pivot or 180 road ahead

Pivot or 180? Video

Pivot or 180? Transcript

If you’re like me you’re tired of hearing the word “pivot.”  Thanks to Lean Startup, pivot has become a buzz word that gets used way too often in some circles.  Maybe it’s just me that’s annoyed by this.  Comment and let me know if you are as well.

But I do have to admit that there’s value to the truth behind the idea of pivot.  There are amazing benefits to getting your idea out there in the world in action instead of just talking about it.  There’s a lot more learning that takes place.  Once your idea is out there, you can always iterate and pivot or pivot and iterate your way to success.    If your idea stays in the thought realm and never gets put into action, you limit your chances of success.  So there’s some good lessons involved with the idea of pivoting.

Pivoting isn’t the full story though.  Sometimes a small change isn’t what you or your business needs.  Sometimes you need a to do a complete 180.  Sometimes your business didn’t end up like you thought it would.  Sometimes you need to close-down, remodel, and re-open with an entirely new approach.  Sometimes you need to trash your entire suite of products and services and start again from scratch.  Pivoting isn’t the full story.

So, how do you know which path is the best way forward for you and your business?  Should you pivot slightly or do you need a 180 degree change?

The short answer: It depends.  It depends on your industry.  It depends on your stage in the business.  But most importantly it depends on you and your customers.

Today, I have 2 checks and balances to determine if you should pivot or make a 180.

1. Check Yourself.

Go off on your own for however long you need.  Bring your head and your heart.  List all the logical and emotional reasons to make a pivot, do a 180 change, and to stay the same.  Push yourself to think deeply.  Don’t rush yourself.  Get all the reasons out.  Then, read them through to yourself a few times.  Mull them over.

You and your business are intertwined.  You HAVE to do what’s best for you.  If your business doesn’t work for you, sooner or later it will stop working for everyone else.

Find the time and reserve it in your calendar.  Don’t delay.  Do it right now.

2. Check Your Customers

Many people forget the roots of Lean Startup, which are nothing new, just packaged differently.  At its roots, the Lean Startup model is all about talking to your current customers and potential customers.

Sit over coffee.  Send out a survey.  Talk with them on the phone.  Do whatever it takes to get their perspective.

Some Dos and Don’ts

  • Don’t ask them for their opinion about your product.
  • Do ask them about their hopes, dreams, pains, and struggles.
  • Do get to know them and how your service or product fits into their lives.
  • Don’t sit there at your computer planning who to ask and what to ask.
  • Do get out from behind your computer screen and talk with your customers.
  • Don’t wait.
  • Do try to have 1 conversation today.   
  • Don’t just talk to 1 person.
  • Do get info from at least 10 but as many as practical.
  • Do compile all the information your receive.  Take notes.  Write a summary after the conversation.
  • Don’t rush it.  “You can’t rush clarity.” -Marie Forleo
  • Do read through the results a few times.  Mull it over.

You might start to see if you need a minor or major adjustment.  You might also start to see that things are better than you thought and change isn’t needed as much as you expected.  Keep your mind open and be receptive to whatever results come your way.

One bonus tip:

Sometimes (actually more often than not) we’re so close to our businesses that we can’t think objectively about them.  This is why coaching can be so helpful.  Do these exercises on your own or with your team.  Then, consider if having a third-party objective voice (aka a coach) would be helpful.  If you decide the answer is yes, sign up a strategy session here.  We’ll talk about your pivot or 180 decision and what kind of coaching package would fit your situation best.   If you think there’s a 10% chance coaching could be beneficial for you, we suggest taking the chance.  It’ll only cost you a half hour of your time but it could be life-changing.

Comment and Share

Comment and share your thoughts and ideas about choosing pivots over bigger changes.  Where have you done this in your business already?  What advice would you share with others who see this post?