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How to scrap your business plan and turn your pivot into a success in four steps

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Nothing stays the same forever. That is truer than ever in the fast pace we conduct business nowadays. Gone are the days of lengthy, time draining business plans which are stuck to rigidly, regardless of the market response.

I am fortunate enough to see countless exciting creative, media and technology companies who have raised external funding and are on an upwards growth trajectory.

Meeting the entrepreneurs behind these businesses is not only driving and inspiring but also a lesson in commitment and ambition. Yet we all know the stats on the ratio of businesses that fail to those that succeed. 

Undoubtedly there are many contributing factors to the success of a business, but an often used powerful tool is a pivot.

Associated with netball from my (much) younger years, more recent experiences of a pivot relate to an adjustment to business strategy based on customer and marketplace response and feedback. And therein lies the key- a pivot must be an informed, mindful decision.

A company may pivot for a variety of reasons including:

  • a change in focus to scale the business
  • adjusting to advancements in technology
  • using research to identify a new target market
  • meeting the changing needs of customers 
  • broadening a customer base to become less reliant on a key revenue stream

While the range of reasons to pivot is broad there are a number of consistent, key contributing factors to make it a success. These include:

1) Receptiveness 

Passion and drive are needed in starting a new business. However, once a business is launched and is engaging with its audience, market and team, it is paramount that feedback is embraced and knowledge is built. Successful entrepreneurs are aware of their position in the marketplace and how it is changing

In a recent survey, we asked entrepreneurs if they had pivoted their businesses at some point. We were surprised to find only 25 per cent had done so, until we asked further questions and discovered successful entrepreneurs were morphing their businesses continuously and making subtle changes every day in response to real-time data, rather than substantial changes in direction.  

Of course, changes in business strategies are reliant on good quality, up-to-date and accessible marketing intelligence – rather than gut reactions, which are personal and perhaps harder to waiver from.

2) Timing 

A pivot could secure the future of a struggling business which faces the options of ploughing on, pivoting or closing up shop. 

Pivoting could scale a business to become the dominant industry player or ensure a market leader’s position is unchallenged. Using accumulated feedback from the market, a self aware entrepreneur requires nimbleness to pivot at the right time, having lined up the right team to execute the strategy.

Continue reading more steps to a successful pivot on page two…

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