How Startups Are Pivoting Their Strategies to Survive the Down Market
Create new value. Protect the brand. Survive. That is the mantra of many companies large and small whose business models have been disrupted (or obliterated) by the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a founder, you’ve worked extremely hard to establish your business. Changing course might seem unthinkable during these unprecedented times, but by innovating and adapting quickly you can survive - and even thrive - right now. Here are some startups that are successfully pivoting their strategies as they navigate COVID-19, and what we can learn by analyzing their course of action.
This automated workforce solution typically helps companies shift schedules and foster team communication. Recently, it launched a free tool called Bounce Back to help laid-off workers navigate unemployment, curated by location. It also features a community for users to stay in touch with former employers, complete with a job marketplace.
This Los Angeles-based healthy food chain has shifted to home deliveries and has started a COVID-19 helpline to connect their services with schools, senior centers, and homeless shelters in need of healthy, affordable meals.
This on-demand car cleaning service has expanded its offerings to include on-site options to sanitize facilities and properties. The new roll-out brings hospital-grade, EPA-approved disinfecting products and services right to your workplace.
Before COVID-19, Kidadl served as an online platform for discovering and booking family events and experiences. With its community of families going into self-isolation, the company pivoted to become an online destination for ideas and inspiration for stay-at-home fun and learning. The new Kidadl homepage now lists over 1,500 free activities and resources to make family life in lockdown much easier.
Already known for disrupting their industry, The Auction Collective took things even further when COVID-19 put an end to conventional art auctions. They took their auctions completely online, with live streaming options for real-time bidding and the world's first downloadable bidding paddles that bidders can wave during the auction. Also in the works is an online shop where independent artists can sell prints and other merchandise, offering monthly payment options to buyers.
Before the crisis hit, all of sports recovery business MyoMaster’s revenue was generated by selling into gyms and sporting events. When they saw the space open up around at-home workouts, they pivoted to become an e-commerce business almost overnight. After investing in digital advertising spend, they’re now selling in a day what they used to in a month.
Pre-COVID-19, UK-based wine tasting company Club Vino started getting frequent requests to run virtual events. Now, they’ve drawn on that feedback in finding a way to take their business online. Customers can order a home tasting package from the website, which includes a themed case of bottles, printable tasting notes with food pairing suggestions, and a video link that guides them through the wines and explains the story behind the bottle just as if they were at an actual event.
The traditionally predictable world of real estate is more chaotic and unclear than ever. COVID-19 has flipped the office sector on its head as more companies move towards mandatory remote work. Global tech community and flexible workspace provider OnePiece Work is at the forefront of this change, introducing a new service - OnePiece Flex to accommodate midsize to large corporations looking for flexible office leases after the return-to-normal, instead of being locked down by traditional office leases.
How to Look for Pivots
Start With Questions
Great pivots start with good questions. Ask yourself what value your product or service offers, how you deliver and monetize it, and who receives it and benefits from it?
Think in the Moment
Consider what people need NOW, and find intersections with what you currently offer.
Find new products or services that you can provide with existing resources. Be creative! Think beyond your paradigm.
Reconsider the Product/Service Dichotomy
Can you turn your service into a product? Vice Versa? For instance if you run a small bakery, can you pivot to paid online baking lessons or parties?
Focus on What Customers Love About You
A pivot doesn’t mean you have to change your identity. Remember what your customers love about your brand, and use it as a foundation for your new business model.
Find New Ways to Deliver Value
Think of new ways to connect your product to your customers that make sense for your pivot goals. Electronic delivery, direct to the customer, etc.
Find new clients
Find new customers-bases that align with your new business model. These could be adjacent customers to your old product or service, or a completely untapped market that you never even considered.
OnePiece Work has collected a series of community-curated webinars that discuss helpful topics for small businesses during these trying times - including fundraising tips, financial solutions, and more. Visit our Eventbrite!