As in life, our businesses will never receive advance notice for unforeseen circumstances. They just happen.
Maybe it’s a sudden illness or death in your family. It could be an employee who quits out of the blue. It could be your biggest client who closes shop and no longer needs you.
Over the past two years, we have all been dealing with the effects of a global pandemic. All of our businesses have been affected in some way. Many of us have had to make difficult but necessary decisions in order to keep our doors open. We have had to think creatively about how we can continue operating while keeping ourselves, our teams and our customers safe.
We have had to pivot.
so, what exactly is a pivot in business?
According to this Forbes article, a pivot means fundamentally changing the direction of a business when you realise the current products or services aren’t meeting the needs of the market.
The main goal of a pivot is to help you improve revenue or survive in the market.
Over the past two years, our customers’ needs and attitudes have shifted. In order for your business to remain relevant, especially during uncertain periods like these, you may have to change core parts of it.
You may need to take a different approach with your business model and examine new ways to reach and serve your ideal customers.
Or you may need to change up your customer segment and find new ways to reach the market.
And of course, all change requires you to step out of your comfort zone and look at things from a different perspective.
when is it time to pivot?
A pivot may be necessary if your business is facing the following challenges:
- Customers aren’t responding to your products like you’d expect.
- Your perspective about the industry has changed.
- There is too much competition.
- You can’t see progress even after all efforts within your power.
- Your business growth has become stagnant.
But a big change like a pivot, where you completely disrupt your model and do things drastically differently should only be done as a last resort.
First examine if your existing problems can be solved with more focus and efforts placed on market research, customer development, follow ups, funding or up-skilling yourself and your team.
If you’ve exhausted all of those options already and you’re still not seeing results, then it’s probably time to pivot and shake up business completely. And if this is the path you choose to take, you’ll want to define new objectives and goals that align with the vision of your business.
For example, you’ll want to decide on revenue targets, team structure, customer segments and how your operations will support all that.
a pivot is an opportunity to get creative
As a small business, you are much more flexible than a large organisation. You can make decisions faster and quickly react to challenging times. This is the perfect opportunity to get creative with your business model and find ways to do things differently.
Take some time to understand your ideal customers. Find out who they are and what problems they’re facing now. Then have an open mind about how to solve these problems for them, given the current environment.
Also, identify which aspects of your business model can remain in place and which should be adopted to support your new direction. You’ve already spent so much time, energy and money on building your business. But just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you need to continue to do it like that!
Remember, many businesses will pivot more than once. It’s okay to change course a few times in order to remain relevant!
Don’t be afraid to make changes to things that aren’t working for you any longer. The sooner you make those changes, the sooner you can see different results.
over to you
I’d love to hear from you!
Have you pivoted your business before? If so, what influenced your decision to try out a new path?
Let us know in the comment section below!