Pivot. It’s a word that’s been used – if not overused – in the past few weeks, as entrepreneurs and business swerve this way and that to keep their businesses on track during the Covid19 Lockdown.
Whilst some have responded like a deer in the headlights, others – both online and offline – have moved quickly to shift their business models.
Why the difference in response? I was curious to understand what’s driving those who are pivoting. Was it a practical response to the restrictions placed on all of us as a result of Covid 19… or did it run deeper?
I spoke to four entrepreneurs for their take on how they and their businesses are realigning and refocusing for the future…
Not pivoting, but expanding and accelerating
Like so many things, for those in the right place at the right time the current lockdown has provided a growth opportunity, even for those operating offline. Although online businesses, may have been in a better position to weather the storm than most, business owners have still had to act with speed and boldness to capture any opportunities that the current situation affords.
For Melanie Falvey, a video strategist and the founder of Expert Channel TV, Covid 19 has provided growth opportunities without the need to pivot.
“To be honest, my businesses are running as usual when it comes to 1:1 clients or the group programmes/courses as we always operated online” she says
“What we have done, though, is either postponed or transitioned online some of the live events we were planning.”
This scenario hasn’t been accidental, though.
Falvey continues: “We were fast to act and we are in fact working more than before Coronavirus, but that is because of the nature of both business models, they can function 100% online and we teach others how to do it, so demand for our services has grown.”
‘Luck’, it would seem, isn’t just about being in the right place at the right time. It’s about being fully prepared, and ready to take action.
Moving forward, and leaving the past
For others, the lockdown – or ‘The Big Pause’- is providing additional space and time to plan for a pivot that was already well underway.
For those who were in transition anyway, the current situation is a catalyst, not a driver, for change.
Clair Kim is a successful business consultant to online business owners, helping them to find and plug revenue leaks that save their businesses tens of thousands of dollars. She’s been shifting her focus towards serving large companies, enabling them to attract and retain millennial talent, and to bridge the Gen X / millennial gap – a specialist area where there is already high demand from the corporate sector .
For her, this is an opportunity to refine her new offering and be absolutely prepared for the new ‘normal’ that awaits us all on the other side of the Coronavirus.
About the virus lockdown itself, she makes an important point about her own mindset:
“I got to a point several months ago where I just knew it was time for change” She says “the current situation doesn’t alter that. I’m continuing to move forward, and encouraging clients to do the same.”
For her, it’s a matter of “Just do it”.
“If you pivot then crash and burn, there’s more support now than you’d normally have. If you pivot and succeed, it means that you can ride through all the waves”.
For Brooke Kalan, Success Coach to high performing leaders, the Big Pause has led to deep personal reflection, refining her own offering and taking the time to consider, as she puts it, ‘is there a better way’.
Like many, she observes that the choices that we’re being presented with now are the choices we were being presented with anyway – the light is shining on them now, though, in a way in which it wasn’t before.
“We always had choices” she reasons, “but perhaps we didn’t see them as clearly as we do now. We should be asking ourselves ‘do I like what I have? Or was something off anyway, and now is the time to fix it? ‘”
‘It’s time to Marie Kondo your business” she advises. “Audit everything. Get rid of what you don’t need.”
Stevie Marie, founder of The Redesigned Empire and CEO of Empire Media places her current ‘Covid pivot’ in a long line of ‘mini-pivots’ as her business has grown and developed over the years.
“Pivoting is part of business growth” she points out. “You either grow or you plateau”
She’s utilising The Big Pause to revisit her core values and committing to being more visible and impactful online, believing that “great things will grow from this”.
For those who are floundering in the current climate of uncertainty, she has this to say: “re-evaluate and give yourself a self assessment. Which parts of the ‘old way’ were working for you and which weren’t?”
So what ARE the key themes here, as entrepreneurs and businesses pivot, change direction and shift emphasis?
Whilst it might seem at a first glance that current circumstances are forcing them to re-evaluate their work and make courageous decisions, many of them were doing this anyway.
The ubiquitous business pivot, it appears, is prompted by deeper factors: by internal impetus, personal drive, values and direction rather than entirely by external events.
Stevie Marie sums it up. Now – as always “if you’re going to pivot your business, you have to pivot yourself first.”