To Pivot or Not to Pivot?

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To pivot or not to pivot? This is a question we all seem to struggle with at some point in our lives.

Having gone through so many pivots in business myself, I do get asked advice by business owners on what they should do and answering that question as an outsider is really hard.

Let’s start with the word pivot and what it means.

pivot  /ˈpɪvət/

The central point, pin, or shaft on which a mechanism turns or oscillates.
Example: When you pivot, you keep one foot on the ground and the rest of your body can turn and swivel around that one point. 

Therein also lies the reason why we should not fear a pivot. You stay anchored in that one place and you could return to the original position if you wanted to.

So, why do people fear pivoting their businesses?

Because it represents change and we all fear change in different ways. It is important to understand though that some things will remain the same and it really starts as a direction change. Only when you decide to follow that path that now lies open to you does the change become more finalized.

When I get approached by business owners asking me if they should pivot and why, I usually ask them another question.

What did you study? Which diplomas did you obtain? I ask all of you who are reading this to think about that too. Now ask yourself, is my current job totally in line with my studies and diplomas? Most of us will have to admit that this is not so. This means that you made a pivot at some point in your career. Can you remember when? Did you think long and hard about it or did it just kind of happen?

Again, most of us can remember approximately when it took place, but we also remember that most of the time it just kind of happened. An opportunity arose and we jumped at it. We received extra training, did courses, found new interests, foreign assignments that would give our career a new direction and people we met along the way. There are a thousand and one reasons why we pivoted at some point in our lives and some were profound and others just kind of happened. 

I have had to pivot several times and basically started from scratch again, both in my personal life as well as in my career. We need to be honest though, not all works out well or is actually an improvement.

 

I still see every course alteration, pivot and radical change as the next challenge that can bring me great satisfaction when it succeeds or infinite wisdom if it fails, because my motto always is: you either win or you learn. Which means that whatever happens, you win in the end.

Only you can decide if the pivot is needed or not.

In my experience, when a business owner asks me the question, they already know what the answer should be, and they are just looking for a confirmation.

At the end of the day, you are the only one who can answer that question. Having said that, it is always good to walk through all the options, ideas, challenges and opportunities with an outside person that you trust and respect because I have also learned that if you get too close to the challenge, you end up missing different view points and you can get blindsided.

To summarise how to deal with the question, to pivot or not to pivot:

  • Assess your situation and gather all the facts
  • Consult your business mentor, coach, or a trusted consultant
  • Always remember that in a pivot, you still have one foot in the current situation
  • Get the feedback from the market fast on your initial pivot so you can still go back and try again
  • Don’t be afraid, you got this! You have done it numerous times in your life already
  • And GO!

 

This article is written by Maarten who is a bizzi MicroConsultant specialising in business strategy and optimising your operation through technology. Maarten is available for on-demand consulting sessions through bizzi MicroConsulting. View his profile and book him for a confidential chat to help your business decision making.

 

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