Marriott Hotels started as a Coca-Cola stand. Chick-fil-A started as a 24-hour diner with an extensive menu. AirBnB once sold cereal, and Netflix used to mail actual DVDs to your house. Play-Doh was originally a wall cleaner. Often entrepreneurs begin their ventures so sure that they have hit the nail on the head with their product or service, only to change direction. The best entrepreneurs approach the market with an open mind and curiosity. They see that it is the chicken sandwich that is something special, not the diner. Or their cleaning product is being used as a children’s toy. Or that streaming/VOD technology has advanced and they can advance with it.
All of these great businesses chose to pivot, therefore unlocking their own success. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Start-up, once said, “A pivot is a change in strategy without a change in vision.” When you can keep your purpose, values and story at the core of your business identity, a pivot can unlock your potential while never changing the “why” of your business. Below are 5 ways you can pivot your strategy all while keeping your vision at the core of it all.
Pivot to Another Target Market
Perhaps your data identifies an opportunity in another market segment. As trends come and go and different technology enters the market, success may be found with a different group than you are currently focusing on. Exploring other target markets may result in a discovery of a completely different customer persona worthy of your focus.
Pivot Your Offerings
Yes, it’s true; you can change your core offering without changing your long-term vision. Many of the most famous pivots happened with a completely different service or product offering while never changing a single core value. The world changes, and customers’ pain points, needs, and wants change as well. As customers’ needs change, you must be willing to evolve with them.
Pivot Your Sales Channels
Are your potential customers able to find you where they shop? Have you made yourself accessible in a way that makes the most sense for your market? If your customers prefer shopping in person, is your product in retailers? If so, are they the right stores for your targets? Could selling direct expand your opportunities? The way people shop is constantly changing, so know where your customers shop and be there.
Pivot Your Competitive Positioning
Your competitive positioning boils down to assessing the competitive landscape and where your business fits. This might mean competing to be the lowest priced option, but it can also mean pursuing exclusivity. Or you can choose to compete in a completely different landscape.
Pivot Your Messaging
When you redefine how you do business, your marketing strategy and your external brand identity may need to shift with it. A good marketing strategy is tightly aligned with the business strategy. Your message to your market must be aligned intimately with the value you bring and the identity your business represents.
To pivot is to examine the world around you and find a way to make your vision matter in it. Your business can only exist if there is a want or need for what you offer. Constantly assessing the market’s wants and needs and how they ebb and flow is the only way to adapt and plan for your future growth and success.