The art of the pivot: How to be adaptable in business

Being able to ‘pivot’ is a valuable skill in business, and especially so right now, when the world is in a state of incredible uncertainty and changeability. If you’re not sure what pivoting is, there has never been a better time to learn about it, or to apply it to your own business.

Pivoting essentially means being adaptable – it means recognising that your business isn’t meeting certain expectations, and being agile enough to find a new way to do things in order to solve a problem or respond to a need. This could be a small change, a fundamental rethinking of your whole strategy, or anything in between.

Clearly the challenges of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown have made pivoting more important than ever, as businesses are having to learn to adapt to a situation that can change daily, even hourly. So if you’re keen to know more about how to master the art of the pivot, read on for our advice about nurturing adaptability in your business.

1. Accept change

Surprisingly, the biggest obstacle between you and the pivot can be accepting that change is required. It’s very easy for any business to get set in its ways, especially if it has been operating for a long time and a certain strategy has always worked before. But you won’t be able to make necessary changes unless you can accept that what you’re currently doing is no longer working and something new needs to be done.

2. Stay up to date

Similarly, you won’t be able to respond to new events if you’re not keeping up with the latest developments. Of course, you can’t monitor the situation all the time, but you should set aside a little time every working day to catch up with current events and the state of your industry. You can do this by reading the news, both globally and specifically for your field, and you can also follow industry experts and organisations, and even your own competitors, on social media to see how they respond to new challenges.

3. Listen to your audience

Quite often, you don’t need to guess at what your customers or clients need from you – they will tell you. Maybe your customers are requesting a new product, or they think your latest marketing efforts have missed the mark, or you’re receiving some complaints about your customer service. Whatever the issue, your audience may reach out to you directly through email or social media, or their preferences might come across in more subtle ways such as what they buy or which ads they respond to, so make sure you’re consistently monitoring the audience information you receive and try to pull out common themes that you can respond to.

4. Act quickly

Once you have recognised the need for a new approach, it can take time to actually set the wheels in motion, especially if your business is quite large or has been operating in a particular way for a long time. But the key to pivoting is to act as quickly as possible. You should certainly plan what you’re going to do first, but don’t get bogged down in trying to make everything perfect in the planning stages. You probably won’t get it all right straightaway – the important thing is that you start.

5. Focus on the core idea

To make a change quickly, your idea needs to be relatively simple, so try to boil it down to its core elements. You may get excited and carried away with lots of new ideas, but try to rein in that urge for now and instead focus on the simplest change that you can make to get things in motion. You can always build on the idea later on, once you know it works.

6. Make pivoting a company value

If you’re serious about learning the art of the pivot, why not make it one of your company values? Putting responsiveness and adaptability at the heart of your business strategy should place you in a better position for dealing with change in future, in a way that doesn’t waste time, money or resources. Pivoting can become a natural part of your business strategy, rather than a mammoth task to be avoided.

Need some help making your next pivot? Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to increase your adaptability, because they can support you with a range of services, as and when you need them. Get Ahead VA has a fantastic team of professional virtual assistants who can help with all aspects of business management and marketing. To find out more, please give Get Ahead VA a call on 01483 332220 or email us at We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

Find out more about our services or call 01483 332 220 to discuss in more detail.