At the time of writing, here in Scotland we’re just starting to take the first tentative steps towards the ‘new normal’, whatever that will look like. For most businesses, it’ll be a long road towards business recovery, and you may well have to think about a business pivot – the new business buzzword.
Weathering the Storm
Put simply, pivot means to make a fundamental change to your business after determining that your product or service isn’t meeting the needs of your intended customers. It could help your business weather the storm.
For some businesses, the opportunity to pivot is relatively easy to spot – if you’re a customer-facing business that relies on footfall to trade effectively, now’s the time to ramp up your online sales platforms.
But where to start? Solid market research is your starting point. If you have an ecommerce website, learn how to make sense of your Google Analytics and customer insights from social media.
Developing Your Business Pivot Strategy
Depending on the size of your business and your turnover, you may want to seek the advice of a business strategist – it’s an investment. Together you can build a business strategy that will give you a route map, and clarity. If you’re busy running the business on a day to day basis, you’re probably too close to spot opportunity and future direction.
Your local Business Gateway office is a good starting point if you need help with your business strategy – and their services are free at point of access. They have a great range of online resources and they’ve managed to pivot to switch their face to face workshop delivery to webinars, as well as downloadable tools and guides.
If your business hasn’t been trading online, it’s worth thinking about how you might trade online – with click and collect or local or national delivery.
An example of a successful pivot is the on-licence establishments like bars and pubs. Some have started to embrace the opportunity and there are some really quick and easy platforms to help you – like LOCAL: Food and Drink Delivery or We Deliver Local. At the very least it can be a lucrative stopgap to generate income, but remember there are licencing issues you need to navigate to become an off-licence establishment, and you need to make sure your premises are ‘Covid secure’ with a policy in place that demonstrates how you will implement these new ways of working to protect both staff and customers. Check the Scottish Government website to find out more, and for licencing issues, contact your local licencing office.
Edinburgh Self Storage provides self storage units to suit any requirement, and we are the perfect place for e-commerce business stock storage.
Investigating marketplace platforms like Amazon, eBay or Etsy could also be worthwhile. Although they take a percentage fee, a cost/benefit analysis will demonstrate whether it’s right for you.
Whatever you do, make sure you manage customer expectations in terms of supply or delivery times. Better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way round.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
If there are financial costs attached to your potential business pivot, check the support available for businesses affected by coronavirus. For example, if your small to medium-sized business (SME) is affected, you may be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 through a Bounce Back Loan scheme.
The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and for the first 12 months you will not have to pay any fees or interest, or make repayments.
We’ll get through these uncertain days, but meanwhile we still have some adjusting to do.