Pivot Your Business

PivotWe are in week six of working from home, social distancing, sheltering in place, and e-learning and all of our sacrifice and vigilance are working. Cases are plateauing, or even beginning to come down. Patients are coming off of ventilators and being discharged from hospitals. The curve is flattening. Stimulus checks and PPP payments are rolling out from the federal government, with more on the way. We are moving in the right direction. For business owners, the time to panic and overreact is behind us.

Now is the time for action, for being proactive, for building a plan. It is time to Pivot. COVID-19 has changed—and will change—the world, and your business needs to change as well, now and into the future. Here are five steps for embracing and initiating that change.

Define your business

The process starts by asking some big, foundational questions about your business, starting with Why your business exists— your Vision. Brian Tracy calls it the Major Definite Purpose. Simon Sinek distills it a bit further with his Golden Circle: Why you do what you do (your Vision), How you do it (your unique selling proposition, the things that differentiate you), and What you do (the products and services that you actually provide). You need to determine what business you are in, while also examining what business you should be in and could be in. This first step answers the big questions of whether your current business model is relevant now and if it will continue to be relevant into the future.

Know your customers

All companies, at their core, are in the problem-solving business. They exist (or they should exist) to right a wrong in the world and solve a problem for their customers. During— and after— COVID-19, your customers may look different, which means you may be solving different problems for them. Again, you need to ask the big questions. Who are your customers now and into the future? Who could they be? Who should they be? Have your customers changed? Do the issues they face look different? If so, what can you offer them? How do your products and services address and solve your customers’ issues, and how will they continue to do so into the future? Have any customers become more important as a result of the pandemic, and are there any that you can (or should) no longer serve as a result of this crisis? Knowing who you serve and how you solve your customers’ problems now and into the future will guide how you operate.

Build your plan

The best ideas and solutions in the world are nothing if they cannot be executed and put into action. You need a PLAN! The new Vision and Mission you have set for your company is the destination; the Plan is your roadmap to get there. What are your Goals (both for the next 90 days and long term) for your company— the big initiatives and benchmarks that you will use to measure your progress toward the Vision? What are the constraints you will face, what roadblocks will impede your progress, and what can you do to avoid or minimize their effects? What do you need to know in order to maximize the changes you have made? What do you and your team need to learn in order to implement those changes? Who are your stakeholders? Do the people with a vested interest in the success of your “new” company look different, and how can you engage those people? What needs to happen to execute the plan? What are the Actions that you and your team need to take in order to move forward? Build the Plan so you can achieve your Why.

Measure your progress

What are the numbers that matter? What does success look like? How do you measure your progress? Metrics (or KPI’s and KRI’s) provide a short-term (and long-term) snapshot of the health of the business. Tracking your numbers on a weekly basis allows you to evaluate the activities that matter, and adjust as necessary. If you were tracking metrics before, do the numbers that matter look different than they did before? If your customers and product/service offering are different, do you need new numbers to measure success? Determine the metrics that matter, set the expectation for those metrics, and be diligent about evaluating them if you want to effectively Pivot.

Tell your story

All your hard work to redefine your business, reposition your business to your customers, and execute your plan is for naught if no one knows that you are doing it. You need to let people know about your changes, and how you are making their lives better because of it. Tell your team about the changes, how this Pivot benefits them, and what their roles are in the new Plan. Tell your customers how you have adapted to meet their changing needs. Tell your vendors so they can Pivot with you and help you reach your new Why. Tell all your stakeholders— your partners, your network, those who have a vested interest in your success— about the changes and how they will benefit, so they can tell others. Get the word out about your change and spread your message so those who want and need your services can get them and your business can move forward.

We are doing the right things as a nation, and the results are positive. Now, it is time for business owners and leaders to go on the offensive, to get proactive, to adapt how they operate in the near future and the long-term. It starts by asking the big questions laid out above. If you are ready to answer those questions and do not want to answer them alone, I want to work with you on the process through an intense, short-term coaching engagement for business owners and leaders who are ready to Pivot. We'll determine Why your business exists, How you serve your clients, and What problems you solve for them. We'll dive into Who your clients are, and who they could and should be. We'll build your Plan for the next 90 days and beyond. We'll determine the Metrics that matter, and how to measure them. And we'll commit to Action in order to make your pivot a reality. If you are ready to get to work, so am I. Let's talk.

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