Pivot. It’s a word we are hearing more than the average accountant, am I right? (That’s a reference to pivot tables in Excel if you aren’t familiar with the reference) At every turn we’re being told that in order to survive this challenging landscape that we need to “pivot”. Like, seriously, what does it mean to pivot? When should we do it, and how do we do it effectively?

What Does It Mean to Pivot?

For many of us, we know what the word pivot means – to change, turn adjust — but we may not be sure what it means regarding our business or our career path. For all intents and purposes, pivoting for business is similar. It basically means to adjust your business offerings, model, or strategy to meet the needs of changing market. With the challenges we are all currently facing in our individual markets and the overall economy, pivoting is important for many of us in order to try to hang on to what remains left of our businesses and careers.

I’m not trying to be harsh or crass. Unfortunately, it’s a sad reality we have all had to face in some way or another. As of this publishing, I am still working a full-time job (fortunately!) and working my business (because this isn’t a side hustle for me that I can just let go and pick back up some other time). So, that means that I am finding ways to continue to add value to my employer and to each of you. This can be challenging when we may have very specific tasks in our jobs or when our business focuses on a very specific niche or area of expertise. Therefore, we have to determine when to pivot.

Pivoting – When?

The best way to determine when you’ll need to pivot is by keeping a close eye on your market, your customers, and the changes within your employer or industry. How do you do this?

  • Keeping an eye on the market – Are you seeing an increase or decrease in demand for your services? Your skillset? While some industries took a hard hit (such as the cruise industry, oy!) some also thrived (such as home delivery services). 
  • Keep an eye on your customers – What changes are you seeing in your customers? Have they slowed their purchases? Are they still trying to find ways to support your business? If you’re an employee of a company, have your clients reduced the amount of product they are buying? Have they advised you that budget constraints are putting things on hold? 
  • Keep an eye on the industry – What are you noticing your competitors doing during at this time? Is it business as usual? Have they added to their services? Have they adjusted their services, perhaps downsizing their offerings? Have they completely changed the services they are offering? 

How to Pivot Effectively

Once you realize you may need to pivot – whether in business or career — it’s time to decide how to do it. Here are a few steps to guide you through the process:

  • Analyze your analysis. Yeah, okay Shai. In other words, take some time to review the research you have done. What trends are seeing you? Where does the market look over saturated? Where do you see areas of opportunity? Now get ready to move to the next step.
  • Do a complete brain dump. Yep, take all those ideas you have and write them all down or put them all into a digital document. Get it all out. Then start sifting through them to figure out what makes sense and what would truly work for you or your business. 
  • Research and implement. Research how to implement those ideas, if you don’t already know. For example, does it require new certificates? Could you take some courses online at sites like Udemy.com or LinkedIn? Is there a YouTube video to help you? Once you know what you need know then implement it. Add it to your repertoire of services or your skillsets. 
  • Time to launch. It’s now time rollout or launch your new services. Talk about it on social media, highlight it on your website, write informative blog posts, or even create informative videos. It’s time to share with your employer the new skills you’ve learned that will help continue to make you invaluable to your organization. Share (and show!) how your enhanced skillsets are a benefit to your position, the work that you do, and to the goals of the organization. It’s your time to shine!

Pivoting is not always easy, but it doesn’t always have to be hard. While it may seem that time is of the essence, I suggest you do not go rushing in. It’s more about thinking about what you can offer, putting a plan in place, and making the adjustments. Doing so effectively will help ensure that the enhancement your knowledge, skills, or business offerings work to your complete advantage.