No matter which domain your business belongs to, every entrepreneur will be faced with a situation at some point that will require them to pivot their businesses. The thing is that all entrepreneurs need to adapt to the changes in their industry over time. And while pivoting may not always be a result of having a ‘poor’ business plan in place, you will have to modify your strategies once in a while to stay abreast with the changing trends.
Now that we have established that, let’s look at some signs that could point to the fact that your business might need a pivot.
Data or intuition—what should you listen to?
The data in itself is an earmark that will help you understand whether your business is doing okay. All you have to do is assess market trends, customer feedback, financial performance, and operational efficiency to determine if a business needs to pivot.
While the data gives it all away, make sure to also consider your intuition when it comes to the decision to make a pivot.
Lesha Reese in Forbes Coaches Council said,
“The sweet spot in business is doing something that aligns with your natural gifts and who you are as a person. As people, we evolve and grow, which can mean our businesses should shift with us. When you feel yourself grow and your gut or intuition is telling you it’s time for your business to follow, listen. The more aligned you are with your business, the greater success you will have.”
Things to remember
Once decided, executing a pivot should take center stage, as it demands a delicate balance between boldness and caution. Researching the new direction thoroughly, foreseeing potential hurdles, and devising a meticulous plan is essential. This may include reallocating resources, training the team, or hiring experts in the new field.
What do we learn from this? A smooth transition is crucial—slow enough not to lose existing customers but rapid enough to demonstrate a clear shift.
Devgal Agnihotri, a business mentor, explains,
“There are numerous ways to pivot your business, so make sure everyone in your company is aware and on board with the pivot before you make any major changes. Test your product pivot, and create a thorough pivoting strategy that aligns with all the core departments of your company before execution.”
Open and clear communication is the linchpin during a startup’s pivot. As a result, there should be a focus on transparency with your team. How do you achieve that? Have a discussion with your team, talk about the pivot’s reasons, the results you would like to achieve together, and its alignment with the long-term vision. Equally, keep investors, customers, and partners informed.
When you go for that pivot, its success comes down to ensuring that everyone understands the strategic nature of the pivot and that everyone is confident enough to take on the new challenge.
Is success guaranteed?
The success of your startup can never be guaranteed. Do not be disheartened if some might not deliver as expected.
While the situation may be a little disappointing for you, the crucial aspect is to perceive these setbacks as valuable learning opportunities. Analyze successes, failures, and their underlying reasons. If the pivot stemmed from flawed assumptions or inadequate market research, use those lessons.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to find zen amid the chaos and stay persistent and adaptable. Sometimes, a pivot requires refinement of a strategy rather than abandonment of the entire idea. Distinguishing when to persist and when to pivot again is a skill that defines resilient startups from those that die away.
With a clear vision and structured roadmaps, companies can navigate any challenge. This process, however, demands an understanding of market dynamics, the courage to depart from the familiar, and strategic acumen to carve out new paths.
Mastering the pivot isn’t merely about survival; it often leads to enhanced strength and resilience. For startups facing challenges, reassessing, realigning, and reinventing are vital considerations. Though the journey might be arduous, it holds the potential to redefine a venture’s future.
Michael Schnapf, CEO of MoreCommerce acknowledges,
Sometimes, considering a pivot can feel like failing. The last thing a first-time founder wants to admit is that his dream business idea isn’t going to support the business. However, sometimes changes — and sacrifices — are necessary.”
It’s important to keep in mind that a successful pivot requires careful execution. Introduce changes in a way that assures your team and investors that the business is moving forward as planned. Pivoting isn’t a guaranteed success or failure. However, a well-timed and skillfully executed pivot can give your business the boost it needs to succeed.