Skip to main content
Grocery bag
6 min read

How To Pivot And Reposition Your Business

We thought it might be over by the summer, or September, or definitely by the end of the year and then everything could just go back to the way it was. We just needed to hang on in there until then. But the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus doesn’t seem to have improved and many of the changes we’ve had to make might be here to stay, at least for the foreseeable. This impacts the way we all do business and means it might be time to pivot. 

 

What is pivoting? 

Pivoting your business is changing the direction that it was heading in. 

A pivot is a strategy, not a tactic. So we’re not talking PR stunts or new product launches but a deliberate altering of your course of action in response to internal or external factors. 

Pivoting might happen when: 

  • There is a global pandemic(!)  
  • Trends change 
  • Your target market disappears 
  • There are technological advancements  
  • There is economic decline or growth  
  • Your business growth is flattening or declining 
  • Your business is falling behind the times 
  • Competition is very heavy in your area 
  • You see an opportunity or gap in the market 
  • You lose resource or gain access to better resource

Does your business need to pivot? 

If changes in the business world have detrimentally affected your business then it might be wise to assess your options for a pivot. Or perhaps you’ve spotted an opportunity amongst the vast amount of change occurring. It’s not about capitalising on other people’s misfortune but working out how people’s behaviours and what they need have changed and how you might be able to service that. 

Look for a cross-over with other industries. Hotels have become accommodation providers, taxis have become delivery services. 

The smaller the business, the easier a pivot is likely to be as smaller businesses can be more agile. Being willing and able to pivot is a good way to future proof your business. Make sure your business is flexible and also scalable. 

 

10 business trends and consumer behaviour changes that we’re seeing from the pandemic 

  1. Working from home 
  2. Online shopping 
  3. Exercise at home and outdoors 
  4. Cycling and walking 
  5. Online networking 
  6. Virtual events 
  7. Health and hygiene focus 
  8. Food delivery and takeaway
  9. Staycations 
  10. Outdoor and socially distanced entertainment options

Businesses who have pivoted recently

Moving from doing business physically to online 

Businesses like This Is Creative Enterprise, Write & Shine and For The Love of Books have moved their in-person workshops to be completely online. Conferences and events have gone digital. Many shops have moved to e-commerce stores. 

Jenny Barrett

“At This Is Creative Enterprise (TICE) pre-pandemic, we were predominantly about physically taking young students into workplaces, meeting employers and developing new skills in the creative, design and digital sectors. Currently, these in-person experiences have had to pause, and although we fully intend to continue them when able, for now, we have shifted all our focus onto digital opportunities, live project briefs and insight from the creative industry. We have still managed to maintain the core elements of what TICE is about but on another level. Yes, it’s been incredibly hard, mainly due to the fast pace in which we’ve had to change but it has also showcased the opportunities and the blended experiences we can give young people who wish to continue to engage in creative industry insight. “

Jenny Barrett, This Is Creative Enterprise

 


 

A service-based business to a product-based business (or vice versa)

Thoughtfully Marketing pivoted from offering consultancy and copywriting to online marketing courses for small businesses and freelancers.

 


 

Changing your target market

Cambridge Fruit Co. went from servicing their local corporate market to delivering boxes to homes and taking orders from around the world from people who wanted to make sure friends and family were fed and to donate boxes to NHS workers, charities and vulnerable people. 

Camb Fruit Co Indie 2020-15

“I genuinely thought I’d lose my business. I was crying in the night. My back up plan was primary schools but when they said they were going to shut primary schools, I thought this is it, I thought I was going to lose my business. Now, that buzz and energy from helping as many people as I can. It’s taken my life in a whole new direction. I really enjoy delivering to hospitals, I’m so grateful.”

Neil Bharadwa, owner of the Cambridge Fruit Company

 


 

A complete product pivot

ChargedUp quickly shifted from focusing on providing phone charging stations to CleanedUp hand sanitiser stations. 

 


 

Pivot to help other people pivot

Instagram Manager, Amy Normanton set up a membership for women in business wanting to get online and start their own businesses in lockdown. 

“When lockdown hit, all my social media management clients were small businesses like gyms and beauticians so they had no reason to keep marketing going when the world had slowed down. So I completely lost all my clients and business that I had spent the last year building. That’s when I realised that many people on furlough or laid off were turning their hobby into a hustle and would need online support but not have the funds. I started a membership programme for as little as £25 a month where I host other female entrepreneurs in the group to teach them how to grow their business, finances, online presence, confidence and more. 

I then saw a need for my 1-2-1 support in starting a business. So I became a business mentor and haven’t looked back. It was on my goal board to start a membership in 2021 and be a business mentor in 2022 but the universe had other plans.”

Amy Normanton 

“When lockdown hit, all my social media management clients were small businesses like gyms and beauticians so they had no reason to keep marketing going when the world had slowed down. So I completely lost all my clients and business that I had spent the last year building. That’s when I realised that many people on furlough or laid off were turning their hobby into a hustle and would need online support but not have the funds. 

Amy Normanton

The process for pivoting 

Follow this eight-step process for pivoting your business. 

1. Identify the problem or behaviour change.
Why are you pivoting? What has changed? 

2. Identify your capabilities. 
What skills and abilities does your business have that are adaptable? 

3. Think about your values and why you do what you do. 
Keep your values at the heart of why you are pivoting. 

4. Research what others are doing locally and globally.  
Get inspiration and ideas from others. You might not need to reinvent the wheel, you might just need to make your version of it. 

5. Give yourself the creative freedom to come up with crazy ideas. 
Have a ‘no idea is too stupid’ policy when you’re generating pivot ideas. 

6. Don’t start from scratch.
Don’t try and do something that you have no skills or expertise in. The point of a pivot is to utilise what you’ve already got to change direction. 

7. Do the maths – are there opportunities for growth?
Make sure that it will be profitable and scalable. 

8. Don’t invest too much until you’ve tested it or know that it’s working.
Invest only as you need to in new resources and materials. Make sure you have a valid business case before spending money. 

 

Communication is key when pivoting 

  • Before you pivot – Ask your customers what they want. Don’t moan but be open about your struggles and the changes you think you need to make and how you’re working through it.
  • During your pivot – Keep them informed and take them on the journey with you. Make sure the communication is two-way. Really value their feedback and make sure they know that you’re responding to it. Create a launch plan for the new aspect of your business. 
  • After the pivot – Tell them explicitly everything that’s changed and why it’s good for them. Update your email database, social profiles, website and Google business listing. Update them as often as you need to. Tell them what you’re learning – make them part of it. 

 


 

Change is inevitable, we just need to be as ready for it as we possibly can with strong foundations, values, a willingness to be flexible and preferably some savings. 

Talk to people and look for signs that your pivot is starting to work. These might not even be metrics at first, stay close to your customer to gauge their true sentiment. Marketing yourself and communicating through the changes will be more important than ever.

Share this content
Sophie Cross

Sophie Cross runs Thoughtfully Marketing School. Online, on-demand, and lifetime access marketing courses, support, and free resources if you’re a freelancer or ‘company of one’. 

Leave a Reply

Register with Informi today:

  • Join over 20,000 like-minded business professionals
  • Create your own personalised account with curated reading lists and checklists
  • Access exclusive resources including business plans, templates, and tax calculators
  • Receive the latest business advice and insights from Informi
  • Join in the discussion through the comments section

or

I’ve been working through the how to start a business in 20 days ebook and so many of the things I’d done are now nicely tied together and some gaps now filled. I love the simplicity. Thank you.

Sarah Gosling – Gosling Charity Consulting

I love receiving my Informi emails. They’re always well written and engaging.

Jennifer Hobson – JEH Bookkeeping

Coronavirus (Covid-19)The latest business guidance and support