Top Tips to Adapting and Pivoting

Every business needs to constantly assess what it sells, to whom, and how it sells it. It also needs to constantly assess the market and its competitors, as well as attempting to forecast future trends in demand and technology. All of this is quite a task in normal times when events move in a predictable way and in a linear timescale.

However, 2020 will be remembered as one of those years that was far from predictable, where events moved on more of an exponential timescale, and changes were often required to be brought in almost instantly. In times like this, adapting and pivoting is potentially more difficult, but because it can be crucial to the very survival of your business it can at least often ensure that swift action is taken, and not just considered.

Any business owner should seek to make intelligent and informed decisions based on all the information gained from the continual assessment of everyting around them, and it is precisely those business owners that did best during the shock of lockdown in the first half of 2020. But as we are about to enter Q4, 2020 there is a certain sense of déjà vu about events earlier this year, and here we go again. Hopefully, many, many businesses will have already adapted and pivoted, but many others can still change.

Given that change should always be embraced and not seen as a threat, what are the top tips to adapting and pivoting?

  • Never get complacent. Just because you may offer the best product or service at the best price one month, does not mean that that will always be the case. Being at, or near, the top of the tree takes a lot of effort to get there and just as much effort to stay there. As was stated above, constantly assess every aspect of your competitive environment.
  • Research and development. Products and services evolve at a rapid pace. As soon as you have brought out a new or revised product you should instantly be starting to look at the next version.
  • Revolution and not just evolution. Do not just take incremental steps but be prepared to take major leaps forward, and be more radical, so that you can properly disrupt the market.
  • Change is much better than a rest. Just as you should not be afraid to be radical, you should not be afraid to change direction totally. The are many perfect examples used by business schools of major corporates pivoting extremely successfully rather than just adapting, and 2020 has already seen more small businesses pivot than ever before.
  • Review your business model. Even in ‘normal’ times you should constantly review your business model and ask if you are doing everything in the best and most efficient way possible. Are your costs well controlled and your supply chain secure? Are your systems and procedures as slick as possible?
  • Speed is of the essence. When events move rapidly it is crucial that you adapt or pivot every bit as rapidly. Slow action can often be every bit as damaging to a business as no action.
  • Be brave. To be an entrepreneur or a business owner takes a certain type of person, and that person is typically self-reliant and self-confident, as well as being brave and not being afraid to act. Adapting your original business, and certainly pivoting away from the original model takes courage.

Whether time and circumstances move more lineally, or whether they seem to race by more exponentially, does not alter the need to constantly reassess everything that impacts on your business. With this constant flow of information, you are then able to make informed decisions about whether your business should simply evolve, adapt, or pivot more radically.

But whatever you decide to do, be brave.