Where to Start With Pivoting Your Business
I don't know whether there's something in the air at the moment, perhaps it's a result of that creative boost that spring brings, but I've been having a lot of conversations online and with clients recently about pivoting.
Sorry I couldn’t help myself, You can’t talk about pivoting without a Ross Gellar reference right? But actually I’m talking about pivoting and making a transition in business (rather than furniture related).
Pivoting your business is the kind of project that can initially feel overwhelming and so huge that you don’t know where to start with it. Whether the transition you’re looking to make is a small pivot or a huge about-turn it’s all about breaking down the process and taking it step by step, as I found in my own experience of pivoting my business last year.
In 2018 I pivoted my own business from product-based home decor business to service-based business. As it was quite a transition it took me about a year to make the transition. From getting all of my content and marketing switched up and in place to getting my website updated. For you it may take less time or perhaps longer, it’s not about the time scale it’s about pivoting your business so that you’re closer to hitting the target in terms of the work you want to do and the lifestyle you want to create.
In this video I’m sharing the first few steps I took to get the wheels in motion with my own business pivot.
Back in December 2017 I had a bit of a realisation that it was time to pivot my business. Back then I had a product based, home decor business where I was designing products, making everything from scratch by hand and shipping them out. To set the scene, I’d just had the most crazy Christmas run up and in the funny week between Chriastmas and New Year I sat down by the fire with a cup of tea and some big sketchbooks to review how everything had gone in my business over the past year and make an action plan for the next year.
Looking back at how things had gone, in what felt like a lightbulb moment, I realised that actually, what I was really enjoying the most about my business, what really lit me up was all of the planning and project management.
I also realised, as I was reviewing my business that my heart wasn’t in the making, it really was in all of the other aspects of building and running a business. And, I think, if you are running a product-based business, you've got to be really passionate about what you're making. I think that's true of any business you've got a really love what you’re doing. Controversially I actually think it helps if you’re a little bit obsessive!
When I think about this moment now, this realisation about what I really wanted to do in my business shouldn’t have come as a shock. I’d also learned this about myself in my 9-5 where I’d discovered Trial of project management timelines and making things happen and so I had made the pivot at work to become a qualified project manager (sometimes it’s very easy to forget to translate what we learn in our 9-5 into the rest of our lives). S
To cut a long story short, I decided to pivot my business to what it is now. And pivoting and transitioning businesses is something I have been speaking to alot of clients and people online about recently. I don't know where there's something in the air but a lot of people are feeling like it's time to make a bit of a change and to freshen things up.
If you’re in that position too, whether that pivot you want to make in your business is small pivot or huge pivot, I hope these steps help you figure out where to get started with pivoting your business.
1: Back to Basics
The first step is to go back to basics. This is the real digging stuff that often takes people quite a bit of time but it is the most useful exercise because this is where you plant a solid foundation for your business.
This is where it's all about digging into the lifestyle that you want to create, digging into the business you want to create and getting clear on your values. Getting clear on there foundation parts of your business will put you in a good place to move on to the next step.
2: Get clear on your product
I got clear on my product offering by writing out a draft sales page. Once I’d defined what my product was, what need it was fulfilling and the problems it was solving I instantly started to feel more confident in my decision to pivot my business. It also made the new business idea REAL which helped me renew my enthusiasm for the pivot I’d embarked on.
At this stage it doesn't have to be final, it doesn't have to be perfect. You just need to have an idea of what you are offering. Is it a service? is it a product physical product? is it a digital product? And what do those products look like? If it helps, draft up a sales page so that you can get your own head clear on what the product is what you're going to offer, maybe even with an idea of pricing.
3: Make a Money Plan
Next up was the money work, and this is essential if you're planning on weaving a 9-5 goodbye and taking your side-hustle full-time. You need to understand how your side-hustle is going to replace your 9-5 income and you need to have a bit of an idea around timescales. I've created a money planning workbook Make a Money Plan which is available for free in my resource library, to help you make your own money plan to pivot your business and escape your 9-5.
4: Get clear on your Audience
Get really clear on your audience, your niche and your USP. At this stage it’s helpful to create an audience avatar/ ideal customer (whatever you want to call it). This basically means opening up a document and describing your ideal client. Define things like where they live, what does their house or interiors look like? what kind of TV do they watch? What kind of challenges do they have? What keeps them up at night? What do they do in their spare time? All of those kind of things that help you build up a picture of your audience but also helps you figure out how you can get in front of them too. And, most importantly, how you can solve their problems with the work that you're doing
5: Dive into Marketing
The next step I took in pivoting my business was to get onto the marketing and this was a pretty hefty chunk. I started out by looking at the audience groups I have defined and then figured out what sort of content they needed and wanted to read/ listen to/ watch. I dug into what was going to help them with the challenges they are facing and get them closer to what they wanted more of in their lives. I listed out lots of topic areas I could talk about in my content. I then decided what my marketing channels were going to be and how I was going to share all of this content.
This was a REALLY chunky part and it took quite a few months to get it right. Plus, I think marketing a business is more of an evolving part of any business. I’d never say you get that point where you have it all figured out, but in most cases, when you're pivoting your business you will also need to change up the way you’re marketing your business.
6: Make a Plan
Once I’d got the basics in place for the steps I’ve mentioned above I made a solid 12-week action plan for following through with the pivot-project I’d started. Having that plan there as I was making some significant changes in my business and creating new routines and habits really helped me stay focussed and on track with my longer term plan to pivot my business.
I made a plan to rework my branding and made a plan to get consistent with my marketing and I made a plan to completely overhaul my website. Believe me that was more than enough for a few months to be getting on with!
Again, I want to stress that pivoting your business isn't something that’s going to happen over the course of a week or even a month, even if you work your socks off. And actually I think it's good to take your time with this, especially with the digging work at the beginning and figuring out your audience because this is the foundation stuff that will hold your business anchored down as you move forwards.
From my own experience of pivoting my business, I would definitely say, take people on the journey with you. Tell your audience that you’re pivoting your business, talk to them about what you're working on explain what you're planning on doing. This helps people see your pivot as a gradual process, rather than a sudden change they had no warning of.
Pivoting my business and getting intentional about making it happen it is the thing that helped me escape my 9-5 and grow a sustainable business that could support me full-time. If you’re thinking, I really want that too or I really want to pivot my business so the work I truly love, I'm cheering you on every single step of the way. I did it, which means you can too.
Finally, if you’re looking for a little extra support as you work your way through a hefty project like transitioning your business, my 1:1 mentoring might be just what you need to help you make that meaty project a reality.