Transforming Challenges into Opportunities: The Power of Pivoting in the Face of Negative News

With the world's attention so focused on the negative news happening in our communities and abroad, it can be difficult to think of a time where it might be beneficial for your company to experience some negativity. 

By reading the examples and stories in this article, I hope you will be better equipped to take any seemingly bad news like the man in the Chinese story, by stating “Good news or bad news, can’t say yet.” - and finding out what the news has to offer for your business.

For example, There can't possibly be anything positive with all the saber-rattling and gloom talks of how the pandemic affected the global supply chain. But what if that global negativity could have a positive effect on your company? Find out more in this article!

Our attention is often drawn to negative events, and it can be challenging to see how these adversities affecting our business or industry could benefit us. In this article, I hope to give you insights on how to deal effectively with negative news coverage for the benefit of your business. Just like the man in the Chinese story who famously said, "Good news or bad news, you can't tell yet." 

This article explores the possibility that many widespread challenges can often bring unique opportunities to your business. 

Read on to find out how to uncover the potential opportunities hidden in seemingly unfavorable events.

Negative News: Why It Happens

No company is perfect, and sooner or later, every business will face some form of negative press. It could be a scathing review from a customer, a story about layoffs in the local news, or even something as small as a negative comment on social media. At the same time, most of the negative externalities are inevitable and beyond the control of your company.

Even if the news wasn’t about your company specifically, but about the industry you work in, the news can seem devastating, like in the story of Lifix Systems further below. 

Let’s examine how we can uncover opportunities in the context of adversity. Negative news publicity about your company first, and then dive into broader industry-shaking news.

While it's never fun to deal with negative publicity, it can be an opportunity for your company to pivot and become even more successful. Here's how:

When Relating to your company:

1. It forces you to take a good, hard look at your business

When dealing with negative press, it's essential to take a step back and examine your business objectively. What are the areas that need improvement? Are there any changes you can make to address the issues that were raised? 

2. It raises more awareness of your customers' needs and wants

Negative press can be a wake-up call that makes you more aware of what your customers really want and need from your business. It can also help you understand where your business might be falling short.

3. It allows you to make changes

If the negative press has exposed some flaws in your business, it's an opportunity to make changes and improve things for a better user experience and consequently improved revenue and customer satisfaction with your products/services.

Similarly, negative news may indicate some shortfalls in the industry that you can position your company to fill. In many ways corporate innovation is a byproduct of something that previously did not work and a product of entrepreneurial thinking, a necessary element for any company - big or small.

How to Use Negative News To Pivot Successfully

Here's how you can use negative news and circumstances to your advantage and pivot your company successfully:

1. Acknowledge the bad news

The first step to dealing with a situation is accepting that there is a problem. Denial will only worsen matters while acknowledging the problem positions your company as trustworthy to your target market.

2. Analyze the cause of the problem

Once you've accepted that there is a problem, it's time to figure out what caused it. This step is crucial to making the necessary changes to prevent the problem from happening again.

If the problem is external, you can determine how your company can find solutions; and, in the long run, carve a niche for your company as the ideal solutions provider for that particular problem.

3. Communicate with your team

Your team should be aware of the situation and be on board with your plan to fix it. Proper communication will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.

4. Make a plan to fix the problem

Now it's time to put together a plan of action to fix the problem. This plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

5. Take action and implement the plan.

Implement all the strategies designed to help pivot your company. Analyze the results and progress over time, and make necessary adjustments along the way to ensure you achieve your company's goals.

The Benefits of Pivoting

Change is inevitable. Companies have to be prepared to pivot to stay ahead of the competition, whether it's due to market conditions, new technologies, or simply evolving customer needs. While this is a daunting task, it can also lead to new opportunities for growth and success.

One of the key benefits of pivoting is that it allows you to capitalize on new opportunities. For instance, if your competitor goes out of business, you may be able to fill the void they leave in the market quickly. Or, if a new technology emerges that could benefit your business, pivoting allows you to embrace it and gain a competitive advantage.

Pivoting can also help you to improve your existing products and services. By constantly evaluating your business and making necessary changes, you can ensure that your offerings are always up-to-date and relevant to your target audience. This can help you to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Finally, pivoting can help you to boost your bottom line. You can maximize your profits and position yourself for long-term success by making strategic changes for example to your business model.

Despite the numerous challenges that come with pivoting, there is a silver lining to it, as seen in the case of companies that took the initiative to pivot at the right time.

Examples of Successful Pivots

In today's market business world, it's more important than ever to pivot quickly and efficiently to stay ahead of the curve. But what does it mean to pivot, and how can you do it successfully?

Pivoting means changing direction in response to new information or circumstances. This might mean changing your product, your target market, your marketing strategy, your business model, or anything else that isn't working well with your business.

The key to successful pivoting is to ensure that you're constantly evaluating your company's performance and looking for areas that need improvement. When something isn't working out, you can quickly identify the problem and make the necessary changes.

Lifix Systems is an excellent example of a company that pivoted successfully in response to negative and uncertain times. 

Founded in 1998, Lifix was one of the pioneers that capitalized on the emerging WiFi technology. Three years later, the novel WiFi technology suffered a massive security breach, the 911 attack happened, and the dot com tech bubble burst.

These events made investors overly cautious with their money, reducing the necessary capital needed to develop this new technology further. It also caused another problem; companies could not trust WiFi with their data. 

Luckily, Lifix Systems saw the opportunity to leverage this new opportunity and partnered with Secgo to create a unique solution heavy on data security and mobility. By merging Lifix’ and Secgo’s products and organizations, it was able to pivot to a new product category, while similar organizations stumbled in the wake of the negative effects at the time.


Negative news, often seen as detrimental to a company's reputation and growth, can paradoxically serve as a catalyst for significant positive change and innovation. Companies can leverage adverse situations to pivot successfully towards improved business models, enhanced customer satisfaction, and increased revenue. 

  • Negative publicity, while challenging, presents an opportunity for introspection and improvement, urging companies to critically examine their operations, understand customer needs more deeply, and implement necessary changes. 
  • Successful pivoting involves acknowledging the issue, analyzing its cause, communicating effectively with the team, devising a SMART action plan, and executing it diligently. 
  • Pivoting enables companies to seize new opportunities, update and refine their offerings, and ultimately boost their bottom line, demonstrating adaptability and resilience in the face of adversity. 

The importance of a proactive and strategic response to negative news can be leveraged as a springboard for innovation rather than seen as a setback. Ask yourself: Is this a threat or an opportunity? How can we turn this news into an opportunity? Examples like Lifix systems, which successfully pivoted in response to WiFi technology security weaknesses, and the dot com tech bubble burst by partnering with Secgo for a more secure and mobile solution illustrate the benefits of effectively navigating through tough times. This approach not only helps companies survive but thrive, turning challenges into opportunities for growth and success.

Is it good news or bad news? Time - and most importantly your actions - will tell.