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Pivoting in uncertain times

Although the concept of pivoting is nothing new in the business world, it certainly has become a buzzword since the outbreak of covid-19. The crisis has made it necessary for many companies to shift their business models to thrive or even just survive. 

What does it mean? 

In traditional terms, pivoting means to change your business model or strategy when it isn’t yielding the desired results. Or taking advantage of a shift in the market to grow your business. Whether mild or dramatic, change always accompanies a pivot, and undoubtedly includes a fair degree of risk. 

Real-life examples

One example of a famous pivot is Starbucks who started off in 1971 selling espresso machines and coffee beans. After realising they were missing out on a lucrative opportunity, Howard Schultz (chairman, president and CEO) changed their business model to brew and sell coffee in a European-style coffeehouse. 

A very recent example is hotel booking platform,, who partnered with hotels to create isolation centres across Nigeria.   

Key Factors to Consider


Consider the value of what your product or service offers in comparison to what people need today. Perhaps consider a shift in what you supply to fulfil unmet needs? You may acquire new clients in the process. 


Decide what is truly necessary to run your business and cut out the non-essentials. Consider your financials and how you can reduce your losses.


Consider what your clients love about you and find alternative ways to deliver your value proposition. Are you able to transition to an online or electronic delivery of your service?


Collaborating with new business partners may give you access to new opportunities. Perhaps there’s a partner who can market your service to their database while you offer them something in return. 

Although times are uncertain and, frankly, a little bit scary, pivoting can be exciting as you experiment and innovate. Great companies are built in trying times, whilst undergoing numerous failures. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up!

We are in this together.

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