What You Need to Know About Pivoting in Business

Owning a business is a rollercoaster and therefore, it goes without saying that you’ll experience some ups as well as some downs in the course of owning a company.

While it is rare for people to throw in the towel altogether, it can and does happen to certain people who no longer feel the passion, for those who don’t see a profit, or for those who simply feel that it’s time to move on.

What is a Pivot?

A more common maneuver in modern business ownership, however, is a business pivot. A pivot refers to making small changes in your company that could lead to significant differences in your bottom line, your clientele or how you feel about things but not scrapping your concept of entrepreneurship overall.

For example, a person who starts off as a virtual assistant scheduling someone’s social media may ultimately realize that they want to focus specifically on Instagram as a platform. They could pivot to become an Instagram only social media manager.

Likewise, that same virtual assistant might later make a pivot to teach other people how to become successful Instagram social media managers. Those small pivots are the business owner recognizing individual things they want to change in their business as well as the market potential.

Why Pivot?

Many times, people pivot in their businesses because they have achieved a certain level of success or capped out what they think they can do in that particular field.

Furthermore, they might be getting questions or comments from other people asking them for a pivot. One such example for me had to do with where I was at approximately two years into owning my freelance writing business.

People kept sending me Facebook messages and requesting free coffee chats and Skype calls in which I discussed how I built and scaled my freelance writing business. I realized the market had an interest in putting together materials to teach people how to become a freelance writer.

Therefore, I made a business pivot to scale back some of the hours I was dedicating to my freelance writing business to direct those hours instead to creating an introductory level course for people who wanted to become freelance writers. Later I then pivoted that into coaching people one on one for a short period of time as well.

Sometimes a business pivot works out in your best interests and could lead to work in a whole new passion. However, this is not guaranteed and you may have to make multiple pivots over the course of owning a business to find your sweet spot. Making a pivot can be extremely challenging but there are a few things you can do in order to make it much easier on yourself. These include:

  • Posting in Facebook groups to conduct surveys or free coffee chats with people to figure out what the next phase of your business could be and whether there’s market interest.
  • Polling your current audience to determine what they most need help with.
  • Considering how you feel every single morning when you get up to go to work? Are you still excited or are you disenchanted and frustrated and is it time for a change?

Knowing that it’s time to make a big shift can be done in one fell swoop, but you might be more comfortable implementing these changes gradually. This means you don’t have to disconnect from your existing business model entirely. Have you ever had to pivot your business?



Laura Pennington

Laura Pennington burned out teaching 7th grade in Baltimore City and realized that traditional education was not for her in the midst of pursuing her PhD in public policy. She launched a freelance writing and virtual assistant career that allows her to work from home on her own time, teaching others how to build at-home businesses and providing content and strategy for major companies like Microsoft. She is a soon-to-be military spouse who has moved four times in seven years with her Navy man. She is a former competitive tap dancer and enjoys spending time with her cats and reading books like a good nerd should.

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