Five Ways for Your Firm to Pivot – In a Pandemic, Or Anytime

Ed Wenck | Jun 10, 2020

Peter_Aylett 450Peter Aylett wants to define the word pivot right up front.

“I’m talking about a change in strategy – not a change in vision,” he says. “I’m not talking about turning your integration business into a shoe shop.”

Aylett – with the help of CEDIA’s Vice President of Education and Training Samantha Ventura and long-time volunteer Mike Maniscaclo (Pytheas) – is presenting a webinar entitled “The Top Five Pivot Opportunities for Integrators.” According to Aylett’s description, “The reality of the current lockdown period is that regardless of creativity, innovation, and tactics, most companies in most regions are not currently able to do business. But now is the perfect time to pivot on strategy, rethink opportunities, and come out of the other end of this crisis as a stronger company able to embrace new opportunities.”

You can find the webinar in full below, but to whet your appetite:

First, Consider This

Aylett maps out the building blocks that you’ll need, the foundations he’s found that create the proper stable foot as one’s other foot moves, to put it in basketball terms. Aylett’s long career as an integrator (now with the firm HTE) and involvement with CEDIA (he’s currently on the Board of Directors) has given him a bank of knowledge from which to draw.

“You’ve got to be human-centric,” says Aylett, meaning that you must be customer-focused, not product focused. “How does what you do make their lives/building better?” Furthermore, you’ve got to be brutally honest about your skillsets – do you have the resources and the knowledge to deliver that intended result? And you’ve got to know your brand: Not your logo, not your email signature, not your tag line, your brand. According to Aylett, “Your brand isn’t what you think of your company – it’s what everyone else thinks of your company.”

The vision for what you want to attempt is important – can you undertake a trial run? Can you “try cheap and fail cheap?” And maybe most importantly, are you unafraid of change – and, as Samantha Ventura points out, can you communicate to your team effectively as to why and how this change must occur?

The Specifics

Aylett’s five ideas – in no particular order:

Simulation rooms. Lockdowns have sent golfers inside. Biking machines that can present the rider virtual types of terrain and inclines are selling like crazy. E-sports are getting bigger. Imagine a room that can do all of that – then transition with audio and video to a meditative space perfect for yoga.

High-performance office. Sure, robust networking is critical (more on that in a moment). But in a day full of Zoom meetings, great acoustics really help. Sound isolation, too. Lighting is important: Bio-adaptive, task-based illumination can make the day much more bearable. And reliable power – with backup systems – is not to be overlooked.

“Home IT Provider.” “Work-from-home has put cybersecurity and reliability at the top of the list for both the remote worker and the employer,” says Mike Maniscaclo. “Why not become the ‘Outsourced Homeworking IT Department’ for the corporate IT dept that’s overwhelmed?” And Maniscalco notes that this could trigger a new revenue model for ongoing service agreements, perhaps paid for by the remote worker’s firm.

Consultative selling. Sell yourself as the trusted adviser. Think about the difference in perception between an “electrician” as opposed to an “electrical engineer designing a system?” Simply put, instead of selling gadgets, get paid for your design and consultancy skills.

Partnering with local companies. What companies might be sympathetic to your desire to build that high-performance office or high-resolution simulation room? Lighting, joinery, furniture, IT support, even flooring? If you start sending business their way, they will likely reciprocate.