Man writing on glass wall discussing strategy with colleague

When Should a Company Consider Pivoting Its Strategy?

As a business owner or entrepreneur, it's easy to get caught up in the idea that you need to stick to your original business plan no matter what. After all, you put a lot of time, effort, and resources into creating that plan and it's natural to want to see it through to the end. However, it's important to recognise that the business world is constantly changing and evolving, and sometimes your original plan may not be the best fit for the current market or your company's needs. This is where pivoting your business strategy can be crucial to your success.

Don't be afraid to pivot your business strategy if it's not getting the results you want. It can be tough to admit that your current plan isn't working, but it's better to make a change sooner rather than later. By continuing to follow a plan that isn't yielding the desired results, you risk falling further behind your competitors and potentially even failing altogether. Pivoting your strategy allows you to adapt to the current market and find a new approach that may be more effective.

Sometimes a small change can make a big difference in your success. You don't necessarily have to make major overhauls to your business model to see significant improvements. A small change in your marketing approach, for example, could lead to a significant increase in sales. Similarly, tweaking your product or service offering can make a big impact on your bottom line.

How do you know when it's time to pivot your business strategy?

Here are a few signs to look out for:

Your sales are consistently declining:  If you're seeing a downward trend in your sales, it's a clear indication that something isn't working. It could be that your target market has changed, your competitors have evolved, or there is simply less demand for your product or service. Whatever the reason, it's time to re-evaluate your approach and see if a pivot can turn things around.

You're not meeting your business goals:  If you set specific goals for your business and you're consistently falling short, it's a sign that your current strategy isn't effective. This is a good opportunity to assess what's not working and make changes accordingly.

You're not retaining customers:  If you're struggling to keep your customers coming back, it could be a sign that you're not meeting their needs. A pivot can help you refocus your efforts on what your customers want and need, improving retention and loyalty.

You're not seeing the growth you want:  If you're not seeing the level of growth you want for your business, it may be time to shake things up. A pivot can help you tap into new markets or find new ways to reach your target audience, leading to increased growth.

Reasons why it makes sense to explore pivoting your business strategy.

They include:

Changes in market demand:  If a company's products or services are no longer in high demand, it may need to pivot its business strategy to focus on something else. For example, if a company that sells physical books experiences a decline in demand due to the rise of e-books, it may need to pivot to a different product or service to stay afloat.

Competition:  If a company is facing strong competition from other businesses, it may need to pivot its strategy to differentiate itself from the competition. For example, if a company that sells clothing finds itself competing with larger, cheaper brands, it may need to pivot to a more niche market, such as sustainable fashion.

Economic downturn:  If a company experiences a downturn in the economy, it may need to pivot its business strategy to focus on cost-cutting measures or finding new sources of revenue. For example, if a company that sells luxury goods experiences a recession, it may need to pivot to a lower-priced product line in order to remain profitable.

Changes in technology:  As technology advances, companies may need to pivot their strategies to stay relevant and competitive. For example, if a company that sells traditional cameras experiences a decline in demand due to the rise of smartphone cameras, it may need to pivot to a different product or service, such as selling camera accessories or offering photography classes. Improved technologies can allow companies to streamline their production processes, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. A company may need to pivot their business strategy in order to adopt these new technologies and improve its operations.

Changes in distribution channels:  With the rise of e-commerce and online marketplaces, companies may need to pivot their business strategy to adapt to changing distribution channels and reach customers in new ways.

Cybersecurity concerns:  As technology becomes increasingly integrated into business operations, companies must also consider the potential for cybersecurity threats. A pivot in business strategy may be necessary to address these concerns and protect sensitive data and assets.

Regulatory changes:  Changes in regulations or industry standards can also prompt a company to pivot its business strategy. For example, if a company has traditionally relied on a particular production method, but new regulations require it to shift towards more sustainable or environmentally-friendly practices, the company may need to pivot in order to comply with these regulations.

How to plan your pivot in business strategy

It's important to note that pivoting your business strategy doesn't mean abandoning your original plan altogether. It's about adjusting and adapting to the current market and your company's needs. Here are a few steps to follow when pivoting your business strategy:

Identify the reasons for the pivot:  Before making any changes to your business strategy, it is important to understand why a pivot is necessary. This could be due to changing market conditions, shifting customer preferences, or new competitive threats. Clearly identifying the drivers behind the pivot will help you determine the most appropriate new direction for your business.

Conduct market research: To understand the potential impact of your pivot, it is essential to gather data and insights from your target market. This could include customer surveys, focus groups, and analysis of industry trends. Use this information to gauge the potential success of your new strategy and make any necessary adjustments.

Develop a new plan: Based on your research, develop a detailed plan outlining the steps required to pivot your business. This should include specific goals, timelines, and resources needed to implement the new strategy.

Communicate the pivot to stakeholders: It is important to keep all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners, informed about the pivot. This will help ensure a smooth transition and ensure that everyone is aligned with the new direction of the business.

Implement the pivot:  Once you have a solid plan in place, it is time to execute the pivot. This may involve making changes to your product or service offerings, adjusting your marketing and sales efforts, or reorganising your business operations.

Monitor and adjust:  As you implement your pivot, it is important to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments. This could include revising your plan, allocating resources differently, or making changes to your team or processes. By continually monitoring and adjusting your strategy, you can ensure that your pivot is successful and that your business is well-positioned for the future.