5 Strategies to Pivot your Business

Samantha Schleese

by Samantha Schleese

Published: April 28, 2020

What does this latest buzzword “pivot” actually mean? And how the heck can you pivot your business in such an uncertain time?

I wanted to do some digging myself as the word Pivot in my world is a jazz dance move (check-out a pivot turn if you want to learn a new dance move while you're here).

According to the Founder’s Institute, pivoting in the startup world means to shift to a new strategy, often drastically changing several objectives and plans for the business.

But, what does “pivoting” aka a strategy shift look like during a pandemic? There’s no denying that every entrepreneur is in survival mode right now - figuring out this new way of living AND trying to keep their businesses alive. In the mentality of trying to swim, and not sink, I wanted to share strategies that have kept us afloat through the pandemic. A little more on us, in case this is the first time we’re meeting.
Photo by Ryan Emberley

We started City MOGULS in 2016 as a fundraising event to celebrate entrepreneurs, now known as The MOGUL Awards. Events are our roots and how we live out our mission: to connect and motivate entrepreneurs to inspire the great leaders.

In 2020, we launched two brand, new events, Talk The Walk and The MOGUL Retreat. Like many businesses, all the hard work and plans we had in place came crumbling down. My optimistic self was hopeful the first two weeks of social distancing, but my realistic self knew that the reality was this: our 2020 line-up of events might not happen in-person this year.

Knowing this, and that we still had an incredible community of entrepreneurs to support, here’s 5 strategies we used (and are still using) to pivot our business:

1. Act - FAST

ACT NOT REACT. Although my soul was going through an emotional rollercoaster, I knew the importance of acting fast, and doing everything I could to help our community get through this time.

We shifted the brand's focus, like most businesses, to providing opportunities for the community digitally:

  • We expedited programs we were planning on doing later in the year, and converted them to a digital experience (check-out MOGUL Crews)
  • We provided free resources and ways for entrepreneurs to share what they were going through and any valuable information they had
  • I reached out to connect with community members that I know would be hit hard by the pandemic and offered any help I could

2. Be Honest with your Stakeholders

In one of our recent webinars, Michael Hyatt said, “This is not business as usual, this is war.” What is currently happening is completely out of our control - EVERYONE is struggling in some way. Keeping an open line of communication with your staff, stakeholders, investors and suppliers has never been so important. Empathize with what everyone else is going through and keep your awareness that we’re all in the same boat.

3. Ask for Help

As we like to say here at City MOGULS, your network is your net worth. Now is the time to call the favours and ask those around you for help.

Here’s an exercise we have been doing in our weekly sessions during MOGUL Crews.

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Person 1 - I need advice on e-commerce platforms

Person 2 - You have a similar business model to mine, how are you strategizing to get through this time?

Person 3 - Can you connect me to your friend X who does X

Reach out to each of those people right now and follow-up with them in a few days if you don’t hear from them.

Tap into your existing resources. People are very open to sharing advice and supporting each other right now, and have the time to help. Remember, the fear of asking for what you want, results in not getting what you want.

4. Share what you do with the Community

You are amazing at what you do. Do not forget that. And sharing your skills/advice with others could literally save lives and businesses. Think about what you can offer to the community and how you can help others. Maybe it's a free hour of training in your expertise. A free webinar where you can teach others a skill you have that could help them.

These selfless acts of generosity are what you (and your business) will be remembered for when this is all over.

5. Educate (and take care of) Yourself 🙂

And I don’t mean watching the news or binging on Tiger King to “educate” yourself on bobcats. Use the spare time you have to level up your skills and work on a skill that could help you as your business pivots. I’ve been focusing on mastering SEO through an online course on Udemy (if you found this blog on Google then I must have learnt something). My Co-Founder Dani Kagan has been working on her video editing skills, and we are both taking a Storytelling for Presenting course with Talk Boutique.

Often for entrepreneurs, self-care falls to the bottom of the to-do list. How are you supposed to help and support those around you if you aren’t feeling good? Set-up and stick to your self-care routines - it's one thing you CAN control in your life right now. I’m a member of the 5 AM Club (worth a read if you struggle to find time in your day for YOU) but self care looks a little different for everyone.

Now get out there and PIVOT! Have you mastered the pivot turn since you started reading this blog post?