How to Know When It’s Time to Pivot

Starting a business takes a lot of courage, but so does starting over 

It feels like only yesterday when an article was published about me in the Winners’ Circle. I talked about my publishing and marketing company, but even at that time I knew that a big change was on the horizon. It was just a matter of having the courage to make the necessary adjustments. 

For some, change may be easy, but for others, it can be quite the challenge. When it came to my business, it was hard, because I’m not a quitter. 

I will often find a thousand different ways to try something before I throw in the towel. I had people close to me say, “You’re not a quitter. Look how long you’ve tried doing this.” Although they were trying to make my decision to quit easier, I just wasn’t ready. Finally, one day I really had to evaluate whether what I was doing was making any sense? Was I running a business or a hobby? It took some time, but after really sitting down and evaluating what was in front of me, I decided I was ready to make the necessary changes to create the business that I wanted, and to be the entrepreneur I was meant to be. 

Reasons you might decide to pivot: 

Your product or service isn’t something people want or need. This one might seem like an obvious reason to pivot. If there isn’t a demand for your product or service, than there won’t be any sales. Without sales, there isn’t a business. 

Technology or outside factors. Perhaps technology, or even a world health crisis, may light a fire under you to change the way you offer your service, or the types of services you offer altogether. During the recent scare, I noticed many entrepreneurs looking to add online components to their business strategy. 

You’ve lost the fire. Speaking of lighting a fire, most likely if you’ve started a business it’s because you were passionate about something. If that passion or desire is gone — maybe it’s time to look at the underlying reasons, and make the necessary adjustments where applicable. 

What to consider if you are going to pivot: 

Maybe there is just something in your gut that says now is the time to make a pivot in your business. There is absolutely nothing wrong with changing your mind. Maybe you started off as a fashion stylist, but now you want to decorate cakes. It’s okay. 

I’ve created the five Rs, as a guide to traveling an alternative business path:

Reflect 

Before you take the leap, reflect on why you are making the change. What is the underlying cause for your decision to change? Then look at the pros and the cons of your current business and services. What worked and what didn’t work? What can you take from your business and apply to your new business, and what should you leave behind? For instance, if offering a convenient and friendly service is what you are offering with your current services, you can apply that to your new business as well. 

Rebrand

If your pivot involves the same industry, you may just want to spruce up your website and social media to reflect your new image, including not only changes to your graphics but your verbiage as well. You want to make sure that those visiting your sites are aware that you’re offering something a little different than you were before. 

Reload 

Or perhaps your pivot is in a completely different field (a la fashion stylist to cake decorator). Then you may want to start a new company altogether. Sometimes starting a brand new business can seem daunting, especially when you’ve invested so much time (and money) into your current business. But it’s better to start a new business, than to try to fit a square peg in a round hole. 

The Road Ahead

Whether you rebrand or start a new brand, don’t jump into your new chapter without doing a little research. Create a business and marketing plan. Have a strategy in place on how you are going to make this time bigger and better than what you did before. In both your strategy(ies) and your plans, you want to really hone in on who your target market and audience(s) are, because knowing this is going to be a pivotal part of your success.  

Run with it!

There’s a fine line between preparation and procrastination. As per my previous point, you want to do some research and plan ahead, but then you gotta go for it. It’s in taking action that you will ever really know if plan B is going to work. Even in all your planning, as you begin to “do,” you will continue to stumble into what you were really meant to do. And don’t worry about the naysayers, people you think will judge you for going a different direction, or even you judging yourself. In the end, look at the bigger picture, and decide what is best for you in the long run. 

Once I took that leap, I began to see the rewards almost immediately. While I’m learning from the past, I’m staying open to different possibilities and avoiding stagnation. When it is time for me and my business to evolve again, I will be ready — and hopefully now you will too! 

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Jessica Alex | Contributing Writer

Jessica Alex is the founder of Jessica Alex Marketing, a boutique agency that is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs shine both on and offline, by helping them to get clear on their brand message, and creating marketing strategies to propel their business to the next level. By using branding, content creation and public relations, Jessica Alex Marketing assists their clients with building their tribe, building trust with their audience, and looking their very best.


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