Is Your Business Ready to Pivot?

Pivoting is a term that is well known within the circles of technology start-ups. It is one with which every small business should become more familiar.

Pivoting is shifting your business strategy on short notice as a result of any number of expected or unforeseen circumstances.

Today Google announced Google Drive – a free cloud computing service that will compete directly with market leader Dropbox – and many others.

Given Google’s deep pockets, this is sure to change the game of cloud computing. A similar move by PayPal promises to give mobile credit card processing market leader Square a run for their survival.

Are they ready to pivot?  Is your business ready to pivot?

Your Plan B is Not Enough

Smart businesses are always ready to respond to changing market conditions. Unfortunately, markets today can literally change overnight.

Most businesses do not have a plan B.  They make the assumption that they will have time to develop one over a period of years.

No more. How many homeowners expected their property values to be cut in half overnight – and possibly forever? Not many. Combine that with a reduction of income or job loss and the results are devastating.

It’s the same with business. I work with companies that plow snow, and many of them just experienced a winter where revenues were 10-20% of normal. Could your business survive a similar reduction?

All of the leading cloud computing services offer 5 gigabytes of free space and charge for additional space thereafter. That is presumably how they expect to pay their bills.

If Google wanted to, they could easily up that free space to 50 or 100 gigabytes. Why would they do that?  In addition to the fact that they can, because keeping users within the Google ecosystem is advantageous. They can easily make up the difference elsewhere from the hundreds of other Google services.

These are changing times where we all should be considering what could be next, and even what if our plan B proves to not be a viable solution.

Then what?

What’s Next and What’s the Solution?

During the heady days of the boom, a friend of mine who worked in the financial services industry suggested that all stocks could go to zero. As ludicrous as this seemed, it pretty much proved to be true for many.

What could go to zero in your business or industry?

Is it possible that someone would be willing to do what you do for free?  Yes, it is.  As a professional speaker, I realize there are many aspiring speakers who would gladly accept an opportunity to speak for an audience just for the exposure.

While they may not be able to deliver the goods, there will undoubtedly be some meeting planners who will roll the dice. It happens – and it could happen to you if you are not ready to pivot.

It has been said that desperate times require desperate measures. Isn’t it better to prepare for whatever may be possible?

Pivoting should become part of your business planning – and not just during your annual strategic planning.  

My suggestion is to consider how digital can be part of either the problem or the solution. Accidents are unpredictable. Digital trends are not.

Stay tuned and I will do my best to lead you to the solutions that promise to keep your business relevant, viable, and profitable.

Get ready to pivot.

You may never have to, but I have a feeling you probably will. Look for a follow-up article here on best practices for preparing to do so. You may also wish to become a subscriber.

In the meantime, these recent articles offer an analysis of recent trends and some pragmatic ideas to consider:

Innovate or Die – The Race to the Top

Presentation Skills for Marketers

Social and Mobile are Universally Global

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Until next time, Jeff