Pivot: A Shift in Position or Tactics

(April 23, 2020)

Pivot: A Shift in Position or Tactics
By Nicki Parr

In recent years, the word “pivot” had become something of a trend in the business world. Over the past few weeks, though, a skill that was “nice-to-have” quickly moved to “need-to-have” for many small business owners.

Organizations used to operating freely in an unrestricted in-person environment have had to adapt to one where in-person activities are no longer permitted, or have been heavily restricted. Many of us have had to pivot extremely quickly in order to keep delivering our services to our clients.

At Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), we have gone from never holding an online instructional training program to now conducting four 14-week programs online, as well as completing two 4-week instructional programs since the start of the COVID-19 “Shelter-in-Place” statewide restrictions. We have also introduced weekly business-themed webinars, and facilitated themed weekly online meet-ups for clients. We recognized the need to be of even greater service to our small business community during this period and adapted our offerings accordingly.

At the same time, we have heard from many clients who have similarly turned on a dime in order to meet the needs of their client communities, and keep some revenue flowing: fitness and health instructors who are now delivering classes online, bakers and chefs who regularly stream cooking and instructional classes, caterers who have switched from events to home delivery, hairstylists and aestheticians who are delivering at-home product packs and subscription boxes.

Ingenuity is everywhere we look, and we marvel at the creativity and resilience of our clients – as the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”.

For some business owners, a pivot may be less obvious, or perhaps not feasible. We encourage these clients to use this time to revisit and reevaluate their business plan: what were the original intentions/goals when you launched your business? Are your assumptions still relevant? How can you anticipate and prepare for future periods of “Shelter-In-Place”, or business interruption scenarios? How are you preparing for “re-opening” (e.g. physical/space adjustments)?

At the same time, ALL business owners can use this period to connect meaningfully with their customers and clients, and send messages of appreciation. You can strengthen your client relationships through regular social media posts, weekly updates, individual check-in emails, phone-calls or text messages. Don’t be afraid to show your human side if you are comfortable doing so – pictures of pets as your new co-workers can easily bring a much-needed smile to someone’s inbox! These kinds of communications can help you stay top-of-mind (or near the top) so that when restrictions are eased, or pivots made, your clients will be there to support you.

For inspiration about pivoting your business to an online platform, you can watch the recent WEVWorks webinar presented by Chrystal Clifton here. To see some real-life examples of business pivots at the state level, you can watch the recent California Economic Task Force “Rapid Response” webinar here.

WEVPivoted….WEVWorks….and together, WEVGotThis!

#WEVPivoted  #WEVGotThis  #WEVcommunity