How to pivot successfully in business

What is pivoting?

To pivot means changing the direction of a business when you realise the current products or services aren’t meeting the needs of the market. The main goal of a pivot is to help a company improve revenue or survive in the market, but the way you pivot your business can make all the difference.

With the impacts of Covid, many businesses in NZ have also had to pivot. For example, a café that relied on foot traffic for business may have had to open an online delivery service and now has a whole new business to service along with their shop front cafe.

Find out why you might pivot and how you would do it in the future.

There are many reasons to consider a pivot for your small business. Perhaps your products or services aren’t performing. Or maybe your user base has shifted. Pivoting is no small task, and it can be quite scary to start from scratch. 

If you have been thinking about pivoting your business, then you should know what it entails before you go forward with the move. 

When is the right time to pivot?

A pivot is not a magic pill that can solve all your business woes. Businesses should only consider pivoting as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted. 

It may be the right time to pivot your business if

  • You can’t see much progress even after putting in a tremendous amount of money and resources.
  • There is just too much competition. 
  • Your business’s progress has plateaued. 
  • Only one of your business’s features or services gets traction. 
  • Customers aren’t responding to your products like you thought they would.
  • Your perspective on the industry has changed. 

Pivot your product

Do you need to find a better use for your product or service or find a new product to market to your customers?

The key to a successful pivot might be found in one of your product features. You may have a product feature that no one knows about, so focus on that. Or you may completely change the product or use of the product you deliver.  

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Pivot your customers

If your product or service isn’t selling but you can’t find any problem with it, you might just be selling it to the wrong target audience, or the current one no longer needs it. You may have a service or product aimed at the consumer market that could be perfect for B2B businesses and vice versa. Or your product might be more suitable for an overseas market. 

Pivoting your business to another market can help you increase sales and improve traction. In this case, you wouldn’t have to change your product at all. You would only have to pivot your marketing strategy.

Pivot your messaging

Pivoting is often thought of as offering a new product or service. However, this isn’t always the case. Proper messaging is extremely important because even a great idea can go unnoticed if it doesn’t stick with your audience.

  • To reach your audience in a new way, consider pivoting your messaging on your products or services. Change product or service descriptions.
  • What features could you talk about that you haven’t talked about before?
  • Is there a new use for the product that you could talk about?
  • You’ll be surprised at how a effective shift in messaging can be.

Pick goals that align with your business

When you pivot your business, define new goals that align with the changes you make. Decide on new revenue goals and customer traction numbers. Comparing your business against the same old goals will not give you a clear idea about how your company is doing. 

Analyse your competitors

Before you pivot, look at what your direct competitors are doing and how you can do it better. If you are planning to offer the same products or services at the same price point, you might not see significant results. Look at how big your competitors are and if your business can compete with them. 

Strategise before you make a move

There are numerous ways to pivot your business. However, make sure you test your idea and create a thorough pivoting strategy that aligns with your overall business plan before execution.

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