Pivoting by Startups: Need of the hour

We always look at pivoting with some level of negativity. Basic thinking is that the founders would not have understood the market, and that he / she may be trying out alternatives just to keep afloat. As the baseline of the world changes due to Covid-19, many startups will have to redraw their business models (Pivoting) to make themselves relevant in the new ecosystem. Future Vs Current: With businesses coming to a halt except for basic essentials and digital-only businesses (like online training, digital lending, payments, OTT platforms, gaming etc.), it would be critical for startups to look at avenues to making revenues / getting funds to get through this prolonged winter of WFH / lockdown. By Avenues, I mean all ethical avenues of making money even if they are not aligned to your long term strategy. It’s an issue of survival and everything else can wait. Rebaseline Product Market Fit: As founders, you may have run a successful business and arrived at a great product market fit. As customers will have different expectations now (and may have no need for your current product / service), you may have to relook at the offering. Some examples may be:
  • Coworking spaces may become more flexible: With WFH training, the need for workspaces would reduce after things come back to normal. The need for flexible plans would be much higher than what we have seen as of now.
  • Lending will become really digital!: Lending unfortunately is not wired end to end and requires manual interventions. These inefficiencies are causing serious challenge as “Business Continuity Plan” doesn’t really have continuity in most places as of now.
  • Training will become 100% Digital: This is what we are doing for our Fintech and Open Banking Masterclasses, which were always organized in Mumbai.
  • Events will have to go digital as well: This is again obvious. However, the methodology and engagement models have to be created. We are yet to figure out a way to relaunch our Fintech Bazaars on digital platforms.
While the above ones are potentially simplistic examples where there are opportunities of going digital / change product configuration etc, there may be multiple products, which may never find their way back in customer’s homes. Identifying them right away and killing them may require deep analysis and quick action. All the above changes may be classified as pivoting. After 3 years of business, I believe that pivoting is about redefining your business model around client needs. It may mean change in customer segment, change in product, change in location… Its about doing whatever it takes to make business happen… And I do agree that as a founder that we fall in love with what we have already created. However Pivoting may be the only way to remain in business in these times.

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