SOMETIMES, TAKING your business to the next
level requires a complete overhaul of your business
model, core offerings or larger value proposition:
that is, a full-scale pivot.
Pivoting—retooling a company in response
to real-time market information—has become
increasingly common in the past decade, thanks
to the rise of innovative data tools. With summer
in full swing, here are some reasons it may be the
best season for making a pivot.
A cure for the summer slump
Many businesses in the U.S. and abroad report
a decrease in overall production. For example, a
survey published last year by Sandler Training—a
UK-based sales, management and leadership
organization—found that more than two-thirds
of polled small-business owners anticipated a dip
in productivity from June through September.
A slowdown may be vital for making the big
transformation your business demands: You can
focus your attention on overseeing larger plans.
This shift in focus can also offer new chal-
You’re halfway there
lenges to employees who may be struggling with
the summer slump, creating a win for both your
customers and your team.
With six months do wn and six months to go,
July is an ideal time to reflect on annual milestones and evaluate performance.
Revisit your annual goals—or craft a few, if
you’ve yet to do so—and assess whether you’re on
the right path. With the year half over, this may
be your last chance to take meaningful action in
the right direction.
Unique seasonal advantages
Orchestrating a successful pivot is complex
and requires a capable team and a steady stream
of customer feedback—two components that can
be easier to procure in the summer.
If you need extra manpo wer, you can tap into
the large pool of college students looking for
seasonal work. It’s the perfect way to offset short-term staffing challenges while gaining critical
insights that will help take your business to the
next level. C
Mastering the pivot
BY SONYA STINSON
FOR A TEAM-building retreat in San Diego,
event planner Yvonne Szikla arranged for
a group from a Midwest financial services
firm to tour a replica of the ;;th-century
ship for which the America’s Cup sailing
competition was named. Afterward, they
held their own sailboat race. The unusual
experience and setting made for a productive getaway.
“Doing something completely different
that they would never do at home opened up
their creativity and ability to connect,” says
demographics of the staff who will be
attending the retreat, advises Szikla, who
is a Costco member. A group of millennial
software developers will have different
interests than a group of middle-aged cor-
porate executives. For instance, the active
younger set may not be impressed by a
retreat at a luxury resort spa.
“On the other hand, for a group of executive women who are stressed out by a
high-paced job, that might just be the ticket
they need to unplug,” Szikla says.
If you are planning an out-of-town
retreat, you’ll need to consider the geographic accessibility of your options, which
can affect both attendance and your budget,
says Costco member Sally Webb Berry, CEO
of The Special Event Company (special
eventco.com) in Cary, North Carolina. One
way to save money is to choose a hotel that
offers group benefits. These can include a
free room for a certain number of bookings,
price breaks on food and beverages, free
Wi-Fi, free parking, and reduced or waived
resort fees. Even small groups are usually
entitled to these perks.
“People think that you’ve got to be a big
group to negotiate, but most hotels and
other venues are built on lots of small bookings,” Berry says. C
Sonya Stinson is a New Orleans–based
writer who covers business, careers and
Retreat to move forward
Szikla, president of Events with a Purpose
in San Diego ( eventswithapurpose.com).
The ideal site for a small-business retreat
depends a great deal on the purpose of the
gathering, your company culture and your
budget. A lakeside conference center might
be just the place to reflect on the past year’s
successes and shortfalls and to brainstorm
new strategies for going forward. To celebrate a new product launch, a sports venue
or an elegant art gallery might be a good pick.
Make sure your site choice fits the
FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Michael Parrish DuDell’s
new book, Shark Tank
Secrets to Success (
Kings-well; not available at Costco),
was released in May ;;;;.
MORE IN ARCHIVES
search “Michael Parrish DuDell.”