COVID-19: Pivoting with Purpose
For the last several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting and often devastating impact on business owners. However, more states are allowing more businesses to re-open to some degree. Whether you are an innovator, entrepreneur, startup, or established business, it is imperative that you pivot and reassess your business model or intellectual property strategy to remain relevant and successful in the “new normal.”
Consider these 4 strategies to help you “Pivot with Purpose” during the pandemic, especially as consumer and market needs continue to shift.
1. Manage Cash Flow
“Cash is King”, but money is tight. While it may be easier said than done, managing your expenses is key to business survival and long-term growth. Evaluate your resources, review your business contracts, and determine how you can reduce losses to run your business more efficiently. You have to move forward, but with purpose and caution. Identify, then eliminate, unnecessary expenses, outsource non-core competencies, and use the extra money to invest and grow in your business.
Do you have an invention that needs to be patented? Consider filing a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application can be a very useful avenue for inventors who wish to secure a patent application filing date but avoid the initial costs and fees associated with filing a full non-provisional. A provisional patent application is a temporary application that lasts 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed.
2. Look for Opportunities to Market Your Business or Invention
Social distancing is the primary preventative measure employed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, if your business sales previously relied on bricks-and-mortar stores or face-to-face meetings, or if marketing your invention relied on trade shows or events then it is time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy. There are several marketing resources available that can help you pivot your marketing strategy during a pandemic.
- Utilize social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok to interact with your key audience and post about your products or services. Hands down, one of the fastest ways to gain the attention of your target audience is through social media. As more people remain home, the everyday use of social media has increased. Businesses who take advantage of the increase in social media use will undoubtedly see an increase in the exposure of their brand, product, or service.
- Tradeshows have been known to help inventors gain exposure and consumer interest for patented inventions. With social distancing measures, it can be challenging to get an invention in front of people who may use it or companies who may buy the patent rights from you. To pivot, use platforms such as Cypris to sell, license, or market your patented product.
- When was the last time you sent a client a personalized email? Studies show that the use of personalized text messages or emails can help generate six times more revenue. Follow up with your clients and offer reduced sales prices. Maintaining customer loyalty and product/service quality, even if at a reduced rate, will help your business survive the pandemic.
- Consumer satisfaction plays an important role in the success of nearly every business. One technique that has proven efficient in marketing is consumer reviews because it validates the legitimacy of your business and the value of your product or service. Diversify your use of review platforms (Google vs. Amazon or Facebook vs. Yelp) so that consumers can have a well-rounded impression of your business and client interactions.
3. Rethink Your Business Strategy
In the midst of a pandemic, everyone has to think quickly about the future of their business and shift to accommodate the changes to the economy. It is not enough to just “adapt to the new normal.” Rather, the pivot must be intentional and creative. Expand your business operations to meet new demands, enter a new market, pivot your client engagement from face-to-face interactions to virtual encounters, or rethink staff management and internal communications. Regardless of whether you are a one-person startup company or a global corporation, you will need to rethink your business priorities and pivot with purpose.
4. Embrace Technology
The new normal of a COVID-19 influenced world is also the reality of the professional world. At the heart of that influence is the use of technology to adapt to life during a pandemic. With lockdowns and other social distancing measures in effect, and with more people relying on online platforms for information and advice, people and businesses are being urged to use digital technologies to share information and interact with their target audience. Whether you have incorporated software such as Calendly or Acuity so clients can easily book virtual appointments, or if you use Zoom to offer webinars or face-to-face presentations, technology can help you maintain contact with your consumers.
Social distancing measures resulted in the transition to remote working. Although remote working can limit the creative interactions between team members, technology can also help your team stay connected. Tools such as Slack, Asana, Trello, and Jira can facilitate team communication, collaboration, and task management.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” —Charles Darwin.
Tips for Small Business Owners
Small businesses have been uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to implementing tactics to manage cash flows, explore new marketing opportunities, rethink business strategies, or incorporating new technology, here are a few tips that can benefit small business owners.
- Make your mission bigger than your product and be willing to help others
- Don’t be afraid to start over after a pitfall, even if it’s in an entirely new direction
- Prioritize people – put your employees and customers first
- Nail down your story so that your audience can understand where you’ve been and what you’re doing
- Create a memorable customer experience to achieve long term success
Embrace the pivot and do it with purpose! Focus on what you can control and ignore what is out of your control. The attorneys at IPS Legal Group, P.A. can help you navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact us today to discuss your unique needs.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice or instruction. Every legal question calls for a different legal answer, and the above might not be applicable to your situation. Contact IPS Legal Group, P.A. today to discuss your unique patent application needs.
Author: Joycelyn S. Brown