inc. and co-chair of MPI’s Independent and Small Business Advisory Board. “However, we are a strong community of small businesses that care deeply about each other, and together, we can sustain our energies and strength to collaborate on events as they are today and what we can do to continually make them better in the future.”

With a potential second wave of COVID-19 looming, one question jumps out, “How can we strategically plan when uncertainty is prevalent, and disruption threatens us from every corner?”

In short, we cannot. And that’s okay. If the pandemic has taught us anything, we have to put people, health and safety first and shift. Last month we talked about self-care. And after we care for ourselves, our families, friends, colleagues, clients and stakeholders are our next priorities. Keeping them safe and mitigating risks during a program we plan should be our goal. Being flexible and open to change has to be our mantra.

As planners, we like to plan, but considering “What happens next in our business?” is scary. When we asked some IPs, the resounding response had to do with collaboration. Planners are hiring other planners to work together. We are also sharing more information and best practices. We are okay with not being the lead planner on the event. We are learning to relinquish control. Still, some of us are just trying to figure out what happens next week, and that makes us feel weird. After all, we ARE planners.

If this pandemic teaches us anything, it will be to embrace change and be okay; this is thriving in the new normal!

We encourage our fellow planners to continue to seek support if you need it and reach out in the Independent and Small Business Owners forum group. Stay well!

Plan On Friends, Plan On!
Qualena, Heather & Tess

Our series “The Independent Perspective” returns next month with a new topic.

Photo by nine koepfer on Unsplash


ISBO Community Sponsor




independent planners
The Independent Planners Collective

Heather Herrig, CMP, Every Last Detail; Tess Vismale, CMP, iSocialExecution, Inc.; and Qualena Odom-Royes, CSEP, CMP, CDMP, EventEssentials, LLC, discuss the unique challenges and perks of the independent planner community.