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What do you do when you realise your current business model just isn’t working? What do you do when your customers or clients respond in an unexpected way? What do you do when you find out that the product or service you’ve been offering is competing against too many giants?
You pivot, that’s what you do. You get your core team together and you shift your strategy. You roll with the punches and move in a different direction. Some of the biggest names around started with a completely different business model to the one that made them a household brand.
Focus on a better approach
There is a common misunderstanding among startups that pivoting is pretty close to admitting failure. That is most certainly not the case. What it really means is that you’ve taken a step back, looked at what’s working and what’s not and adjusted your business model to focus on a more lucrative approach. It’s about taking the time to reassess where you’re coming from as a business and where you’re going.
Many successful businesses are only where they are today because they realised that they were on the wrong track and changed direction. For example, Groupon famously pivoted and completely shifted their business, and they have that to thank for their incredible profit.
So, you’re not happy with the way your business is going or you’ve come face-to-face with a brick wall and have decided to pivot. What do you do next? How do you get started?
Gather your core team and key investors and go over the data and research that’s lead you to this point. Discuss the way forward, which road should be taken, and get as much input as you can from those who were there from the beginning. You may also want to include some new people who weren’t involved with the original product or process – they could offer the fresh perspective you need.
Then you need to figure out a way to use what you have already got (the knowledge and insight, as well as physical assets) in this shift in focus. Naturally, you’ll want to keep your original investors onboard, but some may not fit in well with the new direction. So, at the end of the day you may need to find new investors or secure asset finance before you go any further.
Think about your options
Before you think about packing it in and chalk it all up to experience, think about your options. Is there room to take what you’ve learnt and what you have and use it to move forward? 2 years from now you could look back and realise that pivoting was the best thing you ever did for your business.
The content in this article was provided by WesBank – a leading Vehicle and Asset Finance provider and part of one of the largest financial services groups in Africa. WesBank is a division of FirstRand Bank Limited.
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