I watched an interesting video at Inc.com this morning. The video is an interview with Tim Jahn of Matchist and it’s all about ‘pivoting’ when something in your business isn’t working. As I watched the short video it suddenly dawned on me. Pivoting, or changing direction in my business, is something I’ve consistently done without ever really identifying it as such. And I’d be willing to bet the majority of successful business owners would agree that they have too. If they ever took the time to think about it. It’s probably one of the most critical elements of creating a successful business, but because we often don’t recognize it ourselves, we don’t mention it to others when asked for business advice.
So I’m mentioning it now.
Lately many of the inspiration quotes that have come across my computer screen deal with the fact that success is built on previous failures. And while that is true, and it’s great to share that with newbie’s just starting out, we never tell them just how to turn those failed attempts into a foundation for success. It’s as if we just expect people to know instinctively what to do. Probably because for some of us the inclination to change direction to solve a problem is a natural born trait. We were born seeing obstacles as something to find a way around rather than something blocking us from our desired goal.
I think of my son at 2 years old grabbing his booster seat, carrying it to the center of our living room and climbing up on it so he could reach the string of the balloon that had floated out of reach. When he realized it was over his head and out of reach, rather than giving up he simply thought of other ways he could reach his goal. Makes sense right?
So why then, do so many new business owners throw up their hands in despair and give up when things don’t work out the way they expected. I see it almost daily in my role as an instructor for virtual assistants. They’ve been open for business for a few months and haven’t been able to land the clients they anticipated. They ask me for advice, but nine times out of ten I know they aren’t going to take it because it forces them to change direction, oftentimes taking them into territory they think is off limits. Rather than risk making the change, they keep doing the same things that haven’t gotten them anywhere.
I realize that when I tell them that they aren’t charging enough or they need to make their target market narrower it might not make sense, but isn’t it worth a try? If what you’re doing now isn’t getting you noticed by clients, what harm is it going to do to try something else, even if it seems totally radical? Besides, I do give solid evidence and reasons that these two seemingly crazy changes work.
No matter how great your original plans for your business are or were, things are changing all around us. As a savvy business owner you need to be able to honestly assess what’s working and what’s not, and then bravely make the changes.
What if the changes don’t work?
Make more changes. Or even go back to things that you didn’t think were working before and try them again a little bit differently. The important thing is to know that in order to grow and succeed you can’t be stuck in a business rut. You have to be willing to change direction if an obstacle gets in your way. Sometimes that involves taking a route that seems scary. But whatever you do, stop doing the same things that aren’t working over and over again. Pivot.