Every business owner can attest that entrepreneurship is a journey filled with highs and lows. You can go from having the best month on record to a season of radio silence in your market. If there’s one thing you can rely on in business, it’s change.
For creatives, change is exciting and keeps life interesting. But pivoting in your business is not a decision to take lightly, even when your current situation starts to feel stale.
“Deciding to pivot in your business can be a very costly and time-consuming event,” affirms The Restart Specialist’s Meredith Ryncarz. “Before you take on this journey, make sure you do your research and dive into your current business state to see if it's feasible.”
So, from market research to product development, say you’ve laid the groundwork and taken steps to pivot your business. You’re starting to see momentum, but most days, it feels like you’re carrying the weight of the world. What’s an ambitious entrepreneur to do with their seemingly unending to-do list?
Once you’re on the other side of the transition, follow these tips from pivoting pros for a roadmap to sustainability.
Use your resources
Pivoting an established business is a lot of work, and keeping up with the moving pieces is more than one person can handle! Creating systems and building a team to support your growth is essential for your success—and your well-being.
“Delegate, delegate, delegate!” urges Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events. “Don't try to do everything yourself, especially if you have a team. Instead, utilize their strengths to help manage your brand's offerings.”
In addition to your team, take advantage of existing systems and procedures to streamline the transition. With a few tweaks, your workflows can likely translate to your new business model, so you don’t have to build everything from scratch.
Mind your ROI
It can take a while to see significant results from a pivot, but that’s not an excuse to ignore your numbers. For all of the time, energy, and money you’ve poured into the pivot, it must produce a worthwhile return on investment (ROI).
“Break down the math,” encourages Jenna Porter of Jenna Noelle Creative. “How many hours of the week do you spend on it? What is your financial return? Does it offer you the freedoms and benefits you hoped it might, or has it added stress and work to your plate? Consistently checking in with yourself should keep you on track to achieving goals without getting lost in blind ambition.”
Ryncarz suggests scheduling regular check-ins with your data to evaluate progress, noting, “Once the pivot is in place, we will revisit the performance every six months to a year. We usually look at our new adventure every six months for the first three years. This ensures we stay on track or adjust our offering as needed.”
As you watch the numbers, consider not just the fiscal impacts of a pivot but how it influences business operations and your emotions as an entrepreneur. A highly lucrative shift that leaves you feeling burnt out and miserable isn’t worth pursuing!
Give yourself grace
Change is difficult, especially when it involves your business. When you’ve grown comfortable with how your company operates, it can feel hard to give up all that you’ve built. And when busy season packs your calendar, you might be ready to rein it in.
Instead of calling it quits, Garter Girl Creative’s Julianne Smith encourages entrepreneurs to simply press pause. “Embrace the off-season or the natural breaks in each business. It’s OK to put a project on pause or for something to take months–even years–longer than you hoped it would,” Smith says.
Vizcaino agrees, noting the value of a good, old-fashioned break. “It's important to take breaks, especially when you feel overwhelmed,” she states. “Step away from your brand for a short bit to clear your head and come back refreshed.”
Whether it’s a day off to treat yourself at the spa or the simple permission to work on something else, allow yourself grace and flexibility on the way to your goals.
Know when it’s time to move on
Once the initial excitement wears off, pay close attention to how your business (and your role) evolves. Are you accomplishing the objectives that inspired the pivot? Has it produced the results you expected? If not, it may be time to reconsider your next step.
“Sometimes a pivot does not become successful, and that's ok,” assures Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “Don't stick with something that isn't working just to prove something. Move on and focus on your original model, or try something new! If you don't love it, you aren't making money, or it isn't sparking joy, move on.”
Remember: There is no shame in experimenting and learning in your business! Every experience is valuable, so take what you can from it and start planning your next big idea.
Pivoting in your business can bring up many emotions: excitement, fear, confidence, skepticism, impatience, pride—the works! But, with an open mind and willingness to learn, you’ll find your way to sustainable success in no time.