January. The time of year you are bombarded on social media with new year’s resolutions and commitments to be a better YOU. Bento is not here to tell you about the latest diet fad or How-To-Become-A-Millionaire. We want to talk about your business - does your store need some New Year’s resolutions, and how drastic of a pivot is called for?
What IS a Pivot in Business?
A pivot means changing the direction of a business when you realize the current products or services aren't meeting the needs of the market - or your means of operation are no longer working for you. It’s taking corrective action and it’s not just for businesses that are struggling financially. You might have made a business decision that you regret, or it could be a proactive change if you expect bumpy roads ahead. Or maybe you have been recently feeling like your business isn’t where you want it to be or not functioning how you want it to function.
People tend to think of small businesses and startups with business pivots, and for good reason. These kinds of businesses inherently need to be agile and flexible to make it in the big wide world of commerce. But being open to change is important for large corporations too, especially in the current climate. Let’s use Facebook as an example. It started as a dating site but pivoted to social media early on. Now that Facebook has grown further into Meta, we can see it has pivoted back to encompass an online dating sector, most likely to compete with sites like Tinder or Hinge and in response to the stay-at-home orders.
Why You Need to Pivot Your Business
There are a variety of reasons you might be looking to make a change. You might have started your business with an idea of which key demographics you would be targeting - say you thought your homemade dog treats would be bought mostly by older, wealthier couples. However, after doing some research you find it’s actually young single people who make up the majority of your customer base. Similarly, you might be struggling to find your niche, perhaps the market for your product is oversaturated. This could account for a significant change in marketing and branding or even a complete overhaul of your store.
Smaller stores or businesses are also prone to a “vision change”. You might notice all of a sudden that your business isn’t going in the direction you initially saw for it. Or maybe, if you take on most of the grunt work, the direction of the business no longer suits your lifestyle, and you no longer want to feel like you’re constantly playing catch up. On that note, maybe you are realizing that your pricing is ineffective if you feel you are overworked and underpaid - or on the opposite end, not attracting customers because your pricing is too high. There are a myriad of reasons to want to change something about your business. Remember, you have great instincts if they’ve gotten you this far. If something doesn’t feel just right, you hold all the power to change it.
How Exactly Do You Update Your Business Model?
Congratulations! You have decided to make some big (or small) changes to your business model, and we have a handy how-to for you to follow.
Pick your new goals or outline your vision. Start with what you want the end result to be and work backwards. Answer these questions:
It might also be helpful to utilize customer feedback. Your customers have a very different experience with your business than you do, and so will have unique insight on your areas for improvement. You can use this app, Enquire, or countless others like it to send surveys to your customers, or Yotpo that will get some honest reviews after a customer makes a purchase. Your customers can shed some light on where they see or feel hiccups and point you in the right direction. The trick here is to ask pointed questions to get the answers you need. Otherwise, you might be left sifting through a lot of fluffy reviews instead of substantial feedback.
If you’re feeling like you know you need to make a change, but don’t know where to start, you can always reach out to agencies or consultants in your area or beyond. A fresh pair of eyes and expert advice can help pivot your business in just the right way.
With these past few years, it can feel like global pandemics, changing governing bodies and supply chain shortages are all trying to take your business down, but large corporations are not immune to that either. So, all businesses, big and small, should be using this new year to reflect on their own path. If it needs a change, go for it! You know BentoSMB will be here to help any way that we can.
Earlier this year Shopify launched the Shopify App Challenge. The brief, create an app that helps solve a challenge amplified by COVID-19, but that would also have staying power beyond the pandemic crisis. We knew, without a doubt, that we wanted to be a part of this challenge. So, our small team set to work building our second public Shopify application, Recipes.