Whether big or small, all businesses go through change. In an unpredictable marketplace, the ability to adapt separates success stories from cautionary tales. In defining how businesses adapt to change, Eric Ries (“The Lean Startup”) coined a concept that he named “pivoting.”
According to Ries, and many experts agree, every business reaches a point where it must make a choice to pivot, persist, or just pull the plug! When you choose to pivot, you position yourself to take advantage of market trends and respond to customer feedback.
Yet, despite the benefits of pivoting, it can be tough to know when you need to take your dream business in a new direction. Read on to discover the tell-tale signs that it’s time to take a fresh approach in your business operations.
Competition is too stiff Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash
No industry is immune to competition, and if you feel that you are struggling against stronger rivals, maybe it’s time you pivot. When you started your business, you went in with hopes that your idea would reap huge returns. But after a few months, you see that others have jumped on the same bandwagon.
If you realize that your customer base has consistently shrunk and sales are plummeting, consider pivoting to save your ship before it sinks. Stiff competition, especially with big companies, can drain your coffers. Instead of struggling to make ends meet, dump and stick to things you do better than the rest.
Markets are changing fast
Marketers have a saying that, “If your product is really good, it should sell itself.” But even when you have a great product or service, changes in the market can make it impossible to sell your product. When you realize what your business is offering is no longer relevant to customers or the market, you must pivot.
For instance, Nokia was a popular brand before Apple’s iPhones hit the market. Within a few years, Apple’s smartphones disrupted the mobile industry, and Nokia could not catch up. To avoid going obsolete, listen to your customers and change to meet their needs.
Revenue is plummeting
What do you see when you review your balance sheets? If you realize your revenue is shrinking every quarter, consider a possible pivot. Revenue goals are the best gauges of success and failure in a business, and when the paycheck is getting slim, don’t ignore the signs. If your revenue keeps dropping, it’s a sure sign that soon enough, you will be struggling to keep the business afloat.
To avoid this outcome, don’t throw money into advertising and publicity stunts. Instead, discover the root of the problem. Pivoting is all about looking at your business pragmatically. Don’t try to sell something that isn’t selling because you are emotionally attached to it. Dig deep and solve problems.
Growth is flat-lining
“Boredom is the enemy,” and if you realize that everything in your business is stagnant, pivot. A good doctor takes account of a patient’s progress and if your business stops growing, check your health before you stop breathing! While you can get emotional thinking about all the work you have put in, zero growth often means that the future is blurry. Instead of falling for boring predictability, ignite fire into your workplace by choosing a new path to pursue. This is the best decision to keep customers, employees and your paychecks happy.
Level up Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash
We all go into a business idea with lofty goals, but once you get into the market, you realize that things aren’t as rosy as they seemed. It’s easy to settle, get discouraged, and give up on those dreams. As a result, your business can suffer. Sometimes, the best way out of this slump is to pivot your passions. Take your business to the next level by going back to the drawing board. A change in perspective and attitude could bring you closer to those original goals.
There are no safe bets — pivot or perish!
Most entrepreneurs think the “tried and tested” route is always a safe bet, but in an agile marketplace, this is like waiting for a disaster to happen. Businesses need to adapt to changes in the market, customer needs and team energy to remain successful.
Calculated risk-taking is the best bet for a safe future and if you don’t want to end up obsolete, consider a pivot now. The best thing about pivoting is that if one direction doesn’t work, you can always self-correct and try, try again.