The COVID 19 pandemic is (hopefully) a once-in-a-century economic disruption of global dimensions that continues to challenge many small businesses today. One of the pandemic business survival buzzwords that found its way into the press, business seminars, and social media is “pivot.” Pivot is not a new concept, but it is usually associated with startups or large organizations whose market share is close to saturation, not the average small business. To pivot is a dramatic move, and it is vital you know when NOT to pivot your business, particularly if it is a knee-jerk reaction to save a company.
To be sure, the pandemic caused many businesses to pivot because it changed market conditions. Notably, the restaurant and travel industries needed to change focus because their customers could no longer safely use their product/services in the traditional sense. Others found immensely profitable short-term opportunities and regeared production lines to create hand sanitizer, PPE, and ventilators. But making a strategic change without fully understanding market conditions, trends in your industry, and the impact of new technology is a precarious business.
Before You Make Your Decision
We covered when and how to pivot in other articles (here and here), but it is just as important to know when to stay the course and not pivot. If you consider a pivot because it is going in the wrong direction, make sure something core to your strategic plan has failed before doing something rash.
It could be that something is broken in your process, and it’s time to stop thinking about pivoting and start thinking about fixing your business. However, don’t get swept up in your current predicament at the expense of your long-term future.
To assist you in your evaluation, take a deep, and honest look at:
- Know Your Market Share. What were the total sales of your industry in your marketplace, and what was your share of that amount? If you have a healthy chunk of the dollars available, it might be time to start thinking about diversification. But if you are a little fish in a big pond, you have an excellent opportunity to grow by focusing on your core business.
- Do Your Ideal Customers Know About you? If your brand is not reaching the people most likely to buy from you, take a hard look at your marketing effort. Marketing today is constantly evolving because there are so many different channels. Seek the help of multiple marketing professionals who are experts in specific marketing fields.
- Why Isn’t Your Sales Funnel Converting? If inbound leads are not converting at an acceptable rate, find out why. Inbound leads are low-lying fruit. You can start your search by checking the timeliness of your response to your customers’ inquiries. People looking for quotes or information don’t take much to convert, but you have to contact them while your service/product is top of mind. Eliminate any barriers to prompt responses and follow-up.
- Is Your Customer Base as Happy as it Should Be? Repeat business is the heart of a successful organization. Happy customers not only buy from you, but they also promote your brand and become advocates. Customer service has to be at the top of any company’s priorities to build for long-term growth. Provide preferred communications methods like website bots and chats and Facebook messenger as well as traditional email and phone. Turn your company into a personality by promoting a newsletter and promptly responding to comments on review sites like Google, Angi.com, and others -.
In short, don’t panic, and don’t pivot to fix a short-term problem. Instead, build your business by building better. If you need assistance evaluating your current position, give us a call at ASCEND Business Advisory. As an experienced, neutral third party, we can make an unbiased assessment and provide options for going forward. Contact us for a consultation today at 888 297-3321. We look forward to hearing from you.