Pivot – the new buzz word!

Business to business support is vital today: for many of us it has become the lifeblood of our existence. That referral, introduction or the welcome conversation with another business leader going through the same kind of experience as we are has become a vital part of our working week. Checking in with another is a way of checking in with ourselves – are we doing okay, have we given our business the best possible way forward to not only survive, but to flourish and grow? It is also the way we can pick up new ideas, challenge our thinking and help to steer us in the right direction.

Many businesses (start-ups, SMEs and multi-nationals) have embraced the opportunity to learn and discover new ways of communicating safely and effectively which has opened doors for many people – home working has never been so productive, or seen so many businesses being launched from the kitchen or dining room table! Being able to video call colleagues and clients has not only kept businesses running, it has been an encouragement to make some rather significant changes in our operational and strategic thinking.

So what does this mean for your personal development and your business strategy moving forward? Like other businesses, we have enjoyed the new challenges of using technology to deliver training, coaching and mentoring to our existing clients, enjoyed networking from the comfort of our homes and developed contacts through new mediums which 9 months ago seemed alien and impossible. Adapting to these obstacles has helped businesses become stronger and opened doors in a new way – ‘pivot’ has become the buzzword of 2020!

A quick google search reveals that in the US, and for basketball in particular, ‘pivot’ means a movement in which the player holding the ball may move in any direction with one foot, while keeping the other (the pivot foot) in contact with the floor’. This is interesting for our thinking about running a business and our strategy development – particularly now. We are ensuring that our current customers are happy – which is our foot in contact with the floor – as well as having a representational ‘foot’ mid-air moving forward – like the basketball player about to move in the requisite direction to get the best possible chance of passing the ball to enable the team to win. For growth, we need our ‘pivot foot’, our current customer base, to help us grow.

We all know it is vitally important to look after our existing customers. Remembering to thank them for their business, asking how we could help them further, add value, building professional relationships and offering solutions to solve problems is at the heart of good business. Is it a good time to reflect on how we could do that business better?

That question, and many like it, forms part of our strategic thinking and planning. Strategy includes the now and the future. For many leaders that combination of excelling with our existing customers and looking for new markets or new products has been directed by external events this year. Some have taken this as a unique opportunity to really look at what they do.

The basketball player’s foot in the air, enabling him or her to move in another direction happens more successfully when they have a strategy – built on the foundations of learning and experience. As we know, that takes the investment of time – for thinking and planning – to get it right. Pausing to reflect on that strategy, particularly in times of change, is hugely important.

That brings us back to the power of networking and our relationships with our peers and colleagues. Our strategy follows our business vision or mission – those words we use to describe what we do, our purpose, to another, as we do when we network. Simplified, it provides a framework for our day-to-day decision making and the basis for our strategy and subsequently our investment in our personal development.

We all want to get the ball in the hoop. Let’s use the basketball analogy as a catalyst for our business growth this year to plan our strategy for excelling with our existing customers and finding new ones.

Rachel Mallows MBE
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Rachel Mallows MBE

Rachel Mallows MBE is a Northamptonshire businesswoman with over 30 years' experience in delivering training, coaching, mentoring and business support. Rachel is the founder and Managing Director of The Mallows Company Limited, a Bozeat based business with a regional remit, providing careers guidance to adults and in schools; training, mentoring, project management and consultancy to SMEs and larger businesses of all sectors. Rachel was awarded the MBE for her services to Business and Entrepreneurship in the Queen's 90th Birthday Honours List in 2016 and was made a Deputy Lieutenant for Northamptonshire in the same year.