Pivoting is a topic that’s popular amongst businesses facing challenging time throughout 2020 due to COVID-19. The business landscape we know in 2020 is very different than the one pre-2020. The trade wars between the US and China is also not helping. Now that the vaccine has been mass-produced and on the verge of being distributed worldwide, it’s time to rethink how we do business and see how we can sail through the challenging time of 2021. We held a webinar on this topic earlier this week and the response has been positive. Business owners all over the world are looking for a solution to come back to their feet and start making money again. You can watch the reply by clicking the link here.
Strategic ThinkingEarly on in the webinar, I stressed the need to have strategic thinking. Moving forward, organisations no longer have the luxury for short term thinking. Whatever plan we do, must be planned for 5 to 10 years in advanced. COVID-19 if anything has been punitive for businesses not willing to take strategic thinking. Pivot can very well be a solution for any organisation facing challenges, but without a strategic mindset, it is impossible to foresee what the pivot will look like and the impact on the organisation’s bottom line. Pivoting is not a new word and not something that an organisation only do to face challenging times. I discussed briefly the example of Nokia, making the shift from a pulp mill company, to selling everything else from toilet paper to car tires, into complexly become the telecommunication company we know now. This cannot be achieved unless the company adopt strategic thinking to see what the company looks like decades from present. Strategic thinking gives organisations a bird’s eye view on the big picture of the issues facing the organisation at hand. This is traditionally very difficult to accomplished. But we are very fortunate to be living in such time like this where visual business tools such as the Strategyzer and Blue Ocean Strategy’s canvases are widely adopted to help us achieve this. The canvases provide us with the tools necessary to adopt strategic thinking to the lowest level of the organisation. For a more detailed discussion on the 9 building blocks of the business model canvas, watch the webinar replay here.
The Case for ShopifyA few of us may be familiar with the incredible pivot story of Shopify. Shopify didn’t start off as an E-Commerce platform, but instead, it was birthed from the frustration of the founders building their online shop and finding the tool that’s easy to use for them. Being a coder themselves, they decided to build from a scratch and before they know it, they have an easy to use online shop builder that received positive feedback from the people around them. The code is just one small piece of the puzzle. To become the E-Commerce platform giant that they are now, it requires an overhaul of their entire business model. The original store “Snow Devil” was a simple online shop selling snowboards from third-party suppliers. While the store achieved small-time success, the founders were thinking strategically and able to see the bigger potential of using the code to sell an online shop builder to help retailers selling online. From that point onward, everything else is different which is a reflection of the new pivot business model.
Other PivotsShopify was not the only one. Over the years there have been many companies that make the pivot from their original business model to a brand that we know now.
- YouTube was originally a dating service.
- Slack originated from a game called Glitch which focused on social.
- Groupon was an extension from a social platform called “The Point” which allow people to pool their money and negotiate a group discount.