Peter Radizeski is Founder and President of RAD-INFO INC. He is an accomplished blogalyst, speaker, author and consultant. He has helped many service providers with sales training, marketing, channel development and business strategy. He is a trusted source of knowledge about the telecom sector. His honest and direct approach make him a refreshing speaker.

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Why Pivot?

In business, a pivot is a strategy change (especially in Lean Startup processes). When you look at brick-and-mortar companies like RadioShack, Sears/K-Mart, there have been strategy changes but not really what I would call a pivot – or even a course correction. The pivot for B&N was going digital with the Nook (right or wrong it was a pivot). Plaxo pivoted (out of extinction) when it added Pulse.

LinkedIn has pivoted from just a rolodex to networking to a recruiters paradise (and a noisy platform of useless activity). I think LI pivoted a lot to chase revenue and the IPO. It’s focus isn’t users (but then what platform is focused on USERS?). It’s customer is the recruiter or advertisers or power user. The users are just wheat to make bread.

LUMOS is pivoting to chase its best revenue stream: Fiber to the tower. Smart. Let’s hope they execute well.

Some Hosted VoIP providers do a mini-pivot by adding a wholesale or white-label offering. There are reasons for it – like the under-utilized technology** and the unused licenses (that they are still paying for). There are reasons against it – misdirection of focus from the main revenue stream and the fact that white-label takes more time and energy to get results than direct sales.

** Leveraging under-utilized technology is how Amazon started AWS and S3.

Cable companies pivoted when they went after fiber to the tower also. And when they decided to chase bigger businesses by offering fiber in place of coax. That pivot worked for a number of reasons not the least of which is that they created separate divisions to just focus on these sectors siloed from the residential division.

I think Sprint’s pivot to be a cellular company was smart but the execution was horrible. Spinning off Embarq, then trashing the Nextel brand was capped off with laying revenue waste to a fiber network that built the brand originally. Lots of missed opportunity at Sprint. (Can’t understand why Dan Hesse is still CEO. -shaking my head- ).

Cellular South Inc. renamed as C Spire Wireless with HQ in Ridgeland, Mississippi, is the 8th largest cellco in the US. They pivoted to FTTH in Mississippi (following Google Fiber’s strategy almost to a T) and acquired Callis for Hosted VoIP service.

When you look at the rural ILECs – Windstream, CinBell, CenturyLink and TDS – there have been a similar look to each of their strategies. Windstream was created through the spinoff of Alltel’s landline business and merger with VALOR Communications Group. Landline focus like the other 3 but all 4 have CLEC operations and then went after acquiring data centers (and cloud services providers).

tompeters-re-imagine.jpg

Some VoIP providers, some VARs, some Agents are going to need to re-think their strategy and RE-IMAGINE how they will make a living in the next couple of years. (That pivot may be an exit, a merger or a shift in strategy.) Need help (like a mental kick)? Here is Tom Peters’ RE-IMAGINE video on YouTube.

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