Changing times often mean a change in your business approach, products, marketing or delivery. These changes are called “pivots”. If you think your business needs to pivot, you should plan on more than just one pivot. Here’s why.

Pivots are more complex than a simple business change

First, getting to the new model that you really need is usually not a simple little change that you make and it’s done. A pivot is more fundamental than that.

Perhaps you are an hourly services business but want to be a subscription service.

Maybe you want to grow and are planning to do so through acquisition. But the companies you want to acquire will require you to make a change to your business.

Or you sell a product right now but realize that what your clients really want or need is a product wrapped up in a set of services that help them get real, tangible value out of that product, i.e., a solution.

Maybe you realize that the type of client that you have been focused on are not as plentiful as another type of client that you have recently discovered. But getting to more of those types of clients requires you to reinvent your company or your practice to be more focused on the needs of that new client type.

All of these situations require a business pivot. You are making a fundamental change to the way your business works or delivers its good or service or you are refocusing on a new or different market or client. A pivot is a change in direction. And there are plenty of examples of everyday ones, but there are also legendary ones.

And, to make the concept of what goes into a pivot very simple, as most of you reading this post know from driving your car around town, you don’t just crank the wheel to change direction. You have to signal, brake, look around for possible hazards, then make your turn, recover from the turn, and accelerate through the turn. Miss any of those important steps and you might hit a pedestrian, run into another car or get rear ended.

Business pivots require many separate but interlinked actions to be successful, kind of like making a turn when driving a car.

Because pivots require multiple actions, they require planning

A business is not as simple as a car, though. It’s usually not just you, your dog and a couple of friends making the turn. As a business person you probably have multiple employees or contractors working with and for you. You have business partners, advertising and marketing campaigns, multiple products and services often with varied delivery mechanisms or processes, printed and digital promotional materials, accounting systems, lists of customers and clients, etc. etc. etc. It’s a complex web of people, systems, equipment, materials, documents and more. It just doesn’t make a turn like a BMW 7 series.

To make a pivot in business you need to make a plan.

First – know where you want to go. What’s the long term goal? Once your pivot is complete, what does the business look like? What has changed? What has been added? What (or who) has been left behind? What are the expected outcomes of the change? New customers? New products or services? Increased revenue? New markets?

Next – determine the changes and the resources that are required to get there. Will you need to hire someone new? Do you need a business partner or service provider to help out? What parts of the plan can you accomplish and what parts do you need the expertise of someone else for?

Now – put together a plan and timeline. What needs to happen first, second, third…? What dependencies are there in your plan? You can’t do a new marketing campaign without new marketing materials. You can’t launch a new service without knowing or at least having a plan for how you are going to deliver. How long does each step take? When can you complete each one? What will it all cost?

With a plan in hand, you’ll see more than one pivot

The plan you develop will reveal the overall pivot, but it will also show you that there are likely other pivots that will take place before the BIG pivot can be completed.

The hourly service provider that wants to become a subscription service provider likely needs to create the subscription package first. They need to try it out with one or two offerings first. They need new marketing materials for the subscription service. They need a process for how the service is delivered on an ongoing basis, They need to train their team how to deliver it and keep the delivery consistent and high quality. Once one or two of them are done, they can move on to transforming their entire service lineup. At least two pivots.

The company looking to grow through acquisition that adds new products or services to the company needs to plan for the integration. How are the new products or services related to the ones you already offer? Do they complement each other and provide the basis for a broader solution? That can be a complex transition – very likely lucrative, but complex. It takes solid planning and execution to succeed. This is potentially multiple pivots, some of which occur simultaneously, and some that must take place before another can be started.

Even the company that simply sees a new client base that they want to go after must go through a process of careful planning to preserve current business while the new business is built up. It requires a plan for either transitioning the current clients into new clients or a plan for how to introduce them to a business partner that can successfully take over servicing them — something that likely takes place behind the scenes before it is made overt.

Business pivots require examination of the change that needs to be made in order to come up with a solid plan of action.

Get help with pivots

You’re a smart successful business person. You’ve become successful in spite of the odds. You want to be even more successful and this big pivot will get you to that next level of success.

But you can’t and shouldn’t believe you can do it all.

More heads are better than one.

Properly leveraged experience accelerates the effectiveness of plain hard work.

So get help with your pivot. Get help with the visioning. Get help with the planning. Get help with the transitional tasks that need to take place at each step along each pivot that leads to the bigger change you have in mind.

The help might be from a colleague or a member of your team. It might be from an existing business partner or supplier or contractor. It might be from an attorney or business advisor or a broker or an accountant or a real estate professional.

Ask around and get the help that will make your pivot more successful sooner. And contacting Navvee for advisory and legal assistance is a great way to start. You might even try a Business Assessment and Planning package to help you determine what that pivot might look like.

Get in touch. We can help.