Learning to Pivot

Thought Leadership

How Your Business Can Make a Successful Pivot

By April Langford, CEO, revcyclematch.com &
Chris Johnson, VP Revenue CycleManagement – Regional Facilities, Atrium Health

April Langford

Chris Johnson
In today’s business world, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with changing trends. In order to do that, companies need to constantly evolve their strategies and tactics. This is known as pivoting or strategic repositioning.

How does this work?
A pivot usually occurs when there are significant changes happening within an industry. These changes may come from new technology, a change in consumer demand, or even a shift in government regulations. When these things happen, they create opportunities for businesses that have been operating under previous conditions.

Two Types of Pivots
There are two types of pivots: strategic and tactical. Strategic means you change direction because you feel that the direction you were going in was wrong. Tactical means you change direction because the situation has changed.

Some companies just stick to their guns and refuse to change course. Others throw caution to the wind and take risks. Sometimes it’s best to use both methods and mix them up.

Strategic Pivots
The most common type of strategic pivot is when you decide that the direction you are taking is wrong. This may happen due to a variety of factors including lack of demand, poor execution, or competition.

Tactical Pivots
Tactical pivots are used when the situation has changed. These situations include things such as increased demand, decreased supply, or increasing competition.

Combining Strategies
Sometimes it makes sense to combine both strategic and tactical pivots. For example, if your company is doing well but you see some signs that the market is starting to slow down, then you might want to consider making a strategic pivot while also implementing a tactical one.

The Importance of Pivoting
You might be wondering why would I ever need to pivot or change my business model? Perhaps you may have started off with a strategy that worked great at first, but now you’re finding that it’s no longer effective. Maybe you’re struggling to find clients who will buy your product or use your service.

If no one wants what you offer, or if the way you offer it has changed, then your business will not succeed. Innovating your business model could mean creating something completely different than anything currently available.

There are many reasons why you should consider a pivot. For example, you want to:

  1. Provide more value to your clients.
  2. Improve the customer experience.
  3. Reduce operating costs.
  4. Increase revenue.
  5. Attract new customers.
  6. Grow your brand.
  7. Become more efficient.
  8. Develop new products/services.
  9. Expand into other markets.
  10. Diversify.

How to Know When to Pivot
If you think about all of the above reasons, you’ll see how important it is to know when to pivot. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and never move forward. However, if you don’t try to find ways to innovate, you risk being left behind.

Here are some signs that it might be time to rethink your strategy and start innovating:

  1. Your current product line isn’t working anymore.
  2. You’ve tried everything you can think of to generate sales but nothing seems to be working.
  3. You realize that you’re spending too much money on advertising.
  4. You notice that people aren’t responding well to your marketing efforts.
  5. Your competitors are doing better than you.

How to Pivot Effectively
Once you decide it’s time to pivot, you need to figure out how to successfully execute the plan.
Here are 5 tips to making a successful pivot.

1. Understand where you are now
Before you begin any kind of pivot, it’s essential that you understand where you are right now. What problems do you face? What obstacles do you have to overcome? Do you have enough resources at your disposal? Are you able to make quick decisions?

2. Identify your goals
After you have a clear understanding of where you are, you need to identify your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to go? What do you hope to achieve?

3. Create a vision board
Now that you know where you want to go, it’s time to visualize what that future looks like. Use a vision board to help you achieve your goals. A vision board is simply a collage of images that represent your ideal future.

4. Set a timeline
It’s important to set timelines for your pivot so you can measure your progress along the way. Once you’ve identified your goals, you need to determine when you want to reach them.

5. Start small
Don’t underestimate the power of starting small. Sometimes, the smallest steps lead to the biggest results.

Final Thoughts
When the market you’re in is changing, your business cannot survive by maintaining the status quo. How you adapt to those changes is critical to your company’s survival. Finally, remember that pivoting doesn’t always mean big leaps and large-scale changes. Even just the smallest changes can often result in huge improvements.

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