Created By:
Gravette Brown
March 29, 2022

So, you had an amazing idea and did the work to form a solid, well-interrogated business plan around it.  You assiduously carried out market assessments and engaged a strong team to execute the idea.  Finally, you accessed the right type of financing needed to sustain your business through the normal ups and downs of business.  You are ready! You open your doors, launch your app, activate your website and begin your undoubtedly amazing marketing campaign.  All the hard work and long nights culminate in what is sure to be a success.

Then, something happens or rather something does not happen-the crowds you expected does not appear, the product you designed does not work as planned, you realize that the team you engaged is not executing your vision.  In short, the glory you envisioned remains out of reach.  So what to do when things are not going to plan?

  1. Pivoting vs. Holding the Line vs. Going all in – The first decision you have to make is whether or not you actually need to pivot at all.  Sometimes your strategy may just need a bit more time to embed.  Customers may need to see you in place for a bit longer to get comfortable with your products and services.  In this case, you may need to revisit your financial capital assumptions or your marketing budgets but your strategy remains the same. That is holding the line. If you are testing your assumptions appropriately within 3-6 months you should be able to determine whether or not your product strategy needs a rethink

  2. Test your Assumptions and Accept the Results – The hardest thing you may have to do is to accept that your strategy needs significant modification or was incorrect.  Being agile means that you have to continually test what customers really want and test whether or not your product and service is giving them that.

  3. Stay Current – The best way to ensure that you even know what questions to ask when testing your assumptions is through research.  Devote a part of your business operation to staying on top of trends in your industry.  Establish a practice of regularly evaluating what changes in your industry could mean for your operation and be open to making those changes.

  4. The destination may be the same, the journey however may need to change - Sometimes the pivot does not mean that your ultimate objective changes.  Zoom out and reconsider your objective and the different paths that may be available to get there.  Imagine you wanted to sell books in a storefront, you may determine that you need to sell books in another way. That is a pivot, maybe there is only a certain type of book that your best customers are interested in.  Maybe you pivot in the end to focusing on selling textbooks directly to schools.   All of these are derivatives of the original idea but are very different approaches in strategy that can yield powerful results.  Approaching the end goal from another angle is sometimes the most valuable pivot that you can make.

  5. Everybody does it – There are very few stories of business success that do not involve some form of pivot or the other.  Pivoting happens with startups and with established businesses. Most great entrepreneurs and corporations have had to shift focus in order to stay relevant and this shift is normally the point that determined their success.  It is also important to note that pivoting does not just mean shifting away from something that is not working but can also mean shifting towards something better.  Sometimes you do all the above so that you can also take advantage of opportunities that reveal themselves in the otherwise successful operation of your business.  Perhaps through selling textbooks to schools you determine that there is also an opportunity to sell educational software.   The ability to pivot is simply the ability to manage and adjust to changing business environments and customer needs.

  6. Then, Just Do It!  - Finally, once you have determined that you need the pivot then you must commit to putting it into action.  Procrastination on this point only delays the inevitable and can either make a bad situation worse or means that a market opportunity will pass you by.  Trust the process and then put it into action.


Stay Informed: Join Our Mailing List!

Mailing List Registration Form
Small Business Development Centre Logo black
Equipping and Empowering Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“MSME`s”) in The Bahamas
X Twitter GraphicShare Graphic
Copyright © 2023, SBDC | All Rights Reserved. Developed by CSB Tech