Approaching The Pivot

The Pivot is having a renaissance right now. It is an action that is, for many business owners and entrepreneurs, defining this moment in time as surmountable or not. Articles and videos are pushed out providing inspiration and examples from the past and present, illustrating that this moment for business is not unique, which I think is meant to provide comfort? And although I agree that disruption is not new, as innovation has been making businesses obsolete for generations, two important elements make this moment one of a kind that we shouldn’t gloss over in an effort to rebound:

  1. This economic shutdown has been rapid and comprehensive in a way we haven’t seen previously.

  2. This is personal, it’s happening to you.

We can hustle and drive and adapt our way into surviving this moment. And we must. But I also want to acknowledge that there is a personal and emotional toll to that process that shouldn’t be ignored. We may increase our revenue, adapt to online, all while we watch our neighbor close up shop. That is damn hard. Our need to move forward and achieve, is essential, and there is nothing wrong with being inspired to do so. But I also suggest we make time to notice the cost next door.

You may have already found a pivot, adapted and are slogging through, or you may still be trying to figure it out. Here are a couple approaches businesses have been taking with success:


  • Making the model fit the moment. Brick and mortar sellers are shifting to delivery and curbside pick up. In person services are adapting to online. Restaurants are disrupting the supply chain to become grocery sellers. Wholesalers are selling direct to consumer. These businesses are shifting their target markets, developing alternative sales strategies, and are meeting the moment with an agile business model.

  • Developing products for the acute need. Other businesses are making masks, distilling hand sanitizer instead of vodka, and manufacturing PPE instead of post it’s. These supply needs may diminish as demand levels-off, and businesses may return to their previous products, or may find new customers and product lines they decide to maintain. Time will tell.

  • Embracing Technology. Businesses are leaping into the deep end with technology where they may have only dipped their toes in previously. Telehealth is not new, but the current need has made it essential for reaching those in need. Virtual events are not innovative, but they were often seen as a lesser option to the live experience. Nothing can or will replace the live experience, seriously! But the increased, global access to ideas, opportunities, and individuals provided by the explosion of virtual events is inspiring. Universities have been offering continuing education online for years, as have for-profit online education and skill share platforms, but the forced isolation has exposed those reluctant to distance learning to the positive impact learning options can have on students of all ages.

Businesses may maintain these pivots, pivot back at some point, or settle into an agile model that can be resilient and adaptive to change. As you are working on your own pivot and managing the need of your business, don’t forget to take a minute to check on your neighbor. You can:


  • Ask if they need help. It is so hard to ask for help, but if there is anytime to do it, now is that time. Reach out to your peers, ask them if they need help. Just connect with them, acknowledge how stressful this time is, sit down for a virtual coffee. It’s simple, but so impactful!.

  • Share your insight and strategies. Are there things that you have learned while going thorough this process that you can share, books you are reading, a business coach that helped you that might be able to provide some support. Have they applied for any government assistance, or talked with their bank or creditors. You don’t have to do those things for them, but see if they have any questions or hesitations about it. Maybe they are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do or where to start. Just knowing you are there, checking in on them can make a world of difference, and make something monumental seem more manageable.

  • Collaborate and partner. How can you work together? Are there opportunities to collaborate? Brainstorm it out. Who else could you bring into the conversation? Working together could be just thing you both need.

All in all we are all doing what we can to survive this new business environment. We don’t really know what will happen as the economy opens up again, and what the longer economic impacts of this pandemic might be. But doing our best to be adaptable in our businesses, and also making sure we are good neighbors to our fellow businesses is a good place to be.

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