Pivot’s one of those words that we’re hearing a lot at the moment; a word usually associated with a ballet dancer, being able to turn nimbly on their ‘pointe’ shoes. But a word that‘s proving equally relevant to businesses as they seek to trade in the new world since COVID-19.
No doubt you had clear goals set in place for your business at the start of the year. You’d have pored over figures, spreadsheets and graphs. You‘d have done detailed analyses, made forecasts and drawn up plans.
Yet when the context for those spreadsheets and plans is pulled right from under you by a global pandemic, those goals have to change. So how do you shift direction? What questions do you need to ask as you try to pivot your business?
Assessing the situation
First of all, it’s important to step back and take stock. Consider what the purpose of your business is in a post-lockdown world.
Many business owners have found that being forced to take a step back has given them time to reflect and go in directions they would never have thought possible before. It’s allowed them to think creatively and consider new opportunities.
The next step is to scan the business horizon:
- What does the new environment look like?
- Where are your usual customers in this new world?
- What are they looking for that’s different?
- How have their behaviours changed?
Think about how the pandemic has affected your long-term performance and strategy.
- Are your products and services still relevant for your customers?
- How could you adapt them?
- Where might new customers be found?
- What are the new risks to the business – from a health and safety point of view, of course, but also to cash flow and supply chain?
- How can you use technology to help you deliver your offering to customers?
Looking to the future
One thing is for sure – there won’t be any business as usual. But the secret about pivoting is that you stay fixed to your centre. You stay true to your core values but turn towards the new opportunities. So think about your product or service, what your clients value about it and adapt it as necessary to the new circumstances.
That may mean offering something entirely different. It may mean being more flexible in your opening times or means of delivery. It may mean increasing your online presence. Figures by Statista showed that the use of social media increased globally by 21% during lockdown so consider how you can capitalise on using these channels.
Think about those businesses that have successfully pivoted to meet demand. Pubs and restaurants quickly diversified to offer takeaways and deliveries. Brewing companies and gin distilleries started making hand sanitiser. Other companies used their machines to make visors and PPE. Gyms adapted their classes to go online. Live events companies pivoted to offer successful online experiences.
Brands that have survived during lockdown are the ones that have been innovative and quick to respond. It will be those that continue to be future-focused that will survive.
So while pivoting may involve a re-thinking of your business model, it is possible with careful analysis of the various scenarios and will hopefully be a direction your customers will embrace.