The world around us has changed drastically over the last year, and businesses have changed with it. Many companies have quickly realized that the old way of doing things is no longer viable in a new type of world. Companies have had to change their focus by pivoting into new ways of doing things or even entirely different business models. However, just deciding to shift isn’t enough to guarantee success.
Implementing a successful company pivot requires a certain amount of foresight and the ability to deal with problems as they arise. Business leaders that are agile and can predict what issues their business is likely to run into during the change are better prepared to deal with challenges. Below, 13 members of Forbes Business Council delve into the critical elements necessary to achieve a seamless company pivot.
1. Reconnect With Your “Why”
In times of uncertainty, we tend to make short-term decisions out of survival. When you take this challenging time to revisit and possibly tweak your five- to 10-year vision, you reconnect with why you are in business. This vision session will inspire you and your employees to look at the business from another angle and it is a great opportunity to immerse your culture in a powerful pool of long-term creation. – Joel Brown, Addicted2Success
2. Question Every Aspect
One of the critical elements of planning a company pivot is to question every aspect that made a business model sustainable. Because the pandemic has drastically changed how business is done, even what may have been true for decades is suddenly true no more. When working on your pivot, invite an outsider whose role is to constantly ask “why?” This person will help you think out of the box. – Sylvain Kalache, Holberton School
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3. Focus On Your Core Competencies
Go back to basics and focus on the key core competencies of your business. It’s better to focus on one area of expertise and offer that service extremely well than to diversify your offering at a level that’s just on par with your competitors. In a difficult economic period, keep doing what you are great at and delight your customers and you will get more jobs as a result. – Linda Fisk, LeadHERship Global
4. Understand What You Should Keep
Understand what you should keep from your existing business model. Determine what will no longer serve you well in your current business model and stop focusing on that. Then define how your business model needs to evolve and place your energy and resources to bring this about. – Vince Molinaro, Leadership Contract Inc.
5. Don’t Overcomplicate Your Message
As head of a marketing and advertising company, I see a lot of pivoting as times change. I tell clients to remember one thing: Amazon.com started out selling only books. Now look at them! You hook an audience with a clear, simple concept. Whether pivoting or starting afresh, don’t overcomplicate your message. Remember, you can always add more products and services later, but early on, less is more. – S.W. Miliano, Terrazel, Inc./The Stone Register
6. Identify A Market Gap You Can Fill
I start by looking at the market gap and what demand is on. I ask myself this question: What value can I offer or what gap can I fill that others can’t or aren’t good in? From there, look at the customer journey and start building in other areas. – Zeenath Kuraisha, Asia Pacific Sales & Marketing Academy
7. Communicate Changes To The Team
One key element would be communication. Pivoting could mean a potential change in culture, responsibilities and new barriers. Company leaders need to communicate this to their staff and make them part of the process so that they feel a sense of control in all of the new changes. – Wes Baiz, Social Scale Media
8. Balance Needs With Competitiveness
The current global pandemic has forced organizations to rethink their business strategies. Entrepreneurs should focus on building strategies that balance the needs of their customers and employees with long-term competitiveness. Organizations that leverage an intelligent operating model that combines the new way of working with technology would be in a better position to cope with the crisis. – Ashish Sukhadeve, Analytics Insight
9. Consider Value-Based Pricing
If you’re in the services business, think about value-based pricing. Cut down on the number of projects and focus on maximizing value per project. This will help grow your profit margins fairly quickly. – Gary Riger, BKLYN Software Inc.
10. Follow The Path To Profitability
Business model innovation is a significant undertaking at any time. Making a pivot in the current landscape should be grounded in a path to profitability. It requires thinking about three key elements: how the new model aligns to the strategy, whether it can be a long-term model (versus a reaction to the pandemic) and how the firm’s current or adjacent capabilities can support the new model. – Sindhu Kutty, Kuroshio Consulting
11. Be Ready For Staffing Cuts
In times of uncertainty or lack of business, one of the hardest pivots is in staffing. The emotions on both sides of the table are almost insurmountable, but the mature thing to do is make the necessary cuts to save the company. A middle-of-the-road solution would be to move staff to 1099 employees and bill hours as needed. – Michael Mayes, Quantum 9 Inc.
12. Have Robust Logistics And CRM
Having robust logistics and customer relationship management (CRM) systems in place is a key first step. Businesses looking to sell online more need a CRM that can allow them to measure and track stock levels and sales into new marketplaces. Failing to establish this early will be a big barrier to scaling online at a later date. – Robert Prime, Prime And Jest Marketing Ltd
13. Invest In Your Company’s Digitalization
Digitalization is definitely the pivoting point for many companies. They should invest in infrastructure to be able to still carry out business operations online. Also, outsource as many low-income producing activities as possible. That way, the additional time can be used to spend time thinking of how to get ahead of the competition instead of doing things that don’t matter. – Wilbert Wynnberg, Think Act Prosper