As we know, in times of uncertainty it can be vitally important to shift your business model quickly. To do so, you may need to use your assets for a different purpose in order to create new value and protect your brand. The survival of your business may depend on it. Beyond the survival mode, pivoting your business could even be a significant key to your thriving in the post crisis period.
Let’s be clear about the current situation. This is a difficult time for most businesses. We live in chaotic circumstances and nobody can be sure of what lies ahead. What about you and your activities? Your business model has probably been interrupted, perhaps even put at risk. As for your cash flow, it has probably been diminishing.
Pivoting one’s business model in order to survive has been at the forefront of many a business owner’s thinking. The concept itself is not new. It is part and parcel of business innovation.
Yes, it’s true that pivoting your business can bring significant risks. However, entrepreneurs recognise that the benefits often outweigh the risks. Perhaps the biggest risk of all is that of inaction. Doing nothing leads to failure. We all know this. So, take the time to really think about this. It could well be that pivoting your business is in fact ‘essential’ for your survival.
How to do it? The best way often seems to start with asking simple but penetrating questions, to help you rethink what you have been doing and identify the need to pivot your business.
· What value have you been bringing to your clients?
· What do your clients like about you and your products or services?
· What is the reason they buy from you, rather than from your competitors?
· What shifts do you see in what clients need and want in your sector today?
· What new value can you create for your clients?
· What better and more efficient ways to deliver what you offer?
· What services can you add to your products, or vice-versa?
· What innovative products or services can you deliver with your existing assets?
· What new customer segments could benefit from your products and services?
· What opportunities for your business to enter new markets, e.g. from B2B to B2C or vice-versa?
· What new partnerships can you envisage to deliver your value?
· What are the options in all of the above that you would not normally consider?
There truly is a ton of opportunities out there. Think for example of the areas where demand has been soaring: health, fitness, food, safety, personal development, personal wellbeing and many more. Look at your sector, can you see the opportunities? How can you respond and supply the needs?
Think of recent examples:
· To support the NHS with medical equipment in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis, Dyson has created the Dyson ventilator. It is portable and doesn’t need a fixed air supply.
· In London, Experience Haus has created OpenHaus, a series of virtual workshops to keep on learning while self-isolating.
· To help hospitals fight the coronavirus outbreak in France, the luxury group LVMH produced hand sanitiser at three of its perfume and cosmetics factories.
Of course, there are many more and you probably could think of other examples close to where you are.
To pivot quickly to a new business model, consider keeping the process simple:
1. Gather sharp brains together via video conferencing. Begin by doing a SWAT analysis of your current business model to get the discussion in flow. Look at what other businesses have done to pivot and what was their creative thinking process. Then look for pivots from two points of view: your value and your customers, and analyse your options. Be creative and go clearly outside the box here. Carefully manage the activities that create ideas, as they may bring out golden opportunities for you.
2. Examine each idea carefully to see if they can turn the existing components of your business to preserve your business or perhaps help you to step into a new business which uses your existing staff and assets. Expect some ideas to be unrealistic and some clearly too far-fetched. Identify the criteria that will help you identify the ideas with the best potential. Make sure you keep asking smart questions and help everyone challenge long-standing assumptions and conventional thinking intrinsic to your business model.
3. Test the best ideas, using inexpensive prototypes, and improve each time you try the pivot. Avoid being stagnant by making it a dynamic process, involving everyone on your team. You are looking for pivots which will make a big difference.
Once this process is over, be bold and act swiftly, putting everyone around you where they need to be to put their shoulders to the wheel as you roll out the new business model, adjusting operations accordingly.
Pivoting your business may be just what is needed now to help you survive and thrive. Why not get in touch? I would be delighted to have a “virtual coffee meeting” with you to explore ways to pivot your business.