“Pivoting” is a term that has been thrown around by entrepreneurs as they try to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. But Jose Magsaysay Jr., founder and chairman emeritus of the food kiosk pioneer Potato Corner, pivoting is not always the solution for crumbling businesses. Potato Corner is a global food franchise known for its flavored french fries.
“You pivot depending on your resources. Look into yourself before you pivot. Am I a player now in this crisis? If I’m not and I don’t have the money to pivot, I will just conserve, stop what I’m doing, and spot trends,” he said during a webinar organized by the Philippine Franchise Association on Thursday.
To those who do have the resources to pivot, Magsaysay reminded them to “stay at your core” as many entrepreneurs tend to blindly follow trends in consumer behavior.
“When you pivot, you have to make sure one foot is on the ground so that you stay in your DNA, you stay at your core. Don’t get out of your core. It would be dangerous if you pivot and use both feet, which means you’re out of your core already, and that be financially very dangerous,” he explained.
“Once you’ve found the critical value that’s causing a trend, whether downwards or upwards, then you’ve found a secret opportunity into what you need to do. Then you pivot,” he said. “If you haven’t found it, you better not pivot because that means you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re just guessing.”
Magsaysay revealed that almost all Potato Corner branches — around 1,400 — in the country were closed after the announcement of the coronavirus-induced quarantine.
He expressed relief that some of their overseas branches are still operational: “That’s how important to diversify internationally is. We still have stores in Indonesia open, we still have stores in Thailand open. So amazing.”
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