How These 13 Leaders Successfully Pivoted Their Businesses
In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, the ability to pivot is crucial for success. We asked 13 CEOs, founders, and business leaders to share their experiences in adapting their strategies, from shifting to virtual team building to pivoting to renewable energy services. Discover the steps they took to ensure a successful transition in these diverse situations.
- Shifting to Virtual Team Building
- Transitioning to Online Tax Services
- Adapting Marketing for Cultural Differences
- Mental Health Practice Goes Online
- Adjusting to Mid-Market Software Consulting
- Switch to Immersive Online Experiences
- Productized Services and Venture Approach
- Targeting Millennials in Health Magazine
- Embracing E-Publishing and Digital Marketing
- Specializing in Financial Sector Marketing
- Balancing Client Acquisition and Retention
- Changing to DIY Wallpaper Solutions
- Pivoting to Renewable Energy Services
Shifting to Virtual Team Building
Like many other businesses, the pandemic forced us to pivot our core business model and method of operation. Pre-March-2020, the heart of our brand was in-person museum tours. When indefinite shutdowns instantly derailed our primary source of revenue, we had to shift to virtual team-building services quickly.
Rather than operate these emerging services under our main brand, we built up a new brand, and teambuilding.com was born. Keeping the companies separate allowed us to employ more consistent branding and prevented a great deal of confusion for our clientele.
We started the new venture with a handful of strong offerings and scale up gradually rather than spread ourselves too thin with many ideas so that we could streamline our logistics and gain an early reputation for quality.
Transitioning to Online Tax Services
Making the pivot to providing online tax resolution services was a big decision for me and my business, Ideal Tax. I was enjoying much success with one-on-one tax resolution services, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand while still delivering high-quality service.
So I decided that transitioning to an online platform would be the best way to reach more clients and scale my business efficiently while still providing personalized service. To make this transition successful, I took several steps, such as doing extensive research into the online tax market so that I could understand exactly what solutions were needed by potential customers.
With this knowledge as a foundation, I then began developing a new business model tailored for offering these solutions through an online platform. But I endeavored to build up an A-Team of professionals who could help bring my vision into reality.
Adapting Marketing for Cultural Differences
Our business is part of the travel industry and therefore we cross international boundaries, and it was the conditions caused by traversing such regions that had us pivot in our business marketing strategy.
In the beginning, we incorrectly assumed that our marketing messaging would be understood no matter where it was introduced, and in doing so, failed to consider various differences such as language and other regional factors.
In order to combat this problem, we shifted our business marketing strategy and sent teams to study the various regions, considering specific details regarding traditions, heritage, and other cultural attributes, to ensure that our marketing could be understood in the manner it was.
By shifting our strategy to account for the cultural differences in the markets we hoped to enter, we could successfully pivot our messaging and create a more impactful business plan.
Mental Health Practice Goes Online
In the COVID era, mental health crises reached an all-time high, and yet businesses were shut down. A once very personal one-on-one and in-person practice needed to be moved online.
It took some time for our team and our patients to adjust, but we soon learned that it was possible to connect online. It took some shifting of mindset, but we could adapt. Now we still see patients online.
Adjusting to Mid-Market Software Consulting
For several years, until 2018, I worked in high-end software consulting. The business model involved selling high hourly rates to business customers without adequate software engineering capacity in-house. When 2017 came around, I realized many of our customers had thought more like technology businesses.
They were hiring more of their own staff, and the vendor selection process was more competitive. It was that year I began the pivot-down market. In order to make this work, we went fully remote, switched from hourly to value pricing, and our staffing became more globalized with a larger number of freelancers.
In the mid-market, we faced less competition and fewer firms that could hire their own staff to replace us. It was a win-win because they received superior service they could not access prior to that point.
Switch to Immersive Online Experiences
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck and there were many travel restrictions and cancellations, I was presented with a big dilemma. I had to change my business plan to adapt and survive. As the demand for virtual experiences grew, I switched my emphasis from making standard trip arrangements to providing immersive online experiences.
I initially invested in infrastructure and technology to enable virtual experiences and successfully implement this transition. To create interesting and interactive online experiences, like virtual tours, culinary lessons, and workshops, I collaborated with content producers and subject experts in many industries.
I also updated my website and marketing materials to emphasize this new service, focusing on individuals and groups looking for unique and instructive experiences close to home.
Productized Services and Venture Approach
Launching my growth consulting business, I saw a surge in startup clients attracted via marketplaces. The positive reception was heartening, yet as a solopreneur, it soon became challenging to meet the accelerating demand.
Rather than expanding the team—a questionable solution because of the shifting needs and budget constraints typical of startups—I chose a two-pronged pivot towards a more sustainable model. I shifted from full-service consulting to productized services and content-based products like guides.
This move enhanced the leverage of my business, allowing me to serve a larger clientele in a streamlined manner and fine-tune my go-to-market approach. I offered a unique “Venture As A Service” to enterprises. This combination of corporate venture capital, greenfield incubations, and venture partnering diversifies my clientele while tapping into the greater stability and ability to pay offered by larger organizations.
Targeting Millennials in Health Magazine
In my tenure as the Senior Editor at our health magazine, there was a crucial period when we had to execute a customer segment pivot. Our traditional demographic of adults aged 40-55 was steady, but growth had plateaued.
Our research showed a surging interest in health topics among millennials, so we shifted our focus to cater to this demographic, aged 25-40. We adjusted our content to be more digital, interactive, and integrated with social media.
We also introduced articles about mental health, fitness trends, and nutrition for busy lifestyles, topics millennials resonated with. Our graphic design team also worked hard to modernize the magazine’s look and feel.
Within a year, we saw a 35% increase in subscriptions among the 25-40 demographic and increased our digital traffic by almost 50%. This strategic change proved crucial for our growth and relevance in the changing landscape.
Embracing E-Publishing and Digital Marketing
In the early days of Authors On Mission, we primarily focused on traditional publishing channels. However, as the digital landscape expanded, we noticed a growing shift towards self-publishing and e-books. Recognizing this change, we modified our strategy to include these digital platforms.
To ensure a successful transition, we first conducted thorough research to understand the nuances of e-publishing and digital marketing. We then trained our team in these areas, updated our services to include e-book formatting, and developed marketing strategies for online platforms.
Simultaneously, we communicated this shift to our clients, ensuring transparency and building trust. The pivot was challenging but ultimately successful, allowing us to serve a broader market and stay relevant in the rapidly changing publishing industry while keeping in touch with the younger generation who primarily use digital sources.
Specializing in Financial Sector Marketing
Identifying a transformational moment in our journey, we shifted from a generalist digital marketing agency to one laser-focused on the financial sector. This change was a gradual, informed decision sparked by our growing proficiency and comprehension of this unique market’s intricate needs.
We committed to this change after discerning a pattern in our client base: our services were highly sought-after in the finance and investment industry. Acknowledging this, we strategically aligned our resources to serve this sector.
Adopting this specialist approach resulted in substantial gains. It enhanced client satisfaction and retention rates, as we offered highly tailored solutions. It also allowed our team to deepen their industry knowledge, ultimately driving better client outcomes. The positive market response confirmed the success of our pivot.
Balancing Client Acquisition and Retention
I was on cloud nine after seeing a massive growth spurt at the six-month mark of my digital marketing agency. It was fine until it plateaued. Then I noticed a pattern of decline in customer retention rates. I realized it wasn’t good enough to only acquire clients; I had to nurture them as well.
I pivoted my strategy and slowed down on customer acquisition after a certain quota for the quarter. This gave me time to focus on client engagement and retention efforts. I focused on improving their onboarding experience, personalizing communication outreach, and conducting surveys. This helped me balance gaining and maintaining clients so that growth became sustainable.
Changing to DIY Wallpaper Solutions
With the rise of digital technology and the increasing popularity of online interior design platforms, the demand for traditional wallpaper installation services declined. Recognizing the need to adapt to the changing market, I shifted my focus toward providing DIY wallpaper solutions.
I conducted thorough market research to understand the preferences and needs of the target audience for DIY wallpaper. This involved analyzing consumer trends, studying competitors, and identifying gaps in the market, revamping the company’s website, creating engaging content and tutorials, and implementing effective digital marketing strategies to reach the target audience.
Recognizing that DIY installation might intimidate some customers, I focused on providing exceptional customer support and education. I also offered personalized help, step-by-step guides, and video tutorials to help customers successfully install the wallpaper themselves.
Pivoting to Renewable Energy Services
As the UK moves away from energy generated from oil, we have had to focus more of our attention on providing non-destructive testing services for offshore wind farms and other renewable energy industries.
We are still making this transition, but to ensure we’re successful, we have created a new division within our organization, NDT Renewables, to service our clients within that sector.
This will help us build a team that specializes in this sector, providing a high-quality service. To support this aim, we have also developed a tailored apprenticeship scheme with a local higher education provider to ensure we have a steady supply of well-qualified NDT technicians skilled in working in the renewable energy sector.
We have also invested in additional training for some of our technicians to help them specialize in NDT for offshore wind farms, working with GWO-certified training providers.
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