How Do You Manage a Business Strategy Pivot as a Chief Executive Officer?

How Do You Manage a Business Strategy Pivot as a Chief Executive Officer?

In the ever-evolving business landscape, six CEOs and a CFO share their firsthand experiences on making strategic pivots. From adapting to recruitment challenges to expanding services to meet client needs, these leaders recount how they navigated the complexities of shifting their business strategies. Dive into their insights to learn how to manage such transitions effectively.

  • Adapting to Recruitment Challenges
  • Navigating Digital Market Shifts
  • Automating for Sustainable Growth
  • Reorienting Product Strategy Successfully
  • Pivoting from Growth to Retention
  • Expanding Services for Client Needs

Adapting to Recruitment Challenges

COVID-19 was a boon for recruiters who saw turnovers increase and hiring explode. But it wasn't easy to match demand. Qualified candidates were hard to come by, and, finally in possession of the upper hand, many refused to take work that wasn't high-paying and remote.

At Redfish Technology, I knew we had to pivot. Typically, we don't handle internal promotions, but with a dearth of outside options, I quickly became an expert, developing a protocol that helped my clients identify leaders within their organization. My sourcing team adapted as well, building potential applicant lists from payroll instead of LinkedIn.

Now that the pandemic has waned, we continue to offer these services, and internal promotions are a big part of what we do.

It was a good lesson in opening a window when a door closes.

Rob Reeves
Rob ReevesCEO and President, Redfish Technology

Navigating Digital Market Shifts

Imagine you're sailing a ship named 'Strategy,' and suddenly, a storm named 'Market Shift' appears out of nowhere. At GNC & Rue21, we faced a similar tempest when consumer preferences shifted faster than a TikTok trend. Our strategy to pivot? We swiftly turned the ship toward online sales, revamping our digital presence faster than you can say 'SEO.' By focusing on e-commerce and digital marketing, we not only weathered the storm but also found ourselves riding a new wave of customer engagement and sales growth. So, when the winds of change blow, grab your compass, adjust your sails, and embrace the adventure—it might just lead you to uncharted success!

Josh Burris
Josh BurrisCEO, STNDRD

Automating for Sustainable Growth

One of the most significant pivots in our business strategy came when we realized our manual approach to marketing, lead generation, and sales was becoming unsustainable. Initially, everything we did was hands-on. While it was working, it was incredibly time-consuming and unpredictable.

We found ourselves on a constant hamster wheel, juggling marketing, lead generation, and sales tasks.

The core issue was that our time was finite, and we had become the bottleneck in our own business. As a small team, we were attempting to market and sell full-time while simultaneously trying to deliver high-quality service to our clients. This approach was not only exhausting but also limited our growth potential.

We recognized the need to streamline our operations and made a strategic decision to turn our marketing, lead generation, and sales processes into an automated machine that could work 24/7 for us. This meant implementing systems and tools that could continue generating leads and nurturing prospects even when we were out of the office or deeply engaged in client work.

The transition wasn't without its challenges. It required a significant upfront investment of time and resources to set up these automated systems. We had to carefully analyze our existing processes, identify areas for automation, and implement new technologies. This included setting up email marketing sequences, creating evergreen content, and developing a robust CRM system to manage our leads and client relationships.

We also had to retrain our team and shift our mindset from a reactive, manual approach to a more strategic, systems-oriented one. This involved some trial and error as we fine-tuned our new processes.

However, the results of this pivot have been insane. We've been able to scale our business predictably and sustainably, without the burnout we were experiencing before. Our marketing efforts now generate leads consistently, our sales pipeline is more stable, and we have more time to focus on delivering exceptional service to our clients.

This strategic shift has not only improved our work-life balance but has also positioned us for long-term growth. We're now able to take on more clients without sacrificing quality, and we have the capacity to explore new opportunities for business development.

Michelle Merz
Michelle MerzMarketing Consultant, Slantics

Reorienting Product Strategy Successfully

Pivoting a business strategy is like trying to turn a cruise ship around—slow and nerve-wracking, but sometimes necessary. At WUDN, we initially focused on high-end, handcrafted wood products, but we noticed a growing demand for customizable, everyday items. It felt like being a master chef suddenly asked to whip up fast food. So, we shifted gears, introducing personalized phone cases and accessories. The transition was smoother than expected because we involved our team in the decision-making process and kept our customers in the loop. The result? A 50% increase in sales and a whole lot of happy customers. Sometimes, you've got to swap the filet mignon for a gourmet burger to stay ahead!

Phil Laboon
Phil LaboonCEO, Leadstacker

Pivoting from Growth to Retention

During COVID-19, the gym business went from growing drastically to nose-diving within weeks. We shifted our strategy very quickly from growth to customer retention. We created more lenient payment plans, which allowed for renewing customers to delay payment up to 90 days; installment payments could be delayed with no penalty, and new customers could also purchase insurance with no payment for 90 days. We invested heavily in doing the right thing for our customers, and we were rewarded when gyms opened again with a 30% growth. We believe in doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.

Eric Reingen
Eric ReingenCFO and Owner, Nexo Insurance

Expanding Services for Client Needs

When I owned a management consulting firm with the Federal Government as the main client, I had to evolve the business as the client's needs evolved. The firm started as a commercial real estate advisory firm. As I did more work in public/private partnerships and portfolio strategy, I realized that many clients needed to promote opportunities, programs, and properties, so I added marketing/outreach as a service line. As I realized that the policies, procedures, strategy, structure, and operations were not aligned with the mission, I added management consulting to round out the life cycle of work we were performing. This allowed my firm to work on broader issues and have a more complete perspective on the clients' businesses.

Libby KavoulakisBusiness Strategist, Pivot-Transformational Business Coaching

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