15 ways to know if you should keep going or pivot your business
From taking market trends into account to issues with revenue, here are 15 answers to the question, “What are some ways to indicate that a business should either keep pushing or pivot its business strategy?”
- Observe Market Trends
- Measure the Success of Current Initiatives
- Set Benchmarks to Indicate When Strategies Must Change
- Your Company Is Always Playing Catch Up
- Check Your ROI
- Compare Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
- Track Different Metrics to Spot Trends
- Lead Generation Is Slowing
- Your Energy and Enthusiasm Levels Are Low
- Very High Competition
- Failure to Stand Out
- Monitor Customer Behavior
- Compare Actual Customers With Your Target Audience
- Try Ruling Out SEO Issues
- Insufficient Revenue to Cover Expenses
Observe Market Trends
Even when things are going well, businesses must continuously perform market research regarding their industry’s trends. Doing so will provide insight for businesses into whether their current strategies remain helpful.
For example, over time, aspects of their target audience may change. Here, the business may need to change its messaging. Monitoring industry trends is crucial to determining businesses’ future strategies.
Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO, & Nurse Practitioner, Skin Pharm
Measure the Success of Current Initiatives
One way to show that a business should either keep pushing or pivot its business strategy is to measure the success of current initiatives. We can do this through market research, customer feedback, and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs).
By using these measures, businesses can better assess whether they are making progress toward their goals or if it’s time to change direction. If progress is not being made, then it may be time to pivot and re-evaluate the strategy in order to stay competitive and achieve success.
Amira Irfan, Founder & CEO, A Self Guru
Set Benchmarks to Indicate When Strategies Must Change
When your business hits a certain performance level, recognize that it may be time to reassess strategy or overall trajectory for an outcome.
For example, if business leaders don’t want client turnover to surpass 3%, they should change their approach once churn hits that amount or just before. Benchmarks allow businesses to act proactively to keep their goals realistic and attainable.
Strategic business planning must always connect to performance metrics to project likely results. Before your client churn gets out of hand, use benchmarks to know when to implement new products or retention strategies to keep your business in line.
Kevin Miller, Founder
Your Company Is Always Playing Catch Up
The fast-paced nature of the modern business world means that there is no time to waste for businesses. If you find your company often playing catch up to competitors in terms of revenue and customer retention, the time is perfect for pivoting.
The process of failing is not as bad as crumbling into extinction. Sometimes patience can pay off, but most times it can further damage company credentials. In this scenario, look to pivot your business strategies as it can open up new opportunities, especially regarding stabilizing the revenue issues.
Simon Bacher, CEO & Co-Founder, Ling App
Check Your ROI
An indication that cannot be ignored is Return On Investment (ROI). This helps businesses understand if their efforts are working and reaching their target audiences, leading to actual conversions or not.
By understanding consumer behavior and their purchasing habits for your product/service, a company can make an informed decision on whether or not to continue them.
Jenna Nye, CEO, On the Strip
Compare Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Analyze the current performance of the business and compare it to both short-term and long-term goals. If the business is falling short of its goals, then it may be necessary for the business to alter its strategy in order to achieve better results.
Additionally, staying abreast of changes in customer preferences and competition can help businesses determine if their current strategy is still viable or if adjustments need to be made.
Michael Burghoffer, CEO, PicoSolutions
Track Different Metrics to Spot Trends
In my opinion, adapting to newer developments must be added as a potential scope within the ongoing strategies. The best way to figure out whether your strategies need a full stop or can continue is by using several metrics and analyzing the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction.
For instance, your employee turnover rate could say a lot about your resource utilization and the working environment you’re providing. Studying historic metrics about your own business can aid you in spotting a trend for reversals or continuation. Moreover, go through what your competitors are doing, particularly in those areas where you feel they’re doing well.
By doing so, you hold the competitive baton and bring in the necessary push to your strategies or even develop a new one. Just a perfect blend of all these accessing factors can take your growth a long way!
Walter Lappert, CEO, Triad Drones
Lead Generation Is Slowing
There can be a variety of reasons that sales may drop, but for lead generation, it’s almost always based on the current business strategy.
So it’s important to make those pivots when you see consistent signs of distress. The “wait and see” approach may seem like the safe way to operate, but losing profits never resembles any type of positive strategy.
Victor Mathieux, Co-Founder & CEO, Miracle Brand
Your Energy and Enthusiasm Levels Are Low
It may be time to make changes if you’re not feeling as motivated or as excited to advance with your business as you once did.
This may manifest itself in several ways, either emotionally or physically, such as feeling burned out or physically showing that a change may be necessary.
Reviewing your founding principles and core beliefs can help you adjust your course. Let the research and facts refresh your plan.
Kurt Uhlir, Chief Marketing Officer
Very High Competition
One of the clearest indicators that it’s time to pivot your business is very high competition. It’s challenging enough to survive in a market with mid-level competition, let alone when there are too many companies and brands competing together.
You might have brought an original idea to the market. But now there are too many people doing the same thing. And large corporations are always keen on hopping on the bandwagon and following trends.
They have more resources, so fighting with them seems impossible. If you compete with too many companies, it’s time to change routes.
Shaun Connell, Founder & CEO, WritingTips.org
Failure to Stand Out
Your project could appear innovative and one-of-a-kind at first, but it’s simple to be overtaken by a larger corporation with a ready market and a similar but superior offering.
Starting out in a crowded market or competing with a big firm may be rather discouraging. And it won’t take long to realize that this might not be a conflict you can prevail in.
Fortunately, there is still a possibility in these circumstances. It’s possible that a single unique feature or a distinctive business model will help your product stand out from the competition.
Sean Harris, Managing Editor, Family Destinations Guide
Monitor Customer Behavior
Observing changes in customer behavior is one way to determine whether a company should maintain its current strategy or make a pivot. If customers no longer respond to your current marketing strategy, it is perhaps time to shift gears.
Moreover, if sales are declining or remaining stagnant, you should try to shake things up and consider a new tactic, pricing, or approach to advertising.
If it’s clear that you’re no longer competitive in your market or you’ve hit a plateau, you have no choice but to change. Otherwise, you might as well just throw in the towel and be done with it.
Kyle Kroeger, Founder, Via Travelers
Compare Actual Customers With Your Target Audience
Check whether your actual customers are the same people you set as your target audience. This will let you know if your marketing and sales initiatives are actually reaching the people you intended.
If you find that most of your real customers do not belong to any of the target audience groups you previously identified, it’s a good indicator that your business is wasting resources and valuable opportunities, which are clear signs you should refocus your strategy.
Jonathan Merry, Co-Founder & CEO, CryptoMonday
Try Ruling Out SEO Issues
Has performance on your landing page improved after making adjustments based on data insights? High bounce rates don’t always mean the business is a dud. It could mean that the customer experience has pain points that can be addressed. This could mean adding better pictures, or changing up the order of information displayed.
If after making these changes, the data doesn’t show improvement over time, you may find that the issue might be foundational, as in the premise of the business.
On the other hand, if after doing your SEO due diligence you see improvements, it means that customers are still seeking your brand to solve the problem you’re addressing.
Karden Rabin, Co-Founder, CFS School
Insufficient Revenue to Cover Expenses
The most common reason for a pivot is money—it all comes down to the capital. If your business is leaking funds and your current strategy isn’t bringing in enough revenue to cover expenses, you’re essentially stuck on a sinking ship if you choose to do nothing.
If you’re running out of money, it’s time to consider a pivot while you still have enough funds and time to put efforts into saving the company. Look at your business objectively; a task easier said than done for entrepreneurs who are passionate about their products. Bring in another unbiased party who can give you the hard truth and help you troubleshoot potential solutions. Don’t tie yourself to a business idea simply because you’re emotionally connected to it—unless you’re prepared to go down with the ship.
Maximilian Wühr, CGO & Co-Founder, FINN Auto