By Susana Fonticoba
“You just need to pivot”
I’ll bet as a business owner you’ve heard that expression at least once in your entrepreneurial career.
Sure, easy peasy.
What does pivoting really mean?
It could be a very small change in your business model, such as HOW you’ll deliver your services. Or it could be a major change that disrupts the WHO, WHAT, WHERE and HOW.
How do you know when it’s time to consider a pivot? Truthfully, it’s a topic to examine when “what always worked before” suddenly is working no longer. Revenue drops, requests stop coming in. back in the old days, we would say, “both the phone and the cash register stops ringing”.
You’ve Been Left Behind
It’s a sign that your buyers, prospects, and audience have “moved on” and don’t find your current offer all that appealing at this time.
It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you did all the wrong things. It could simply be that time has moved on and your business model needs to switch gears to flow back into the fast lane.
How Do I Pivot?
I can hear you groaning from here . . . it can be a tough and confusing thing to do, so let’s look at some helpful tips.
Your business model must always satisfy:
- The revenue you NEED
- The income you WANT
- The type of clients you’ll SERVE
- The clients’ real (deep) GOALS
- And the offers you’ll SELL to fulfill it all.
Where to Start?
Begin by examining your financial records to discover what did your best customers buy in the last two years?
- Why do you believe those products or services sold while others collected dust?
- Who were your top clients and what were their challenges and goals? How did your services meet those goals?
- Why did they choose you as their service provider?
Take a deep breath and eliminate what never sold well, period. Even if you thought it was a great idea, the masses have spoken—they don’t want it. Stop offering it. Done.
Look at what did sell well for at least two years. Did it suddenly drop off? Why?
Do Some Investigative Work
In our current situation, battling a pandemic, the answer to that question is obvious. There will be times when the answer won’t be that apparent, so you’ll have to touch base with your clients and audience to see why something is no longer attracting buyers.
We really can’t afford to lose time by guessing here. There is only one sure fire way to get that answer and that is to ask the key people—your target audience. Not an online survey, schedule a phone conversation where you simply ask for their help and their honest feedback. And then just listen.
During this crisis, we are in a highly unusual and unpredictable time. Like it or not, we’re making history. As much as we’d love for someone to hand over all the magic answers, it simply doesn’t exist. In essence, all of us entrepreneurs are guinea pigs right now.
Different Times Call for Different Tactics
This is not a time to withdraw and be shy. It’s also not a time to be aggressive on sales and revenue goals and demand that our sales increase by 300% or grow from a five-figure income to seven figures in a short time.
No, this is a time to proceed with caution and with data. Take a hard look at your business model. Take it apart and see how you can reassemble it differently. Perhaps the whole service needs to be put away for right now, and a new service should replace it. Experiment with tweaking the elements like frequency, cost, and delivery to see if it can return to a high demand.
The most important thing for you to do right now is to not give up, not hide, not feel defeated. This is just one “episode” in the reality drama that is entrepreneurship.