It’s a tough reality for businesses and inventors. We’re under enormous amounts of pressure to innovate and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. At Mako Design, we want to strengthen the front line by helping the healthcare industry. Last May, we partnered with 3DPPGTHA to help keep our essential workers and health care workers safe. In our community, invention makers in Canada and the US pivot by creating new products. Similarly, Canadian businesses pivot to streamline how they service customers.
A pivot means upending your business or product to rapidly meet the changing needs of your customers. The purpose of pivoting is twofold: short-term survival along with long-term resilience and growth.
Here are some tips to help businesses and invention makers pivot successfully.
Invention Makers in Canada Pivot to Meet Changing Circumstances and Needs
To pivot, a good business owner starts by evaluating current and future circumstances and customer needs.
For example, this pandemic altered our buying habits and how we interact with one another. Think critically about how your product may be affected by social distancing or what happens to your supply chain.
Recently, the most common way businesses pivot is by offering curbside pickup or contactless delivery. This helps ensure people safely get what they need while businesses meet the necessary COVID-19 requirements.
In addition, we see businesses and invention makers in Canada pivot by streamlining their product line. Italpasta in Ontario limited their production from 63 types of pasta to their six most popular ones. During a pandemic, we tend to be a little less picky about our purchases. We care about availability more than variety. At Italipasta, changing a pasta press mould would normally take three hours. By streamlining production, they can increase output to match the increase in customer demand.
Pivots Should Align with Your Business Strategy
Other ways businesses and invention makers in Canada and the US pivot is by re-evaluating the key selling points their your product or idea.
Now ask yourself this.
Are your key selling points still in fact selling points during this pandemic?
Let’s take a look at Airbnb. One of their key selling points is helping travellers find affordable alternatives to hotels.
Sounds great pre-COVID, not so much right now.
How did Airbnb pivot? Today, Airbnb is still helping travellers, albeit virtually. Through Airbnb’s Online Experiences, hosts can offer online activities to curious would-be tourists. As a long-term strategy, Airbnb is a step closer towards becoming an all-in-one travel platform. In the future, users could use Airbnb to participate in new experiences while arranging for a place to stay.
When businesses and invention makers in Canada pivot, they should ensure their product changes align with their long-term objectives.
Another good example is Bauer’s approach to this pandemic. As a leading protective hockey equipment manufacturer, they saw the opportunity to take their expertise beyond the rink.
One of Bauer’s bestsellers is their high-performance visor. These visors help protect a skater’s face from errant pucks and sticks. In 2020, Bauer pivoted their factories to start making medical-grade face shields using the same components as their visors. This achieves two important things. First is the social benefit – Bauer is directly helping protect our critical frontline workers. However, there is also a strategic benefit. By diversifying their product line, Bauer moves towards a direction to establish their brand as a leader in protective equipment both on and off the ice.
In short, businesses and invention makers in Canada pivot generally as a last resort. It’s seen as a tactic to breathe new life into their product or service.
Keep in mind, however, there’s no guarantee pivoting will yield blockbuster results. Yet, it’s a necessary tactic to keep in your toolkit.
Because a business that doesn’t pivot when it needs to might just follow the same downhill path as Blockbuster.
MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to small businesses, startups, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry’s leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Feel free to Contact Us anytime for help with your project.