Pivot. Pivoting. I don’t know about you, but I am bone tired of hearing and reading these two words. Everyone says they are doing it. But what the hell does it mean?
Professor Google’s explanation of pivoting is “to turn or rotate, like a hinge.” No human being I know (except maybe a basketball player) can turn like a hinge!
In my world, PIVOT simply means “do business differently.” And since you have been impacted by the turmoil of today, I know you are thinking about HOW you can do exactly that. Let’s be honest. Jumping on or investing in Zoom is not the right answer.
Here are three ideas to ponder upon
• Instead of thinking about the products or services you sell, think about the skillset you have that is pretty darn good. If you are in the position of not being relevant or essential right now, your company or your people have key skills that can be redeployed for essential services or high demand areas. For example, IT companies that maintain infrastructure are jumping in and helping hospitals repair and maintain the ventilators. For example, hotels are using their excess room capacity for health workers, for extra shelter areas and other good works in the community. (Not only is this a fantastic PR opportunity, but it is also a way to remain valuable and viable.) Even businesses with delivery as part of their service — are delivering additional products for other suppliers /vendors to the deemed essential areas.
• Can you put any portion of your business on a cash upfront basis? For example, ask your customers to pay now in exchange for a 25% discount and a promise to deliver as soon as the physical distancing limits are removed. Is there anything about your business for which you could craft a brilliant customer membership/gold card program? As in pay $X now and then draw down that amount over the next year with these services. (Starbucks was one of the first inventors of this kind of cash upfront arrangement)
• Can you develop different offerings for your current customer base? Look, we both know that finding new customers takes a ton of work and money. But selling to our existing customers a different, a smaller or even an upgrade offer takes way less effort and resources. Can you craft an offering that rewards your existing customer base today?
The old ways of doing business are gone
I believe they will NOT return any time soon. If ever. For you to survive in both the short term and the longer term, now is the time to pivot and make new rules. Those who do will remain strong. Those who don’t will perish.
If you are struggling with how to do business differently, (aka how to pivot) my best advice is:
Do NOT look back. Act smart and fast. Be part of the solution.