How to Know It’s Time to Pivot Your Small Business

When you first start a business, you have an idea about how to solve a particular problem with a particular solution. Over time, as you get more experience with your customers, technologies, and industries, your business evolves to be more responsive, more valuable. But sometimes, you uncover a latent need or a better use for your solutions that require an entirely new approach, or pivot. Pivoting is common but it can also be very risky for a small startup. So, before you start down the road of redefining your business, let’s go through a few ways to know when it’s time to pivot your small business.

Your Core Competency Is No Longer Making You Money

Few things are as great as when you find your groove in a small business. Servicing customers becomes easier as they see real value in what you’re providing, and you see real results to your bottom line. But if you find you are not getting the same results doing the same things, it may be because the market has shifted, or your solution is no longer relevant. In either case, this is a big neon sign telling you it’s time to pivot your business, rather than doubling down on something that the market doesn’t need.

Your Customers Are Different

When you start out in business, you usually have a defined target market. If, over time, you’ve found that your target market is no longer interested in what you have to offer, then you need to consider taking a step back and reconsidering your offer or your target market. Either way, it’s worth looking at pivoting your business so you can remain relevant to your customers.

You’re Just Not Making Any Headway

If you’ve been in business for a few years, plugging away at acquiring new customers and tweaking your marketing and offerings with little to no results, it’s probably time to take a giant step back and consider looking at your business as a whole. You may have some cool technology that a different niche really wants. Or, you’re selling the wrong solution in the wrong place. Look at your website and sales data to pinpoint where you’re going wrong and what to do about making it right before you go out of business.

No One Is Excited By What You Do, Even You

If you find yourself dreading work every day, or you hesitate to share and promote the work you’ve done, it may be time to consider taking the assets you have and using them in a new way. After all, if you can’t get excited about your business, how can you expect anyone else to? You may just feel like the business isn’t working, or it’s harder than a startup should be, and in this data-driven world, your instinct is a good data point to listen to.

Pivoting isn’t a failure. In fact, it’s very common and could be as simple as using the same solution to serve a different market who values the solution instead.

By Andrew Patricio

July 16, 2018