As recent months have shown, adaptability is a quality that every business needs to survive in a fast-changing economy with evolving market demands. Sometimes, in order to keep a business afloat, leaders must pivot to broaden their horizons and widen their customer base.
At the height of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to pivot in the face of upended market conditions; not all of them managed it successfully. Even in “urgent” conditions, it’s important to develop a carefully planned strategy for a pivot if your business is to emerge stronger on the other side. Below, six members of Business Journals Leadership Trust discuss a few of the most important elements to consider when you’ve determined it’s time for a business pivot.
1. Keep an eye on evolution so you can adapt quickly.
Adapting quickly to market evolution is the key element of a successful pivot. As the saying goes, it is not the big fish that eats the small fish; it’s the fast fish that eats the slow fish. This means being nimble and agile and embracing new ideas, tools and business strategies. – Nagarajan Muthusamy, Reliable Parts
2. Establish proof that the pivot will result in growth.
Make sure you have proof that there is a reason for the pivot and that this change will result in an uptick in business. I have seen many businesses pivot blindly, which can result in big failures — or worse, having to go back to the original way of doing business in order to undo the challenges brought on by the change. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency
3. Ensure your team understands the situation.
A key to successful business change is bringing the team along with you. People are naturally change-resistant, so there are a few things to keep in mind. Share how the change will impact them, and give them time to process it. Explain why it’s a necessary and even a good idea. Ask the team to poke holes in your plan to discover why it might fail. This way, you’ll have the whole team behind you. – Mikaela Kiner, Reverb
4. Look at the question from your client’s perspective.
Does the solution you are offering your clients best meet their needs? If that is not the case, a pivot is necessary. Challenging markets create new and unique challenges for clients and companies; staying nimble and being able to adjust to market needs will ensure success. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
5. Consider trying a hybrid approach to your current offerings.
One of the most common business pivots is shifting how, and when, you meet your consumer’s needs. Whether it’s offering a virtual option, delivery instead of your typical in-store services or a subscription platform, a hybrid approach to your product or services is generally helpful. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
6. Don’t hesitate to do what’s necessary to keep your business going.
Once you have been in the game long enough, you realize that you sink or swim when you are faced with challenges. The biggest element of a successful business pivot is choosing to pivot. Your business will either pivot or it won’t, and at the end of the day, the businesses that do pivot will be left standing. – Mackenzie Toland, A New Leaf Therapeutic Services PLLC