Business development and growth are rarely ever linear. The demands of the business world change from time to time according to shifts in a number of factors that have an effect on business. Regardless of the business you are in, it is likely that your strategy, model, and methods of business will have some changes over time.
While it is completely natural for a business to see some changes as it progresses, the shifts need to be clearly thought out to give your business a chance to gain the most from the changes. There are a number of ways that can be used to help a business make a successful pivot. The end goal, no matter the chosen route, is to optimize business performance and increase productivity.
Recognizing the need for a pivot
Taking a pivot is a common business strategy and business owners should always be ready to take that option should a need for it arise. There are factors that one can look at to determine whether or not a business needs to pivot into a new strategy. Here are some factors that indicate that your business might be in need of a change in terms of strategy and application:
- Falling behind the competition
While every business has unique properties, there always will be industry competitors. The first sign that something is not working in your business is that you start to fall behind your competition. Businesses grow at different speeds and experience business cycles differently but the gap between yourself and competitors that are just about the same age as you are shouldn’t be too wide. If you see that you are falling far behind the competition, you need to look at the business practices you are employing. An analysis of the differences between your business and its competitors should inform you of the areas where changes are necessary.
- Progress is slower than the projections you made
When you come up with a business idea and subsequently get your business up and running, you make projections regarding the expected growth rate of the business. As time progresses, you may notice that the business is growing much slower than you initially anticipated. This could be an indicator of the need to reexamine your business model and change aspects of it that are your key business drivers.
- Customer feedback continues to indicate the need for a pivot
Regardless of the business you run, customer feedback is one of the most important indicators of how well your business is doing. The people your business serves are the ones that usually give you the most accurate information regarding how you are doing. If customer feedback continues to indicate that there’s a need for changes, you should listen to the feedback and institute the necessary changes. Ultimately, every business should meet the needs of its customers, and any changes that help you do that should be implemented.
- One area of the business is performing far better than the others
Your business might have multiple products or services on offer which means you serve a range of customers. While it is natural for some parts of a business to do better than others, the gap should not be too wide. If the performance gap between different aspects of your business becomes too big, it might be time to pivot and focus on the areas that are performing well. It is better to narrow down a business’ focus areas and exert effort into well-performing parts than to keep your effort spread out and waste resources on products or services that are not doing well.
- Your product is considered outdated
Products, like anything else in the world, evolve over time. It is completely natural for a product to lose relevance over time or even become phased out completely as new products are developed. When this natural evolution takes place, it does not mean that your business should die. You need to look at the new products that are being introduced into your area of business and see how you can start moving those as the products that your business offers. In so doing, you ensure that your business continues to run through the tides of change.
Running a business that survives the test of time is a task that will require strong adaptability to change. Products and services naturally evolve over time and your business will need to negotiate these changes. Pivoting can help your business to adapt to the new demands of the market. Pivoting is a good business practice and you should not shy away from it should there be a need.