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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Goldfarb

How to pivot your business to success in 2021

“Change is not a four-letter word… but often your reaction to it is!”

Last Saturday night — I was surfing the channels looking for late night flicks when I came across an old rerun of The Rocky Horror Picture show. By sheer luck I tuned in at the perfect time to watch the cast singing The Time Warp song. Almost immediately my marketing addled brain transposed the original Let’s Do the Time Warp refrain to Let’s Do the Pivot Today.

Crazy, no? After whistling the refrain for a couple of days — I decided to dedicate an entire blog to the importance of a pivot in business.

Pivotv. (synonyms) rotate, turn, revolve, spin, swivel, twirl, whirl.

As we know COVID-19 has:

  • created unprecedented challenges

  • transformed consumer habits

  • disrupted business models and supply changes

  • increased demand for essential products/services, and

  • Rendered many non-essential businesses, products, and services insignificant or even obsolete.

Due to all these factors and more, the word “pivot”, along with “new normal”, has quickly became two of the most overused concepts for business.

So, what exactly does this mean?

Last year the global GDP (key measure of economic performance) dropped by 4.9%. Unfortunately, driven by a 9-year low in consumer confidence and consumer spending down by half a trillion. The US GDP experienced an even steeper decline of 5.8%. This drop is very significant because the US (unlike other countries worldwide) is an economy fueled by consumer spending.

But not all is doom and gloom.

With the changing of the political guard, COVID vaccines, and new federal relief on the horizon — we are beginning to see “earmarks” of economic recovery and improvement in many areas of consumer spending.

Of course, that may not be the case for every consumer vertical like hospitality and indoor recreation, who are not expected to recover before 2023, but is certainly for others like telehealth, home improvement & smart home technology. Also, surprisingly, certain consumer verticals such as digital streaming, online ordering, and remote delivery saw unprecedented accelerated levels of growth.

So, now what?

Despite these economic challenges, many small businesses have successfully pivoted to address the new consumer needs. Prior to COVID , pivoting was considered a last resort. Now, with the way we work, communicate, buy, receive, and deliver goods — pivoting your business is seen as one of the best alternatives to survive and thrive. In a business context, pivoting means fundamentally changing the way you do business to meet the needs of the market.

Pivoting a business can breathe new life into an otherwise failing business ranging from a market repositioning up to and including a total “makeover”. No matter what is needed to do a pivot business owners need to be flexible, open-minded, and willing to step outside their comfort zone.

How Do You Know it’s Time for a Change?

Study and understand the market, competition, and your overall industry — what does it mean for your business survival now and in the future. Take an honest look at your business model, strategy, product/service array and market approach to determine if things need to change. If things need to change, ask yourself the following:

  1. Are you one of the lucky few businesses in a growing industry because of COVID? If so, have you capitalized on the opportunity, monitored market changes? Or, are you resting on your laurels?

  2. Are you experiencing a decrease sales and customer attrition?

  3. Is there still a need and/or demand for your product and/or services?

  4. Have your consumers changed? If so, how have they changed? And will the current approach still work?

  5. If you were starting a company today, is this the direction you would take? Would it bring unique value to the marketplace?

  6. If change is needed, what changes (if any) will be needed for the current infrastructure, manufacture, and distribution.

  7. How much will it cost and how long will the change take?

Keep in mind this is only a partial list of questions to answer, but it’s enough to get you started. No matter how large or small, pivoting takes time, money, and a strategic plan.

If in doubt about pivoting your business, you may find it reassuring to know how a few iconic companies have done it and achieved tremendous success and growth out of it:

  • Amazon: The online retail site opened for business in 1995 primarily as a book seller…today, its anything but… as the #1 Retailer in the World with over $386B in revenue.

  • Airbnb: Air Bed and Breakfast started in 2007 with a couple of friends renting air mattresses from their San Francisco apartment to conference attendees. From here the business has grown into Airbnb with over 660,000listings in the US alone.

  • Starbucks: In 1971, Starbucks was launched to sell espresso makers and coffee beans. With a major pivot in 1983 to standalone coffee shops, Starbucks transitioned into the international juggernaut we know today with over 31,256 worldwide locations.

Don’t be a Pividiot! Always reach out to the specialists for assistance and guidance.

At Biz Made EZ, we help develop the best-suited and detailed plan to help pivot your business to success. Call us at (310) 621–8784, visit our website, or send us an email.

“Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out.” — John Wooden.

For more marketing tips, check out my other blogs on Medium.

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