The coronavirus pandemic changed the world when it hit in 2020. Quickly, companies adapted their strategies to keep up with the fast-changing consumer habits and priorities.
While the pandemic caused by COVID-19 is on unprecedented levels, huge crises have already affected economies before. In such situations, how would business leaders know how to tackle such problems?
Today, businesses are adopting the pandemic pivot, a business growth strategy that, according to Innovation Management, is necessary for the future of business. In the US, many small businesses have already successfully pivoted their business models, products, and services. Some targeted a new customer base, others launched new product lines, while some offered virtual services.
The Pivot and the Victorious
A business pivot is set to improve revenue and sales to help a business stay afloat. Organizations that were successful in their pivot changed the direction of their business. However, it has its own challenges.
A business will typically pivot its model, product, or service if it’s not meeting the requirements and needs of its customers. The method used to pivot a business ultimately affects the success of the transformation itself. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), a business could survive if it transforms itself completely. Otherwise, it could face bankruptcy.
Here are several companies that successfully pivoted their business because of the pandemic.
When universities shifted to online teaching because of the pandemic, New York-based LoftSmart lost its key market, students who were searching for living accommodations. To survive, LoftSmart overhauled its business. It built a new platform called Table22, which targeted restaurants. The platform partnered with restaurants so that they could offer cooking classes to consumers.
LoftSmart completely transformed its business model from business-to-consumer (B2C) to business-to-business (B2B).
Trade shows, exhibitions, and other business events were prohibited during the height of the pandemic to prevent people from gathering socially. Kudos Exhibitions, a UK-based company that created exhibition stands and kiosks, developed a new product line for their business, the Virascreen.
Realizing they had the resources to build protective screens, Kudos Exhibitions took the opportunity and has since launched a successful e-commerce market for Virascreen.
In a related industry, Stage Kings built stages for theater, TV, film, and live performances. However, the Sydney-based company went into economic trouble when the events industry was shut down in Australia because of the pandemic.
To stay afloat, Stage Kings created a home furniture line they called IsoKing. Initially, IsoKing produced desks that were designed for home office use. As it gained popularity and sales, it has now added home furniture and office accessories into its product list.
In Canada, SnapCab developed a portable privacy pod that can be used for remote work. If you don’t have a private space where you can work at home, you can instead use SnapCab’s glass and aluminum home office pod.
SnapCab’s home office pod was the company’s way of surviving after office work was no longer allowed. Originally, the company built private meeting rooms for open office settings. Today, the company continues to operate through its privacy pod offerings and a new line of elevator interior systems.
Marelli, a manufacturer of automotive components, saw a need and business opportunity created by the pandemic. The Italy-based company tapped into their industry to learn of ways on how they could help.
When the WHO announced COVID-19 is airborne, Marelli decided to develop an indoor air quality purification system that can be used in shared vehicles. Because of its success, the company has since developed versions of its new product for home and office use.
Still in Europe, the Austria-based company, Heron Gruppe, developed a social distancing detection system that can be used for production and manufacturing facilities. The company’s new product line gave birth to a subsidiary, the SafeDi.
SafeDI leveraged Heron Gruppe’s expertise in information technology to develop its safe distancing tool. It also doubles as a contact tracing tool that eliminates the usual error of accidental deactivation. Originally, Heron Gruppe manufactured automation equipment, particularly robotics and CNC technology, used in factories.
The Decision to Pivot
A business pivot, however, is not an easy decision to make. According to the HBR, there are three conditions that your business should meet before deciding whether to pivot or not.
First, you can transform your business if it can address a long-term trend that has been made more important by the pandemic. Transitioning to a digital business is one example.
Second, you can pivot your business if it can leverage its strengths. For example, would it be feasible to go digital? Can your current resources accommodate the shift?
Finally, you can transform your business if the pivot you have in mind can sustain your business even after the pandemic.
If you find it difficult to decide about your business pivot, however, you should consider the help of a business transformation coach.
Be Ready to Pivot
The pandemic may be a bleak moment for business, but there are still opportunities. You only have to do a lot of research and brainstorming to develop a new product or service. More importantly, though, you need insight and courage. Take the companies above as your models.