Updated: Mar 25, 2020
What is “Pivoting”?
The term pivot (as it relates to business planning), was introduced by Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Eric Ries, in 2011 as a way to describe fundamental changes businesses often need to make in order to achieve their missions and visions.
To put it simply, sometimes businesses need to undergo major strategic changes in order to survive and succeed.
Coronavirus Provided Us With the Opportunity to Pivot.
Coronavirus has impacted lives everywhere. At the onset, we all had the choice...Panic or Pivot. I’ll admit, I did my fair share of panicking...but quickly realized that worrying will not produce results, in fact, it only exacerbated the situation. It was with that realization, I made the decision to pivot, even though I didn't have a plan in place...yet! If I waited to have a plan in place, I would miss the opportunity that this unfortunate virus is presenting for me and my business.
I am a planner. No surprise there. So, making the decision to pivot without a concrete plan in place was a challenge for me, but I saw it as a necessity and an opportunity that I may not have otherwise taken. Typically, under normal circumstances, we would have a plan and strategy in place prior to pivoting. We were not granted that luxury, but that doesn't mean it is too late.
Pivoting does not always mean drastically changing the entire company, it could be as simple as shifting to a new strategy. Given the outbreak of the Coronavirus, right now, many organizations are faced with only one important problem that needs to be addressed, and only requires one aspect of the company to change.
Even though the majority of us decided to pivot without a plan, it is not too late. You can choose to act out of desperation, pivot and approach your business reactively from day to day, or you can decide to pivot, modify your existing strategy, put plans in place and make intentional decisions that will not only protect your business but also create new opportunities for growth.
Follow these 5 tips to gain clarity and plan on your new direction:
1. Don’t scrap that work you’ve already done
Pivots don’t necessarily require a massive change of course. It’s important to identify which aspects of your company can be salvaged, kept, and reused once you’ve identified your new direction. You’ve already dedicated so much blood, sweat and tears building a sustainable business, now you should be able to redirect your current resources towards your modified goal.
2. Outline your product, services, and its features.
Assess the features of your offering and determine if they are still competitive in your market and, if not, what new features you could add that will address your customer’s wants and needs. In doing so, you may realize the opportunity to turn a feature of your product into a stand-alone product itself, resulting in a more streamlined, simple offer. Additionally, you can do the opposite and integrate one product into a feature of the larger suite.
3. Re-Evaluate your Target Customers
Things are changing, and it is possible that your ideal audience is as well. Re-evaluate your target customers. Is it possible that your products and services might appeal to different groups? Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down and it is likely that your target market has expanded as a result. Consider extending your reach to a new set of customers by positioning your company into a new market or vertical.
4. Identify the benefits your product or service provides
Ask yourself whether customers still value those benefits and, if not, determine how you can revise your offering to create a revised value proposition.
5. Create A New Offering
We may be in a time of uncertainty, but it is also a time of opportunity. Consider whether your company can adapt to its changing market environment by creating an altogether new product (as long as the product fits with the capabilities of your business and your company’s brand).
Pivoting and planning provide you an opportunity to discover additional growth -- growth you might otherwise have overlooked. Use the Coronavirus as an opportunity to discover the possibilities. It may be challenging, but step outside of your comfort zone, keep an open mind and see how much stronger you and your business will be when we get to the other side of this.