10 Factors to Consider Before Pivoting Your Business
The ability to be flexible and adapt to an ever-changing market-place is critical for the long-term survival of any business, at any time. This is obviously heightened when something unexpected like Covid-10 or a recession comes along.
However best way for YOU to pivot your business depends on a number of different factors and is likely to differ from what others are doing.
Here I share some important factors to consider BEFORE pivoting your business. So you can decide whether pivoting is the right way forward for you, and if so, the extent and timing of any such pivot.
1. Why are you thinking about pivoting your business?
Getting clarity on your ‘why’ is the starting point as these and any desired outcomes you have will influence how and when it’s best for you to pivot.
Reasons for pivoting a business include:
- A reduction or fall in demand for what you were offering (or intended to offer).
- You want to do something new, offering something in a different way, or serve a new audience.
- New opportunities due to changing market needs.
- You need money right now – to live and ensure your business survives.
- You feel disconnected or overwhelmed by the business you’ve created and want to explore new opportunities aligned to your heart of stage of life.
- A change in personal circumstances – for example, health, caring for others, children leaving home, nearing retirement, death of a loved one.
I’ve pivoted my business in several ways over the years to:
- keep money coming in during the 2008 recession
- create a better life balance
- improve my health
- work with people with similar values
- have more impact in the world
- expand my reach to a global market
- be able to work from anywhere in the world
- generate multiple passive income streams
- continue to earn money during Covid-19 lockdown
If the only reason for considering a pivot is that you need to keep bringing money in, consider whether there is another way you can survive financially over the next few months. A pivot is often critical for the sustainability of a business but is not always the best way forward when you have other choices.
2. What impact do you want to have?
Every reason and decision you make will have in impact–for you personally, your business, others, and the planet. If you’re motivated to make a difference, asking yourself “what impact do I want to have?” will provide further insights that will help you make smart decisions about how you pivot your business.
Make sure you also consider the impact a pivot could have on your existing clients, customers, staff, and others connected to your business. The last thing I’m sure you want is to cause them any unnecessary anxiety or to sabotage your business by now managing these relationships with compassion.
3. Types of pivot
One of the most inspiring things to come from lockdown has been the way in which many businesses have become innovative and pivoted an aspect of their business to keep the country going plus continue to generate cashflow, main jobs and help secure their long-term sustainability.
I’m sure you’ll have seen many examples of businesses pivoting their business. Take inspiration from what they are doing to:
- Change how you deliver or distribute your products and services – many local shops, cafes, and restaurants have started home deliveries. Training providers are delivering training and support online. How could you deliver your products/services differently?
- Change what products or services you offer – where demand for what you offer has fallen, consider how you could instead provide solutions to what people are looking for right now. It’s been heartening to see many businesses do this. For example, gin distilleries starting to produce hand sanitizers and clothes manufacturers pivoting to make masks and PPE.
- Change your audience – your ideal customers or clients. This could include expanding your reach from a local business to one that serves national or international markets.
- Pivot from a service provider to an online teacher or trainer – I’ve seen examples of all sorts of people doing this – painters, singers, fitness instructors, accountants, website creators. At a time when many people are seeking ways to make the most of the extra time they have at home, what could you teach people to do for themselves rather than you doing it for them? Sign up to my online course creator checklist here.
- Adapt your product/service range – to include and a broader range of products/services or a range that satisfies several price points.
4. What are your short-term needs?
An important question to ask at any time and particularly during a time of change or uncertainty. Covid-19 has brought up all sorts of different needs including money, to be doing something that makes a difference or contributes to the greater cause, connection with others, time away from others, skills to better manage stress, entertainment.
Note the specific needs you have right now and are likely to have for the next few months. Do this at different levels, for you personally, for your business and any people you employ.
5. What are your long-term needs?
This time will pass. Things will change.
In a similar way note the long-term needs for you and your business.
When I think post Covid-19, I’m optimistic there will still be women who will want to join me on retreats and help build schools in Asia. I have therefore decided to continue to serve the same audience. But rather than selling retreats right now, I’m helping them cope better and thrive in the current situation. while at the same time I’m building my visibility and credibility.
6. Balancing your short and long-term needs
Doing this is a useful cross-check to ensure you’re focussing on the right things and don’t make impulsive or fear-based decisions just now, that will sabotage your long-term vision for your business.
None of us know what the future holds and challenging times often present great opportunities in ways we hadn’t envisaged before.
However, it’s also important to ensure you’re not taking your business in a direction you know you don’t want to go–unless there’s a critical reason to do so such as the need to pay bills, keep going financially, or to provide critical resources in response to Covid-19.
7. What critical problems can you help solve?
A basic principle of business success at any time is to offer products and services people want and are willing to pay for. These usually fall into one of two categories: solving a problem (what keeps people awake at night) or satisfying an aspiration (something they’ve love to do).
People are searching for solutions that enable them to get their needs met. This is always the case but Covid-19 has presented a specific set of needs in the same way your personal needs have changed.
This pandemic is providing opportunities for businesses that provide digital or online solutions such as Zoom, Netflix, or online trainers, supermarkets/local shops providing essential supplies, online retailers such as Amazon, delivery companies, funeral directors, and manufacturers of masks, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.
Create a list of problems people have and are looking for solutions to–both right now and are likely to need and want over the next few months. Then consider how you could help them satisfy this need.
What products or services are in demand at the moment? How could you pivot your business to provide any of these?
8. What is easiest way and most effective way to pivot your business?
I’m a great believer in keeping things as simple and easy as possible. Coming up with solutions that can be implemented fairly quickly with as little disruption to my clients, my business, and personal life as possible.
However, if your business is to survive you need to also only implement strategies that will enable you to get both your short and long-term needs met.
9. Plan to succeed and thrive
What resources or help do you need to make this happen?
Business planning is a core foundation of long-term business success. Not just when starting out in business. It’s something I encourage my clients to do annually and review and update at least quarterly.
It’s also good practice whenever you change the direction or pivot your business.
Planning to succeed includes getting clear on how you will research, create and deliver new solutions, writing a revised marketing plan, identifying what resources and support you need, deciding how you will allocate resources, and ensuring you have the right team in place.
This includes ensuring you have the necessary support in place personally and to help you pivot your business effectively.
What support would make it easier for you to ensure your business thrives, no matter what is happening around you?
10. Communicating your new focus
If you decide to pivot your business you will need to update all aspects of your marketing and decide how best to communicate well to customers, stakeholders, and your audience going forward. This is easier to do if you’ve taken the time to consider all the above points and put a robust implementation plan in place.
There are always businesses that thrive and others that fail in the face of adversity. Those that survive and thrive are either those who are already supplying what there is a demand for or those who quickly and effectively pivot to do so.
- What do you need to change?
- What opportunities are there for you to pivot your business?
- Where would you like to be six or twelve months from now?
Obviously, if there is anything I can do to help, please do get in touch.
With love and light,
Often described as one of the most authentic and inspiring souls you can meet, Alisoun is on a mission to improve the lives of 100,000 people–by inspiring and enabling women to enjoy meaningful success, feel good, and have more impact in the world.
Alisoun’s keynote talks, training, mentoring, and best-selling books Heartatude: The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success and Give-to-Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities and Social Causes have favorably changed the good fortune of thousands of people worldwide. She loves doing humanitarian work, fundraising and living by the beach in Scotland.
Check out my TEDx Talk Isn’t Business an Opportunity to be Kind HERE.
Alisoun has also written the following free resources:
- Ebook: 101 Ways To Attract Great Clients, With Heart, Integrity & Social Impact (click here)
- Ebook: 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business (click here)
Connect with Alisoun here: