Mastering “the Pivot”

Posted on: April 13th, 2020

Time to Pivot

Finding New Ways to Grow Might Be the Key to Resilience.

In the COVID-19 era of business, we’ve seen some tremendous innovation. Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere (RAKE) founder Ricky Smith found out that the material used in the backpacks his foundation uses to provide toiletries to the homeless is the same material used to make masks, so his team began sewing masks and providing them to those on the non-medical frontlines. Cleveland Whiskey saw a need for hand sanitizer and converted their tanks to help meet that need and fight against the virus.

When a new solution doesn’t immediately jump out and say “here I am,” it can be frustrating. The key is to understand that a pivot doesn’t have to be a 360-degree turn, but it can be a shift towards a new direction. It also doesn’t have to be permanent, but what many companies find out is that a pivot that is intended to be a short-term solution can often end up being a part of something bigger for the future. So, here are some tips to help you get prepared for your pivot:


Tip #1: Think about how your clients’ and customers’ needs have changed.

In extreme cases like we made reference to above, some companies and organizations have changed the very essence of what they provide. In the case of your company, it might not need to be so extreme. What do your customers need today that they didn’t need a month ago? You don’t necessarily have to get into new markets or find new customer bases – start with the people you serve. In the case of many businesses, pivoting was as simple as looking for a new way to deliver their product to the consumer. It’s about finding solutions for problems that your customers are telling you they have, so it begins with listening.


Tip #2: Rely on your team.

No one understands your business better than the people who work for your organization every day. Ask them for ideas. Company 119 has begun spending a part of every morning working on ideas to expand business with current customers by providing solutions to problems our customer base is presenting to us. During this time, you need to move fast, and that means it can’t be up to one person to come up with all of the ideas. The team needs to work together to find creative ways to look at your business from a different angle.


Tip #3: Be patient and test.

This is an “act now” situation, but if you’ve given careful consideration to the changes you are making, then trust them to work. Don’t abandon them too early or you might be missing out on long-term success. Pay attention to analytics and results. Look at conversion metrics and see if the pivot you’ve implemented is impacting success. Adjust your pivot before deciding that it’s not going to work. Changing your business can be scary, especially in times like this, but if you are going to be resilient, you can’t sit still. Make your changes and then believe in them!


Tip #4: Market your changes.

If you are making a change that you believe in, then it’s important that your customers know what is coming. As crazy as it sounds, now is the time to buy digital advertising. Prices have dropped, but conversions are just as high as they were before. You can get a huge chunk of the market share by investing in some digital ads right now. Everyone is home on their devices, and your customers are interested in anything that can help them deal with what’s happening. If the solution you are offering is outside the norm for your business model, you have to go that much harder into marketing to let everyone know what you are making available. The digital market is set up to make that easier than ever for you.


Tip #5: Keep an eye on your competitors.

They might have a great idea that could make you money too but be careful. They might have a great idea that brings them business for a week and fails the next. You don’t know if they are paying attention to the analytics as they should, and you have to be cautious when following in the path of another. Be smart and do your homework before making a pivot based on your competition.

These are uncertain times, but you can still thrive if you don’t just wait for it to pass. Be a leader. Be resilient.