3 tips to successfully pivot your business: Insights from MUNCH:ON

The global pandemic has shown just how resilient startups and entrepreneurs are and can be. The unique ability of startups to quickly adapt in response to the world around them, during such a climate, gives them an edge over more established competitors who may not be able to adapt so quickly. Of course, not all startups may be successful in utilizing this unique trait, but those that do, have been able to hold on during such an ‘unprecedented’ time. 

At MUNCH:ON, one of Dubai’s local foodtech startups, we managed to pivot our entire business model, including going through a name change, in order to continue serving customers during the pandemic. Here are 3 top tips, based on our experience, on how to successfully pivot a business, whether that may be during a worldwide pandemic or if your business model is simply not working:

1. Be agile and adapt

When the world changes, businesses need to change with it in order to stay relevant to their customers. Adaptation needs to be quick, seamless, and in direct response to the changing environment. MUNCH:ON, before the pandemic, was a food-at-work delivery service, only delivering meals to corporate offices. When offices began to shut down and people started to work from home, customers were no longer able to use MUNCH:ON. Within 10 days, the team worked out the logistics of delivering to residential areas, still utilizing the bulk delivery model which cuts meal costs and eliminates delivery fees, added the home delivery feature to the product, and started marketing the ability to now serve customers in their homes. The ability to be agile and adapt quickly is what will put you ahead of your competitors and keep your customers happy.

2. Research, analyze, adjust

The adaption doesn’t stop at the pivot. In order to serve your customers' needs, you need to continually research, analyze, and adjust. MUNCH:ON studied the ordering habits of users through speaking directly with customers, sending out surveys, and analyzing their data. We used this information to adapt and expand products in order to meet customers' new needs and habits. For example, people wanted to order later when working from home, as their schedules had changed. MUNCH:ON, in response to this information, extended ordering cut off time to accommodate this change in habit. We also saw the demand for groceries increase in the region as people started to cook at home and avoid going out. MUNCH:ON, in response, added grocery boxes to the menu, opening up another stream of revenue while also directly addressing customers’ needs. MUNCH:ON continues to expand to serve new residential areas where there is a demand and is continuously testing new products and features in order to create the best experience as users' needs grow and change. The pivot adaptation doesn’t stop, it just becomes more refined.

3. Company culture

Startups generally have small and efficient teams where employees often wear multiple hats. During a global pandemic and a pivot in business (all while working remotely from each other), the company culture needs to be strong and supportive.

Having a trusted team and a strong company culture, based around support and trust, we were able to work together, across continents and time zones, to pull off a pivot that has reshaped the business and kept us serving customers as the world changed. The team banded together to work on these changes and support each other however they could in order to make the pivot a fast and successful one. MUNCH:ON, like many startups, prides itself in its ability to innovate, hack complicated problems, brainstorm, and think outside of the box. These are skills that are essential for a successful pivot, and that begins with having a company culture that supports those ideas and provides a space where these ideas can be expressed and implemented.

Pivoting a business is not an easy feat, nor is there a one-size-fits-all solution or structure to follow, but being agile, continuing to research and adapt with a focus on your customer/business needs and having a strong company culture will put you in a good position, when and if you ever need to pivot your business successfully.

Despite a rocky first half of the year, Saudi Arabia’s startup funding increased by 102% from H1 2019 to H1 2020, with H1 2020 already surpassing full-year 2019 by the amount of funding. Discover more data by downloading our FREE H1 2020 Saudi Arabia Venture Capital Snapshot.

هذا التقرير متوفّر أيضاً باللغة العربية على الرابط التالي: تقرير الاستثمار الجريء في المملكة العربية السعودية في النصف الأول من عام ٢٠٢٠