Back in January, many CEOs thought 2020 would be a year of business as usual. Instead, we got the year of COVID changes. During these strange times, change has become a necessity for a business in every industry. Businesses are grappling with changes in regulations, consumer behavior, and even where they can conduct business.
The result? If 2020 had a business slogan, it would be adapt and pivot to survive and grow.
So, where does that leave your organization? How will you know when it’s time to engage in an organizational pivot? And what do you need to do to manage that pivot successfully?
At inThink, we’ve recently undergone an organizational pivot of our own. We’ve evolved from a digital creative shop to a full marketing and business consultancy and have undergone a full rebrand. Since we have some fresh insight on the topic, we want to share it with you so you can successfully navigate your change management.
Organizational Pivot Examples
An organizational change can help your business become leaner, more productive, and profitable. You can obtain these benefits for your brand through both small and large-scale pivots.
- Marketing to a new set of customers in a different vertical
- Taking a popular product feature and turning it into its own product
- Implementing new apps or software
- Changing to a different revenue model
- Using different manufacturing processes to reduce costs or build a better product
Pivoting can change many different processes, both internal and external. No matter what, the goal is to make your company more competitive. Let’s look at a few clues that it’s time for a pivot.
Is it time to pivot? A few hints.
Pivoting can be stressful for staff. But it’s something successful businesses do when it’s needed. Below are a few signs that pivoting is necessary for your business health and something you’ll want to invest in.
Your brand is behind the curve.
If you feel like your company is playing catchup a lot, you might be due for a pivot. Slow or non-existent progress can happen despite how much effort you put into the campaign. It usually means looking into your product, market, revenue model, or similar for change.
The company has plateaued.
Slow or no progress despite your best efforts indicates you’ve hit a plateau. The team might be bored. Or your brand strategy is insufficient. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invest in a complete rebrand. But you’ll want to look closely at your business operations for something that could use touching up.
Only one thing gets traction.
Remember the 80/20 rule? You might want to focus your efforts on what’s working and ditch the rest. You’ll experience a boost in revenue and productivity.
The market response is tepid.
There’s only so much you can do via marketing and PR to convince people of your product or service’s value. If your offerings’ market response has been lukewarm and limited, a pivot should be on the table.
Your goals, values, and vision have changed.
You may be thinking that your current course of action isn’t the one that’s going to be most enjoyable or lucrative. Believing in your business helps clear the road to success. If your values have changed, it’s time to look into pivoting.
When to pivot and how
Every business will experience ups and downs. During times of uncertainty, traversing those plateaus and valleys can seem even more daunting. But obstacles aren’t impossibilities. Ask yourself these questions if your business has hit a wall:
Is the problem a simple fix with more research and funds?
If not, then it’s time for a pivot. Here are the steps to take.
Do it ASAP
If you think an organizational pivot is in order, you’ll want to do it quickly. Hesitating can waste time, money, and staff effort. The sooner you identify an opportunity for change and act, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits.
Identify new goals aligned with your values and vision.
Running a company is a years-long endeavor. If you’re not passionate about your company and don’t have goals aligned with your values, you’ll hurt your chances of success. So, make sure the new goals for the organizational pivot align with your values.
Keep the good stuff.
Most organizational pivots won’t require a complete overhaul of business operations. You may be changing a specific revenue model or implementing a new tool to streamline internal communications. But so far, you’ve invested in a lot of sustainable practices. When planning a pivot, identify the parts of the business that can be kept and reused.
Look into customer feedback.
Hit a plateau? Feel like your brand is always behind? If so, but you aren’t sure where exactly the bottleneck is, your customers will tell you where the business could use a pivot.
Every company will experience the occasional negative comment. But it’s patterns you should be concerned about. If you keep getting the same type of negative feedback from customers, like:
Your purchase process is confusing
Product ABC doesn’t have enough features
The service is too expensive
I can’t figure out how to reach customer service
Then these are areas that should be the focus of your pivot.
Use the pivot as a growth opportunity.
If you’ve encountered a roadblock and can’t find your way around it, pivoting is the most likely answer. But identifying where to pivot is one thing. What happens after the pivot? You need a plan for going in, but also for going out. Account for growth opportunities and ways to expand once you’re on the new path.
For example, if your pivot will focus on a new market, consider if the customer base is big enough for future growth opportunities. If not, then it may not be worth the effort. You might end up hitting a roadblock after the pivot but under different circumstances.
Keep staff informed.
Your team will need to work closely together to pull off a successful pivot. Streamlined and fast communication, clear objectives, and instruction are critical. Use all the tools at your disposal to make the transition less stressful on staff and empower them to be successful.
Sharing the News: One Aspect of a Successful Pivot
Once your company undergoes a successful pivot, you’ll want to share the news. We’ve shared ours across many different channels, like social media, email announcements, and press releases. Here are some ideas to get you started.
For most of the US, in-person networking is so 2019. We’re not sure yet when it will be safe to conduct in-person networking events. But virtual networking can help you market your business pivot. One-on-one Zoom coffee meetings are another way to network and share the news about your business.
Use a LinkedIn Showcase Page for the announcement.
On your LinkedIn business profile, you can publish a sub-page called a Showcase Page. You can use the Showcase Page to tell your audience about a new product or service you’re offering. LinkedIn marketing is an excellent way to reach a B2B audience.
Share the news across multiple platforms.
Chances are, you’ve got customers across a range of communication channels. A pivot gives you plenty of material to use for marketing that can be shared via social media, email newsletters, blogs, podcasts, etc. Let your audience know about the exciting new change your company’s experienced and how it can help them.
Organizational Pivots: Final Thoughts
Covid-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s daily lives. For businesses, these changes have had substantial impacts on their day-to-day operations and their ability to reach customers. A pivot can give your company the shot in the arm it needs to stay productive and profitable.
The more you prepare, the more successful you’ll be. Pivots, no matter how small, can induce big changes in your company. Keep these preparation strategies in mind when planning your company pivot.