Entrepreneurs and business owners are certainly no stranger to the term “pivoting.” In fact, businesses have been making strategy tweaks and changes since the beginning of time. When something is not working, you simply evaluate and try something else. Or in today’s case, when an external variable drastically impacts companies worldwide, together we are forced to shift our perspective and strategies as we begin to innovate and create a plan to move forward.
When Should You Pivot?
Although for some companies, it may be very clear when a pivot is needed, for others, it is not so obvious. Here are a few signs that you may need to consider making a business strategy pivot:
- Your people, processes or profits are declining in some way
- You are lost amongst competitors, no longer have a differentiation point or your niche has become too overcrowded.
- You have hit a plateau and are no longer seeing results
- The preferences or needs of your target market have changed
- Your approach has changed, and you want to innovate
- An outside force has significantly impacted your customers’ behaviors
Steps to Effectively Make a Business Pivot
After identifying the need to make a pivot, it is important that you fully think through your options and attempt to minimize risk. Start by identifying your target market, their purchase drivers, and your companies’ differentiators. In order to best serve your customers, you must know what influences them, what they care about, and what attracts them to your company.
Next, you should then begin to dig into the specific area you are wanting to address and ask yourself two questions:
- What is working?
- What is not working?
Spend some time brainstorming and really thinking these areas through. Consider people, processes, products, and everything in between. A SWOT analysis can be an impactful way to identify where your company excels, any weaknesses or opportunities you may have, and threats in the business landscape that you have not yet considered. You may also try conducting a problem-solution-value analysis here to build upon your areas of opportunity.
Next, it is important to set your vision. Before you can put together a plan, you must know where you are wanting to go. Take some time to cast your vision ensuring it is both challenging but also realistic. If your company has a vision statement, you might also bring it into consideration at this time.
Finally, after you have defined why you need to make a strategy pivot and where you want to go, it’s time to put together your plan. It’s best to look at your plan from the position of why, what, and how. Think about why you’re needing to pivot and what you’re looking to achieve. Break that down further into a couple of key focuses and align your actions with those goals. Next, you should map out where you want to be and by when. This will act as your guide as you implement your pivots.
Execution is a very important step however; many companies have the tendency to jump directly towards execution without doing the proper prep work. Doing this increases your risk of making an uninformed decision.
What If I Need to Pivot Quickly?
It is important to note that there may be times where your business needs to make quick, smart pivots. During these circumstances, you may not have the luxury of time. However, you should still give some thought to these three areas.
- Why am I making a pivot?
- What am I hoping to accomplish?
- How am I going to pivot?
There is a huge difference between changing your digital ad positioning versus changing your target market. The time spent on this decision should reflect this. Additionally, the more risk involved, the more thought you should invest.
Do you need guidance in making a strategic business pivot? Contact our team today to learn how we can help you navigate to where you want to be.