The recent pandemic has created the perfect conditions to force business owners to take a good hard look at all the variables related to their business’s ongoing success and sustainability. It has, in many cases, identified significant cracks in:
- The business model
- The products and services offered
- Delivery methods
- HR policies
- Processes and procedures
Is this an insurmountable problem or a fantastic opportunity?
For those who see it as insurmountable, the last year has been discouraging, aggravating and in many cases a stab in the heart. They are dead in the water. Whatever their business was worth a year and a half ago, if they couldn’t pivot it may now be a liability. If they haven’t just closed the business and walked away, they may be hanging on, losing money daily and hoping things will get back to normal when the pandemic is over. But it’s unlikely that tomorrow’s normal will be anything like the past.
Others have seized upon the opportunity. They went from making plastic toys to making face shields, from selling alcohol to making hand sanitizer, from being a full restaurant to mastering take-out meals. Others realized cost savings from reducing office space, having employees work from home. Millions of dollars in travel budgets have been saved by ‘zooming’ instead. Some realized they could find qualified workers in other countries to do work at a reduced cost.
When I was growing up, my parents always told me, “Don’t just sit there, do something!” As a business owner I had to force myself to say, “Don’t just do something, sit there – and think!” Stopping to think has generated ideas that kept our business alive.
How to Pivot
Stop ‘doing’ for now and make time to think. Ask yourself:
- What is my company currently doing that still generates income and we should continue? What activities am I doing that help pay the bills?
- What should we stop doing? Be prepared to let go of anything that isn’t helping your bottom line, at least until you are stable. Even pet projects that you love.
- What are we not doing, but should? What new products, services, customer profiles and suppliers could help us out right now? What should I be focusing my time and energies on that I’m not doing now?
- What might we do that was impossible to do in the past, but if we could do it, would fundamentally change our business model and challenge the status quo?
Has the pandemic been good or bad for business? The answer depends upon the owner’s ability to pivot and adapt.