Updated: Oct 15
Never has it been clearer that necessity is the mother of invention. By pivoting your product or service, you can knock the pandemic down a peg while claiming new market share.
Despite the crisis’s economic consequences, June 2020 McKinsey & Co. research suggests that most leaders think it could be a boon to their businesses. More than three-quarters told the research giant the crisis will create “significant” new opportunities for growth. Revealing that blessing in disguise boils down to meeting the market’s changing needs.
To be clear, pivoting isn’t easy. Many organisations are in the midst of an operational disruption unlike they’ve ever seen before. And with so much else on everyone’s minds — the health and welfare of their families, for one — team members might need a nudge in the right direction.
What’s the right direction for your pivot? Other entrepreneurs have hit the nail on the head with these three strategies:
1. Repurpose your raw materials
Coronavirus hasn’t been kind to the adult-beverage industry. With bars closed and restaurants operating at 25-to-50 percent of capacity, alcohol brands around the world are hurting.
Instead of wringing its hands, Britain-based BrewDog began selling hand sanitizer instead of craft beer. The company continued to produce alcohol — enabling it to use much of the same infrastructure — while combining it with different inert ingredients and bottling it differently.
Whatever your product, there’s a way to repackage its core into something useful during this crisis. If you’re a T-shirt shop, could you turn the same fabric into masks? If you’re a healthcare provider, it might be as simple as offering bite-sized mental-health checks via videoconference.
2. Switch up your software
Hand sanitizer isn’t sold in liquor bottles, but in other cases, the hardware may not need to change. Consider whether a software upgrade could make your product useful in the fight against Covid-19. If you’re really lucky, you might be able to push the update out digitally — no in-person interactions required.
Take personal-safety devices. POM’s original button-based device needed no more than software tweaks to become the POM Tracer, a Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing device that employees can wear on their wrists or badges. When one Tracer comes within six feet of another device, the Tracers share proximity data and can send alerts to remind the employees to social distance. If one Tracer user later tests positive for the novel virus, the software can send alerts to Tracers that came close to the infected person’s device.
Contact tracing isn’t the only pandemic-related use case for tech. If you sell project-management software, could it be tweaked to help healthcare professionals manage outbreaks? Maybe you can help with the research side of things. In theory, a DNA testing company like 23andMe could send similar kits to get at-home samples from potentially infected people.
If you’re not sure where to start, identify an impacted audience you’d like to serve. For instance, how might your software help front line staff do their jobs faster, better or more safely?
3. Cater to less social consumers
However well you knew your customers, you have to realize their habits have changed. Thanks to social distancing, people are spending more time at home. Could your service better reflect that?
As state after state rolled out lockdowns in March, Uber drivers saw their side hustles dry up. Uber’s team understood that its power lay in its resiliency, which is why the company soon shifted hard into the delivery marketplace.
Rather than carting people from place to place, Uber drivers began acting as couriers. Although UberEats had existed for some time, the service pivoted from delivery of restaurant food to basic items like medicine and toilet paper, helping at-risk customers get the staples they needed.
4. Think about the outcomes of your clients and deliver them.
There is no debating the fact that the events industry has been smashed into smithereens. That said, some companies have made a conscious effort to think of the client's needs and find a way to deliver them to ensure all can continue to thrive. UK-based events production company IGNITE Events have created a virtual event facility that not only allows their clients to deliver effective and successful events but does so in a way where the quality of their brand identity isn’t compromised. They have the ability to been seen by their attendees in a very professional and dynamic context but also for the presenters to see their delegates all around them in a 360 live event experience with full engagement and interaction of Q&A and breakout sessions included. This is the closest to a live in-person experience any company has been able to deliver.
To find out more visit www.IgniteStudios.co.uk
There are many more examples of innovation and leadership. I would encourage you to explore the needs of your clients first and ask this question. What do they really need and how can we deliver that.
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