Over virtual coffee the other day, chatting with an old friend, we were talking about all the chaos transmitting from the state of the world as it is right now. We chatted about business, and how some of our near and dear friends were going to need to pivot, and quickly, to survive these momentous days.
As I sat there, I realized, I’ve been preparing for this my entire darn life. While most people have found an industry, a sector and a process that was true for them. I’ve spent my years in entrepreneurship pivoting. Owning, operating, starting, selling, partnering, and yes…failing, in over 8 different industries and companies, has given me insight into how important it is to remain agile in your entrepreneurial step.
I’ve had a lot of successes over these years, I’ve also experienced what it looks like to lose it all. And for those of you wanting to scroll all the way to the end to see what it felt like, let me spare you the time. I’m still here! Stronger and smarter than I was before. For some of you, this crisis could be the end of your business, but newsflash, its not the end of you. Dollars can be both lost and earned. Will it be hard? Will you crash loudly and struggle to stand on weak knees? Yes. It won’t be easy. Some of you will not go back into business after losing ‘it all’. But others, the ones that get it’s just a BUMP in the road, you will find a new industry, a new sector, a better process, a way to leverage your skills and other people’s money, and you my friends will rise again.
So, how does one pivot during these times? That’s a great question, and I am so happy you asked!
What is Pivoting?
In the fresh face of the start-up world, pivoting can mean changing strategy, as they are forever iterating what works for their intended market. It typically requires extensive research, considerable effort by way of the team, and doesn’t normally happen over night.
The way I am intending to use the word pivot, is for everyone else. You, me and that guy over there that owns the fitness studio. The one’s that have been dramatically affected by the world’s market, and now need to be agile on our toes to do something different.
Pivoting is doing something ‘differently’ that offers your customers the ability to still work with you in a way that potentially was not available before.
Now is the time to be strong, authentic and resilient. It’s time for us as entrepreneurs to adapt, be flexible, agile on our feet, and find new opportunities to grow and be of service to our customers.
So many companies have used a pivoting strategy to stay afloat, and the rewards are proof in both the happy customers base they are serving and the revenue stability they are receiving. These companies are not only finding ways to put cash back in their pockets, but they are finding creative ways to serve their community in a way they never have before.
Take, On the Vine for example. A fresh food market, located on the East Side of Saint John, New Brunswick, that typically you needed to show up to shop. This company had not one, but TWO dramatic pivots in the last 30 days. When all of this first happened, they offered special hours for seniors and those with immune system issues the ability to shop before everyone else. They quickly put in an online order form and phone ordering processes, delivering groceries to our local residents, and allowing trunk pick up during specific times.
Other company’s such as Cochran’s Country Market in Rothesay, Kredl’s Corner Market in Hampton, Simply for Life in Saint John and Rothesay, and others have also implemented similar processes, offering delivery, order to trunk, and so much more. These are local, small business that have quickly pivoted to stay competitive in the current market conditions AND offer their community a much needed service.
And then you have, Lauren Gaiten & Associates. A Mental Health & Counselling Service operation that is only about 2 years old right here in Saint John, NB. A very much needed service with so many of our population in isolation, under stress and potentially not coping well with all of the changes in their lives. Not only was she already offering FREE counselling drop-in services on Fridays, Laura’s team quickly assembled to offer these services virtually. Offering single coping strategy sessions, free services on Friday’s for those who cannot afford, and virtual sessions for those who want or need longer term support.
Again, a simple tweak to the way in which business was being done, has enabled Laura to stay relevant AND she’s offering a service that so many need right now!
Information. The Brio Integrative Health Clinic, based in Richmond, BC, was quickly closed mid-March when it was deemed at that time a non-essential service. A company that offers Naturopathic services to a large community, quickly needed to pivot to stay top of mind to it’s customers AND to offer that same level of support. Dr. Neetu and Dr. Jeff realized that they had a lot to share, and both took on the daunting and scary task of trying out Facebook Lives for the first time, with their team at the clinic quickly following suit.Their videos shared health tips, cooking classes, ways to keep your mind and body healthy, and have been such a service to their clients. They too moved most of their services to online virtual appointments.
And then you have fitness studios, such as Hiit30 KV, or Lifestyle’s Fitness in Hampton, or Amana Yoga Institute in both Saint John and Quispamsis. All of these companies have quickly moved to online classes, giving a much needed service to their members AND gaining new members. Lifestyle’s even went above and beyond and lent out their equipment to stay at home customers.
Amazing restaurant owners and Chef’s are also stepping up. Offering cooking classes and recipes to stay top of mind, amazing entertainment and fun for the family from home. Michelle Hooton, owner of Italian by Night in Saint John has been making my mouth drool all week with her fabulous cooking skills.
The reality that I am trying to showcase here is that making a pivot needs to be quick, calculated and you need the ability to iterate fast. You need as Taki Moore said in a video the other day to offer the ‘Life Raft’ not the whole damn Yacht to your customers. You need to offer something that is relevant and needed RIGHT NOW to them.
I’ve been working these past two weeks tirelessly, consulting with mostly brick and mortar businesses who’ve been forced closed due to the quarantine. We sit down (virtually) to strategize ways they can pivot fast. We look at their cash runway (how long they can keep things going with the cash in bank), we decide which expenses to cut quick, what funding or subsidy opportunities are available to them, whether or not staff needs to be laid off, and then we talk pivots. Pivots in terms of online service offerings. I help them decide what is the best offering for them and their customer base and then I bring in a team to make it happen.
What is something YOU have that the rest of the world would thank you for, if we could get it out in a timely fashion?
For some that’s an:
- online course
- writing an e-book
- group coaching
- 1:1 coaching
- online store
- done for you services virtually (consulting/marketing)
Now is the time to become creative. YOU, have so much more to offer. Sometimes, it just requires a little bit of poking and prodding to grab it out of you. Fear is a sneaky thing, it’ll halt you from being creative, which ultimately can and will lead to your demise. Remember, pivots can be done effectively and efficiently. There is always a way to pivot. And yes, at times that means pivoting like I have a few times, and moving into new industries. Fear not my entrepreneurial friends, this could be the best darn thing that has ever happened to you and your business.
If you are interested in a FREE quick strategy call to see how possibly I can help you and your business let me know. You can BOOK me HERE.