How To Pivot Your Business

COVID-19 Pandemic brought the world to its knees. With citizens now subject to strict social distancing measures and lockdown, brick and mortar businesses are forced to close with no clear direction of recuperation pending the availability 1of vaccines. Perhaps, Pivot Your Business Digitally can be a consideration.

Business Think Tanks are discussing ways to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus to the economy, and are sending signals that the “new normal” should be considered by business owners. To think of the upcoming years, we need to shape the “next normal” with new sets of dimensions for consideration.

Unfortunately, these changes can generate stress for business owners, their management, and their employees. But one can remedy this phase of uncertainty by foreseeing which of the areas these changes are most likely to happen so that the management can prepare to navigate the changes effectively. 

To be able to survive, business owners are advised to PIVOT in consideration to the “new normal” as part of the business structure, to meet the changing needs of the customers, community and thrive in a chaotic and unstable time, like the Coronavirus Pandemic.

To fully understand how Business Pivot can help businesses these challenging times, lets start by asking first:

What is a Business Pivot?

What is a Business Pivot

PIVOT is a term used by entrepreneurs intended to depict the change a business makes to be able to adapt to a need, and survive a tough period brought about by competition or a situation that renders the original business model unsustainable. 

By pivoting, we are talking about your ability to look at the existing problems that your business or organisation is facing and then being able to adapt quickly to the new environment so that you can still continue to grow and succeed.

Businesses usually pivot when their first business model isn’t working. However, “pivoting” doesn’t necessarily happen due to a failure in your business model. But it can also be referred to as something you discover that brings additional growth which you might have overlooked.

Ultimately, pivoting can help your business grow beyond its initial goals. And this is usually done by re-imagining your assets and talent. By thinking more broadly about the customer’s needs and how to solve it, you can seize new grounds to expand.

Where did the term “Business Pivot” come from?

Although the term “pivot” has been widely used by entrepreneurs, let’s discuss more about its origins. 

The use of the entrepreneurial term comes from Eric Ries and Steve Blank’s books that’s widely referred to as the “Lean Startup Method.”

The Lean Startup isn’t just about creating more successful businesses. Rather, it is about learning from other businesses and improving what you can do. It also refers to how quickly we can learn what works and discard what does not. 

Pivoting is usually referred to as a “Startup’s Rite of Passage”. And the question that lurks around pivoting is usually when do you it’s the proper time to do so. 

Pivoting is a process and is not an idea born from researching and applying it overnight.

The lean startup method has three key principles:

  • First, rather than researching in months of planning and research. Entrepreneurs write an intricate business plan and summarize “intelligent guesses” in a framework called a business model canvas.
  • Second, your “intelligent guesses” need to be tested with an approach called customer development.  In summary, they go out and ask potential users and partners for feedback on all the elements of your business model canvas, such as pricing, distribution channels and customer acquisition strategies. 
  • Third, the Lean Startup Method practices something called “agile development” which works together with “customer development.” This process creates the minimum of the products and tests it. Agile development reduces any wasted time and resources by developing the products repeatedly and incrementally.

Why Pivoting Your Business Digitally is Essential this Time

Contrary to what most businessmen believe, pivoting your startup is not quitting. Often, business owners struggle to pivot because of the fear that they’ll be labeled as a failure. 

However, waking up every day and grinding away at something that isn’t working isn’t perseverance but rather it’s insanity. 

The shift on how you perceive pivoting will help you feel less like a failure and more like a leader in making business decisions.

It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent species that will survive. According to Evolutionist Charles Darwin, it is the species who is able to adapt to the ever-growing change.

The same can be applied to businesses. Uncertainty is the only thing that is set. However, entrepreneurs must know that some of the greatest businesses came out from the worst of times.

While it is tough to pivot your business digitally during times of change. It is important to tighten your belt, review your contracts and decide what is necessary to run your business.

 

Why Business Pivots Are Crucial These Day

How To Pivot Your Business Digitally - Essential

Everything is changing at a rapid pace and the business world is no exception. And keeping up with the changes of society and technological advancements is crucial to the success of your business. This also includes keeping up with the trends in the industry and pivot according to the situation.

Pivoting your business digitally creates opportunities to expand your revenue. It can test what is working and what’s not and use the data to help you create your decisions. It can also help businesses focus on their effective strategies and pivot towards it.

It’s easier to stay relevant by pivoting especially when your business is about fulfilling a need. You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon but it’s about following your audiences and adjusting strategies to stay relevant to them.

Great ideas also come from testing different things. Businesses are all about trying new things. Part of the process is about making conclusions to pinpoint what really works best for your company.

Pivoting is a great way to reinvigorate your business as business must evolve if they want to stay top of mind with their audience. Becoming stagnant is one of the worst things that could happen to a company. And by finding   

Pivoting Your Business in Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 has made it necessary for companies to shift their business model quickly and are repurposing their assets to create new value in order to protect their brand and survive.

The current situation is chaotic and plenty of business owners share that they are unsure of what lies for the future. To get a clearer picture of how businesses have pivoted during COVID-19, here are some examples:

  • Gap, Nike, Zara, Brooks Brothers, and smaller manufacturers are using their factories to make masks, gowns, and scrubs.
  • Bicycle and sports equipment manufacturers are shifting to make personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers.
  • Luxury perfume and makeup brands, and P&G have shifted to hand sanitizer production
  • Trucking companies are partnering with logistics companies to replenish ransacked grocery and retail shelves.
  • Hotel booking platforms have partnered with hotels to create isolation centers
  • Baby clothes manufacturers are now making fabric facemasks and are donating masks to hospitals and rolling out a buy-one-give-one model.
  • GRAB, a food delivery app has shifted to delivering not only food but groceries at home.

 

Where to Look For Business Pivots?

How To Pivot Your Business Digitally

All good pivots start with three key points. You can guide yourself by clarifying what your Value propositions, Value networks and Target Customers are:

  • Value Proposition

Refers to the value that your company promises to deliver when customers choose to avail your products or services. It is a declaration that states what the company stands for and why it deserves the business.

You can also improve your business by shifting to what your customers need today. Your business can offer complete solutions, and turn it into a business.

  • Value Network

A value network consists of connections between organizations. This allows the members to buy and sell products and share their information. Put simply, how are you delivering and monetizing your services?

With value networks, you can discover new methods to deliver your value. You are also able to shift to a radically faster, better and cheaper supply chain. This especially works by uncovering options that you would never consider under normal circumstances.

You could also repurpose your assets and create new services with your existing resources. And lastly, can you monetize differently and find other ways to get paid like subscriptions and alternate payment methods.

  • Target Customers

Lastly, you may want to ask who is receiving the benefits of what you provide? You could search for new clients who could use your products and services. Or reposition offering with existing clients, this means that the best way to retain customers is to set them free. You can consider delivering your services and products at home or explore novel ways to get paid.

 

5 Clear Signs It’s Time To Pivot Your Business

  • You want to Create a Stronger Version of your Business

When you have the desire to take your company to a higher level of performance and profits, it requires a change and adaptation. It requires business owners to incorporate a new routine and habits from their employees.

If that change points you towards something better, then set your goal to begin improving efficiency while remaining competitive in the market.

  • The Market’s Overall Needs are Changing

The market will always evolve, and if you see the need to pivot your business then do so and meet the changing needs of your market. Keep an eye on your customers so that you can pivot and be where your customers need you to be.

  • Your People, Process Or Profits Are Declining

One of the clear signs that it is time to pivot your business is when your people, process or profits are declining. If your employee retention is declining then is the culture becoming complex or overly critical?

Are there confusion in the processes or executions? Are your performance ratings low? Lastly, are you behind on your market trends that are impacting your lead generation? We suggest that you get an outsider’s opinion to help you take action.

  • You’ve Stopped Growing

Your business growth indicates that what you are doing right now is working. If it stops or stagnates, then your business must pivot. You’ll need to verify ket measurements that’ll ensure that you’re aware of the health of your business. This includes your productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

  • What you are Offering is No Longer Relevant

You’ll know that it’s time to pivot when your clientele also begins to change. If your still is being overlapped by new methods, then if you do not change then your services will no longer be relevant to them.

 

10 Effective Strategies to Pivot Your Business During Lockdown

What can your small-to-large businesses and other organizations do to make the best of a current crisis? 

Technology is changing the way we live and work, as well as how businesses grow and innovate with their services. If your business does manage the chaos in these uncertain times, it will ultimately determine the it’s success or failure. 

Organizations are also navigating their way through a journey of digital transformation. And although every company is different,  here are 10 fundamental steps to helping you find your success.

Embrace Digital and Social

Working as a brick-and-mortar store has its limitations, especially during a crisis and lockdown. If you noticed, the companies and businesses that have partially transformed or moved their assets digitally have continued their income and remained operational, albeit skeletal, during this pandemic?

Going digital takes time for your business but your business doesn’t need to have a hundred percent digital transformation for it to continue working.

The first step to pivot your business digitally is by creating a website or social media page where the people can discover and look for more details about your business. If you have those, you can also branch out delivering your services online. 

Others like boutiques, gyms and small stores could launch their own online guides. You can create contents in which you can use to help increase traffic and awareness of your brand. This will ultimately work in your favor especially after COVID 19 is over.

Leverage your existing assets and resources

Businesses of all sizes are making successful pivots to fill in the varying customer needs and to continue their operations. If you can, leverage your current assets and pinpoint what you could change in order generating the needed supplies.

If clothing brands and P&G can switch their productions to manaufcature facemasks and sanitizers, what can your company provide to fill in the needed resources? 

You can start by understanding what the people need most right now. And if your business is unable to operate or provide, is there a way to pivot to digital or a business that is deemed essential?

Deepen loyalty with existing customers

In this time of uncertainty, your customers have plenty on their minds to think about. If you reach out to them and offer your services, you’ll need to be real, authentic and transparent about your efforts. 

You may think that this is the time to keep silent, however, to remain top of mind for your target market. You’ll need to continue maintaining a strong relationship with your clients. You can show them that you care or provide needed information that they’ll need or want.

Your customers and prospective clients are spending more and more time online. And there is no better time to share relevant and engaging content than today. But remember, they need to be authentic, helpful and sincere or otherwise you’ll receive a backlash from your marketing strategy.

You can also check what other companies are doing to engage customers that you could also be doing.

Explore the benefits of collaboration

There is a saying that if you want to reach further heights, you don’t go alone but together. The objective of our collaboration is to brainstorm new ideas and create new business partnerships. 

Partnerships can help you access new customers, products and markets. You can check if your partners could help you sell your products and see what you can offer them in exchange. Can you bundle your products together and create a successful collaboration.

Try and fail (and try again!)

The pandemic offers the best time to try again and again, no matter the results. It is time to experiment and launch new ideas with minimal investments. You can learn and improve with each iteration and although not everything you do will work out, move on, and make multiple attempts to figure out what’ll work for you.

Think of it this way. What can you get if you fail with your idea? Isn’t it knowledge? And learning a bit more to benefit you in the long run.

Embrace the Change needed

If your business has been severely impacted by the crisis, you are not alone. And this is nobody’s fault, and it is especially not the owner’s fault. Great companies can be built during hard times, embrace the need to pivot and don’t focus on what you can’t control and think about what you can.

Work from home and Do it Better

The pandemic has also forced plenty of layoff and temporary suspension of works from plenty of people. And some are fortunate to continue operations while working from home. 

Although this concept is old, it is still new for other businesses. If you haven’t already made the shift to work from home, this should be implemented now.

As a leader, it also falls on you to maintain regular working hours. There are plenty of tools you can use to monitor performance at home such as Hubstaff, RescueTime, ClickTime and Time Doctor.

You must also encourage breaks but not forgetting to socialize with colleagues. If need be, you can encourage your workers to use their sick leaves and help them get a well-deserved rest.

Lastly, if you can offer some training opportunities. The lockdown offers the perfect time to upskill your manpower for once everything returns to normal.

Digital Advertising

We mentioned that there is no better time to digitally advertise than today. While it may be exciting to learn and do a quick meeting to leverage on the excess time that you and your team have, you must remember that the messaging and strategy must be designed with the current situation in mind.

You have to consider the context and tone of your advertisements as they may trigger or might be misinterpreted.

You’ll also need to create content that is helpful. And proactively engage and communicate with your audiences. 

Lastly, consider that you don’t need to post each day and if needed, you’ll probably have to pause ads if you are unsure of your inventory.

Optimize loyalty programs

While it is not advisable to do hard-selling during the pandemic, you may want to seek the benefits of loyalty programs after the lockdown. One of the best ways to drive revenue for a community that is tightening their belts is to optimize the effects of loyalty programs.  

You can add in referral offers and bonuses so that your business is mostly engaged with your loyal customers. And you can take this opportunity to revamp your high-value segments. 

Focus on Your Online and Local Presence

There are numerous businesses that have been negatively affected or even closed down by the pandemic and government orders. However, many can pivot and adjust through the use of the internet.

No matter what is happening to the world, the people are still in need of supplies and would want to buy local where they can receive their orders in a short amount of time.

If a consumer buys online, they are often making decisions based on the local market. This is why you must optimize your local presence such as putting your business on Google My Business and Google Maps to increase visibility.

Your online presence can also be boosted by using online advertising campaigns. Consumers are also increasing their decisions to shop online with the lockdown and social distancing imposed. This is ultimately the reason why it is crucial to have an online presence. 

READ ALSO: Digital Marketing Strategy for Businesses Affected by Coronavirus Pandemic

Looking Forward to the “Next Normal”

COVID-19 Impact to Business

Scientists and public health officers and officials have studied the impacts on the pandemic. However, no definite study can pinpoint the impact and accuracy of any model of infection.

However, there are certain things we do know:

  • Social distancing remains the widely adapted action and the cheapest and cost-effective ways to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Until a vaccine is designed, everyone will be encouraged to stay at home under quarantines and lockdowns.
  • Online shopping will be a primary mode of purchase while on lockdowns and guarantees.
  • If the social distancing has been lifted, citizens’ adaptation to the “new normal” may not want to go out and start spending as there are still many risks of infections.

Just continue to control what you can manage and expand as opportunity, time, and limitations allow. Never forget to pivot your business digitally and take the necessary steps to keep your business continuity and maintain your competitiveness with the help of the internet. (A. Menchavez)

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