Pivoting your business means changing the way it does things. It's about shifting your business strategy to meet the changing needs of your audience. It would be fair to say there has been a lot of examples of New Zealand doing this in 2020 in response to COVID-19. Manufacturers swapping from making clothing or marine covers to manufacturing face masks and face shields is a common one. They've pivoted their business to meet a need in the market, that of a huge demand for PPE. Was this ever in their business plan? Most likely not, but that is what business pivoting is all about.
Reasons to Pivot Your Business
Pivoting a business isn't something that should be taken lightly. Nor is it a necessary action for every business. The main reasons to pivot a business include:
- to generate sustainable income
- there is too much competition within your industry
- you have hit a plateau in your business' development
- only one of your products is doing any good
- customers are not interested in your products, even after you have completed significant research and advertising
- you are ready to do something different to what you currently offer
It is important to note though, that even though you may agree with one or more of these statements, there is still some critical thinking to be done before you decide to commit to pivoting. If possible, discuss your ideas with a business advisor first. They can take a look at your business as it is currently, check for areas where it could be improved and confirm that a pivot is in your best interests.
Pivoting requires an immense amount of work, just as much in fact as you put in when starting your business in the first place and we'll look at this next.
How to Pivot Your Business Successfully
As a business owner, you'll already understand that change is a common event in running a business. Pivoting requires big changes, but it is completely doable by:
- solving a new problem - the recent COVID-19 response by many clothing manufacturers is to reduce the quantity of clothing they make and focus on sewing face masks instead. The need for face masks thanks to COVID-19 is a new problem customers have, and these businesses are responding to it.
- adapt an existing product or service - your product or service originally solved a problem, but over time this solution has been not as popular with your customers. How can you tweak it, add to it or remove something to make it more appealing?
- revisit your target audience - is your initial target audience still the right ones to promote your product to? Spend time checking this and if needed, research out a new audience to test your product or service with.
- plan ahead - planning is crucial to achieving success with a business pivot. Make sure you have completed a business plan before moving forward with any changes. You could also spend time planning out different scenerios so you have a response ready, beating hindsight at its game.
- pay attention to your existing customers or clients - let them know that you do value their business and you are making these changes due to a market response. Ensure you let them know what the plan moving forward in regards to their custom is.
- on board your staff - make sure you also engage with your staff about the need to pivot and the way moving forward. This can include providing training, new processes and ways of working.
Once everything is in order, it is time to start marketing your pivoted business. For help with marketing, take a read of our articles:
Finally, join our free Facebook business networking group designed specifically to help NZ businesses!