The global pandemic has opened up new opportunities for businesses able to adapt, improvise and overcome the many challenges. For many, this will involve reacting to changes in customer behaviour, maybe taking their business in a new direction, pivoting towards a different set of goals rather than continuing in a straight line.
By taking a proactive approach to current events, it is possible to capitalise on opportunities as they arise, utilising your existing resources for new purposes and ultimately coming out on top. It is Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” and those business leaders who are in pursuit of growth have an opportunity to evolve and emerge ahead of the pack.
As a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10ksb entrepreneurs business course at UCL, Mark Somers was invited by Goldman Sachs to participate in a special business course “Reimagining Business” run by Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford. This course has centred around the concept of how to pivot your business, providing entrepreneurs and SMEs with the resources they need to pivot effectively and help their clients do the same.
There are lots of lessons from that course which Mark has been able to apply to the Somers Partnership to make us even more relevant to your future needs and which we are also able to share with you, our clients, to help you grow and prosper following the challenges of Covid and as we emerge from lockdown.
Read on to find out how pivoting could help your business going into the future…
Learning to pivot your business
In the face of challenges posed by COVID-19, many businesses have been forced to adapt their business models in order to survive. For some, this has been a turn towards a different aspect of their business, for others, it has been a complete pivot towards a previously unexplored market segment.
Pivoting encompasses any form of shifting, revolving or reimagining your business in response to new market opportunities. It is a reactive approach to doing business, taken in the event that your current model is no longer working. Mark learned on his course, that these pivots will rarely work in the straight line that they are planned and will sometimes meander and take longer to come to fruition. In order to pivot successfully, businesses need to have the right attitude and aptitude, our clients businesses are led by dynamic leaders rather than just managed, and this kind of transformation requires willingness and determination, as well as an ability to redirect your current resources towards new aims.
Start with a Business Model Canvas
In order to evaluate the potential of your business, you may wish to undertake a Business Model Canvas for better strategic planning, this is explained further in this video…
If you don’t have time to do this then a quick SWOT analysis, with assumptions about future customer and employee behaviour, will point you in the right direction. By considering your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, you can assess the changing environment you now find yourself in. This framework necessitates an analysis of both the internal and external forces influencing your business, as well as paying particular attention to the direction your competitors have chosen to take.
This analysis is aimed at taking a proactive approach to business, giving you the perspective you need to capitalise on new opportunities as they arise and evolve. This makes it the best place to start when evaluating how you can pivot most effectively.
Monitor the changing situation
For the vast majority of businesses, pivoting may not be an immediate fix. You will need to be prepared to adapt and adjust as you go. One of the best models for doing so effectively is to follow the OODA Loop – Observe, Orientate, Decide, and Act – a military tactic which Mark learned during his time at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. These actions should be a continual process, repeated as often as necessary to respond to changes as they happen.
As part of your observation, it is crucial that you remain in touch with your clients and your team. Listen to their stance on current events and their concerns as they relate to your business. Your clients and your team will be your best guide.
We know from our clients that 30% of employees would like to keep the current working arrangements and 60% would like more flexibility, they don’t want to return to five days commuting into the office every week. Meanwhile, our clients are seeing this as an opportunity to decide what the future organisational structure will look like and unfortunately many employees who are currently furloughed may find themselves out of a job. The most forward thinking leaders are seeing this as a great opportunity to reorganise the business and reset, up-skill and strengthen the bench and benefit from compound talent. One thing is for sure, the team you had going into lockdown are not the same team who will lead your business out of lockdown, there are three types of employees, the Rainmakers, Lawn Mowers and Well Poisoners and to pivot your business and survive the current challenges, you need Rainmaker talent in your team.
You will need to acknowledge that in pivoting your business you may lose a number of your existing employees and maybe even some clients, you will need to make some tough decisions and not everyone is comfortable with change, but the actions you take now can help to secure new clients and Rainmakers for the future. Identify who your diamond clients are and put a plan in place to bring them along with you and to attract more loyal clients that fit their profile.
Pivot your business with confidence
Transforming your business model is not without difficulty and it requires a considerable level of confidence and grit in order to do so successfully. You need to believe in your ability to pivot your business and make it work.
The current times require open mindedness and the utmost flexibility. We are all learning as we go and new information is coming to light every day. Hence, the only way to approach business at this time is with an open and receptive attitude, to enable you to react in the most productive way.
The recent pandemic has signalled an enormous shift in the wealth management industry as many businesses have been forced to reevaluate their existing business model and method of working. However, COVID-19 is not the only monumental change that we will see this year.
With Brexit commencing and a general move in government policy towards a more global outlook, the scope for businesses will begin to fluctuate once again. The government has plans to aggressively pursue new trade deals beyond Europe and many businesses will be well placed to take advantage of these opportunities as they emerge.
Somers Partnership Ltd and the power of pivoting
Despite our extensive experience catering largely to Wealth Management clients, we have adapted our business model in recent weeks to better serve the changing world we are now living in. Now more than ever, we are focussed on growth as a truly international firm, taking on clients from California, Dallas, London, South America and the Bahamas since lockdown began.
In doing so, we have also shifted our focus further towards Family Offices. We have positioned ourselves as thought leaders in the Family Office industry and have become a trusted recruitment source for Family Offices looking to hire new professionals, future proofing our business in the process.
COVID-19 has brought many challenges but it has also brought new opportunities for businesses who are willing and able to be flexible. By taking a proactive approach to the changing markets, we have been able to thrive during the crisis and take on new clients. We are excited to see what the future holds and we will continue to pivot our business to help our clients to achieve a competitive advantage.