To Pivot or Not to Pivot: What Moves Do You Need to Make Right Now?

Jun 24, 2020

The path from having a new product idea to full market adoption has never been straightforward. At its core, the innovation process is always iterative and agile. It takes lots of real-world testing and rapid adjustments to reach product-market fit and build a profitable business.

One challenge for digital health leaders is the continuous change in market conditions that can complicate the path to adoption. At any given time, consumer behavior can change, mergers and acquisitions can happen, and new competitors can enter the market. These changing market dynamics have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s likely that you’ll need to take action in some way to stay relevant, profitable, and viable. But first, you need to examine your current strategies, be clear on how patient and provider needs and priorities have changed, and plot several pivot paths you could take to identify your winning strategy. 

Consider these strategies as you navigate this unprecedented (and crazy!) landscape.

Big pivot, little pivot — Gain some perspective and clarity

There’s more opportunity than ever, especially for those in connected health, as regulatory and reimbursement rules change. We’ve witnessed record-breaking adoption of telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and other connected health technology in a matter of months.

At the same time, it’s also more difficult than ever to break through the noise, gain and keep the attention of target buyers, and know what moves you need to make to get your innovation in the hands of the people who need them the most.

For some innovators, big pivots are necessary to survive and thrive in the new economy. For others, small pivots in sales and marketing strategies are required. And a small few might not need to change anything. 

So how can you know the best moves to make?

Beware of “shiny opportunity syndrome”

During these extremely volatile market conditions, it can be challenging to decipher between what changes are temporary and what’s here for good. With the telehealth boom, it can be tempting to drop your original idea and pivot to building a telemedicine company. 

One way to make sure you don’t get distracted by the next shiny opportunity is to be clear on your vision, purpose, and core beliefs. These should not change. You want to be stubborn in your vision but flexible in how you get there. Use these elements to evaluate opportunities and guide your pivot strategy. 

Evaluate all of your pivot opportunities

You may be tempted to pivot one area of your business and quickly charge ahead. Before you do, make sure you don’t leave pivot opportunities on the table. Examine these seven categories, or what I call “pivot lenses,” to determine all the moves you need to make.

  1. Finances. Can you stay afloat with your current runway? Are there new opportunities to cut your operating costs or generate funding?
  2. Operations. You need to “go virtual” to stay competitive — what’s your long-term game plan to make sure everything runs smoothly?
  3. Leadership. It’s an understatement to say we’re all stressed. Are you giving your team support and guidance that energizes and inspires them?
  4. Market strategy. Deep-dive into things like market positioning, strategic partnerships, and the perceived value of your innovation.
  5. Marketing. Do you need to change how you present your innovation to your market? This includes messaging, branding, communication, and the like.
  6. Sales. No more boots on the ground, in-person meetings, or networking events and conferences. How will you make sales now?
  7. Product. Should you tweak or add functionality to your product — without straying too far from your original?

The next step for innovators: Join our market strategy webinar

Are you struggling to decide what moves you should make to take your innovation from an idea to full market adoption? It’s possible to seize new opportunities without sacrificing your vision. 

Join John Sharp, PCHA’s Director of Thought Advisory, and me, Dr. Roxie Mooney, for an exclusive webinar on June 26: “Spin Crisis into Success: How to Evolve Your Healthcare Startup Beyond COVID-19.”

Register here to claim your spot. We hope to see you there.