The word pivot became the word of my social media feeds in the first 4 weeks of lockdown. It’s a word I have seen many business owners use to describe their need to change the direction of the business or alter the course they were going on.
There was huge pressure to do this quickly and effectively to stay in business but, it’s not always that easy and when it’s your business it’s a hard thing to get perspective on.
Here are some of the tips from conversations I have been having about pivoting a business to drive growth:
- Get underneath the business quickly. If you’re not already familiar with the processes and aspects of the business due to layers in the organisation or the time you have been there, get familiar now. Even if you don’t address every aspect in the first few months, you will need to explore these as you work through the changes so having a deeper knowledge than you had before will be needed
- Acknowledge the fear, and do it. Depending on how long you have been in business will determine where you are in terms of customer relationships. Identifying the changes you need to make to prices and to your customer base is hard. You might not be used to saying no and you might adapt your offer to suit the needs of every client or customer. It’s time to slim that down and do what’s realistic while adding real value
- Purpose over profit. For some this feels counter-intuitive but if you have a clear purpose and goal, then you must focus on that. If you don’t, doing the first tip on this list will get you here. For some this means giving away free advice to a niche market that need help but are struggling with every aspect of business. If your purpose is to make the world of work a better place, now is the time to show the value you can add
- What worked before won’t work now. We are still in the neutral zone of change, not recovery (as someone wisely said to me last week). It’s easy to think this is the step forward but the limbo we are still in means this is tricky. There won’t be a clear switch which means we won’t be able to say goodbye to something and therefore we cannot say hello to the new. But we do know that the world isn’t the same today as it was in January 2020 so it’s time to look at everything you do with fresh eyes
- Work at pace. Remember you are the expert. This might feel daunting so ask for help if you need it but it’s time to work quickly to be in a position to move forwards. This isn’t about having a new product or service ready to launch in weeks. It’s about looking at the business, being agile to pivot from one thing to the next and making quick decisions. Clarity on who can make decisions and who you need in the conversation is critical.
So many of the conversations are opening up ideas and discussions to address things that have been issues or challenges for a long time. Things that have fallen to the bottom of the list due to time or simply being too hard to address. There is nothing too hard to address now and if you don’t take this chance to pivot, it will be lost.