Pivoting Your Business for the Coronavirus Economy

“New Way” and “Old Way” signs pointed in opposite directions

So you’ve got a business that’s impacted by the coronavirus economy. Even with PPP loans and other government resources for small businesses, your revenue is suffering and you’re not sure if you can afford to stay in business. But rather than shutting down, should you be thinking of pivoting your business? It could mean the difference between having the pandemic stop you in your tracks or finding a new path through the current crisis. Here’s what you need to know about pivoting.

Pivoting, Explained

Pivoting is more than fine-tuning tactics. Pivoting involves a profound change in strategy. Companies that pivot may, for instance, switch from being a service company to a product manufacturer, or vice versa.

Common reasons for pivoting for startups include the failure of a new offering to gain traction in the market place. Established companies may pivot when they are outflanked by competitors, or rendered obsolescent by technological change.

Until now, few business owners have dealt with an environment as complex as the COVID era. Today, massive health issues and fundamental changes in consumer behaviors are prompting countless companies to simultaneously try to re-invent themselves in the midst of swirling uncertainty.

Principles of Pivoting

Each of the approximately 30 million American businesses is arguably unique in some way, even it if it’s only in regard to its location. That uniqueness means there is no single way to pivot. However, there are some generally agreed-upon

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How business schools can help retool the economy for a post-pandemic world

Business leaders are at the forefront of the war against Covid-19, fighting to keep their businesses viable until they receive a green light to open their doors once again. Many have neither the time nor the bandwidth to plan for the “day after”—when they will finally be able to serve their customers without risking the spread of infectious disease. Surviving today must take precedent over building a business model for tomorrow.

In an environment of uncertainty, business schools have a unique opportunity to fill in the gaps and help businesses evolve to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world. In particular, they should focus on serving three industries that have experienced severe disruption in the medium and long term.


The tourism industry has sustained serious losses with no end to the bleeding in sight. The UN World Tourism Organization estimates that global international tourist arrivals could decline between 20% and 30% in 2020.

How can business schools help?

In addition to offering a graduate degree in hospitality management, the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University has developed a collection of webinars, research articles, and other resources geared toward helping hotel managers implement best practices during the crisis. If business schools aim to help the tourism industry regain strength, they must continue to leverage their resources to educate businesses and prepare students for the challenge of rebuilding the industry.


The mass transportation industry also provides business schools with a clear opportunity to add value. In a time when

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