Entrepreneurs,as most of you know, usually at some point in your business life cycle you will need to make a shift and change the way you are doing things in order to see success. In fact, a lot of us have seen this over the past 6 months.
Just because one thing worked well last year in your business doesn’t mean it will always yield the same results. It’s important to bear in mind that nothing is constant in business and you sell yourself short if you aren’t prepared to pivot when you need to.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there is power in the ability to pivot; which is why you need to learn how to think through what one means for you and your business.
In this article we’ll cover how to approach a pivot by:
- 1. Evaluate Your Business for Long Term Success
- 2. Know Your Customers, Your Tribe
- 3. Pivot On Purpose
- Final Thoughts
Evaluate Your Business for Long Term Success
Step 1 to master the pivot: Learn your business like no one else.
Most Entrepreneurs expect this is a given. Of course I know everything about my business. It’s MY business. But really, step back and ask yourself: Do you know your business inside and out?
You need to have a clear understanding of where you are in the market in reference to your competitors. Know your network and your net worth off the top of your head at any given moment!
What is your company offering that others aren’t? Why are customers buying your products or services? Is this product a trend or something that can last for years to come?
But there is more to it than just the numbers and sales data (though those are our favorite things!).
Do you know your purpose, your why, and what keeps you going every day as an entrepreneur?
Can you keep that intact as you pivot to see greater success in your business?
Once you have a clear and precise answer to these questions you can consider the next steps for your business. This evaluation may tell you that you’re good, you don’t need to pivot at all. However, it could also tell you that you’re in need of a serious product shift or rebrand; or that you’re missing out on a major money making opportunity.
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got a pretty comprehensive Brand Health Check guide to get you started on essential questions every entrepreneur should ask about their business. Check it out and then take some time to consider:
Is my business in need of a pivot?
Know Your Customer, Your Tribe
Step 2 is knowing your customers.
This is probably the most essential step to achieving real business success, especially during a brand pivot. Now that you know everything you need to know about your business, you really need to ask yourself:
Do I know everything about my audience?
Where does your customer shop, in person or online? What products do they typically buy; for business or for pleasure? Why do they buy those products over others? Why do they buy from you over anyone else?
You should have a full perception of your perfect, ideal customer. We call this your Avatar. You may have one or you may have many but it’s important to know the qualities of you avatar completely.
If you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll find many instances of your avatar in your existing audience. However, you may find upon further research into your action customers that either your perception of your audience or your audience itself doesn’t quite match up with what you thought.
This is a big sign that you may be in need of a pivot.
Once you gather all this information you will know how to pivot with your product line or services offered, marketing messages and methods of communication. By being aware of your customer’s needs, desires, and purchasing habits, you can offer more products and services to increase the overall revenue in your business and see an overall increase in business success.
PRO TIP: A great way to gather information from your customers so you don’t have to do a bunch of guess work is to just ask them outright! Send out a survey to your new and returning customers to discover their likes and dislikes about your products. Make a poll on Facebook or host live Q&A sessions to get on the spot feedback. All this information can be used to create the perfect products for your ideal customer without wasting time on things that won’t work!
Pivot on Purpose
Step 3 is simple but the most important in the pivot process.
Do it on purpose.
The problem with pivoting is that you can do it on purpose or as a result of something that’s happened in your business or the world. For example, selling hand sanitizer during the onset of the pandemic earlier this year.
Most of the time, it’s so important to gather as much information as possible before making any major changes in your business. You don’t want to pivot prematurely because this can cause you to lose funding, go out of business, or diminish your current customer base.
However, your inability to make essential changes in your business when you hear the clarion call of something like a global pandemic can also mean a fatal end to your company (like many of the small businesses we’ve seen close for good as a result of the effects of COVID-19).
It’s not an exact science. In fact, it’s not even close. But as an entrepreneur you have to master being comfortable with taking risks and being uncomfortable to see true success AS WELL AS making informed decisions that will result in steady revenue and growth.
There’s no right way to do this. You have to make the best judgement call for your business both in the long and short term.
However, you could speak with an advisor or someone you value that has previous experience in your industry. This insight can be invaluable to the success of your business now and going forward. Consult with partners on what’s going to work for the overall team. Ask your employees what they think. Reach out to people in your network on LinkedIn.
You have endless resources at your disposal to determine if pivoting is really right for you and your business. Use them and make an informed but prompt decision.
And most importantly, when you pivot…do it on purpose!
Pivoting, or making a major change/shift in your business can not only be intimidating but fatal if you don’t do it right. You have to make sure you have a finger on the pulse of your brand, know what your customers are asking for, and take that essential step on purpose vs. on pressure.
If you aren’t careful, a premature shift can be a business-killer just as much as waiting too long to make the proper pivot when it comes down to it. There’s no way to be 100% prepared for this. You never known when, why, or how you’re going to need to pivot. But, if you keep the topics we mentioned in this article in mind you can be proactive when the need does arise.
Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to see further success in business. Not everything you do is going to work 100% of the time all the time forever. Once you get that in your head, you’ll fully realize the power of the pivot and how you can utilize these strategies to take your business to the next level!
For more tips and trick on how to transform your business for the better, even in the midst of a pandemic, check out the other articles on our TSP Blog!
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