In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can employ
today to find new pivoting opportunities for your business.
In one’s quest to building a profitable business it’s not
uncommon to have many ideas enter and leave the drawing board. Eventually we find
the one, and there we go for the following weeks, months or even years to try
to put that one idea to test. Sometimes it is the case that we did find the
one, and we move from worrying about the viability of the idea, to how to
establish our position in the market. Sometimes however, we have to go back to
the drawing board, which might mean erasing the whole idea altogether, or take
a not as harsh approach as making a simple pivot.
Ways to find new pivoting opportunities
Just like the creative process entailed when we are on the
search of a new business idea, finding the direction to which to pivot an
existing idea can be done in many different ways. Below are a few.
1. Try a new
Sometimes a product or service is valuable
to more than one custumer segment, and for one reason or another we focus on one
of them. On your quest to find new pivoting opportunities for your business
idea, looking at other potential customers you didn’t yet focus on, might be
just the kind of change you need. If this is possible the adaptations you need
to make in the product/service can go from minimal to completely unnecessary.
Another advantage of course is that you
might also get to own a large percentage of an untapped segment, just as if the
idea was a complete innovation, which it is, but instead of being so for the
world, it’s an innovation for a certain kind of customer.
2. Change the business model
Another rather common kind of pivoting you
can also employ is to redesign the business model. Maybe the kind of customers
you attract although interested on what you have to offer don’t work well with
the charging structure like for example one time purchase vs monthly or yearly
re-billing, then changing the business model might be just the kind of change
your business might be in need of.
Just like trying a new customer segment for
which the product/service is still of value, changing the business model, might
in some situations require little to no modification in the product/service,
with the added benefit of attracting more paying customers.
3. Develop something new from the parts
In any kind of engineering be that of some machinery,
hardware or software, one idea prevails at the beginning of any problem solving
activity. The idea is to instead of trying to tackle the whole problem at once
and come up with a fully formed solution, to break down the problem into
independent parts. The step that follows is to apply the same idea to each sub
problem until one finds itself with only
small manageable problems at hand. From the more broken down versions of your
problem you can then build step by step, a solution for the more complex
In computer programming it is often the case that some of
the sub-problems you find yourself with already have publicly available
solutions which come in the form of what goes by the name of libraries. In
those libraries lie computer code that the software developer can use, cutting
down the time it would take to get the whole project done.
Sometimes the parts you create, libraries in SW and pieces
in other kinds of engineering are so useful not only for your project, but to
other projects of a similar kind, that they can by themselves be made a
business on their own. So, if you find yourself wondering to what direction to
take your start up or fully formed business, it might pay to look at not only
previous ideas, but also the tools built to help those same previous ideas come
to life, since there is always the chance that someone who’s currently facing
the same problems you once faced, might be willing to pay for the solutions you
have to offer.
4. Spend some time in the shoes of the customer
When we think of the process of coming up
with an idea for a business, what comes to mind first tends to be the image of
a creative business genius who gets struck by a brilliant idea in their dreams
or while in the shower. In essence, one person comes up with the whole idea, a
team is built, and before we see it, the business is out there making millions
With this kind of strategy, the idea is to
spend some time thinking by ourselves, or as a team, and if we’re lucky enough
we are then blessed with the idea that we so desperately seek.
There is another approach however, that relies less on luck than one
can hope for, and that is to immerse yourself in the environment of your target
customer. It’s not uncommon for new entrepreneurs to get their ideas from their
own day to day environments, where after noticing that something they get in
contact with can be done better, they get then the inspiration to start a
business with a more superior product/service.
get new ideas by doing the same. Instead of polling your potential customers on
what kinds of products/features they would be interested in, you can become
your potential customer, living the way they live, go to the places they go and
eating what they eat, mimicking their lifestyle as close as possible and as
time goes by you to see things the way they see, by feeling their pains and
going through the same problems they go through.
These are just a few of the many pivoting strategies you can
employ on your business specially if it’s a start-up or just an idea. We often
get the advice that one should stay on the same path no matter how many
failures one faces. Einstein is known for have said that taking the same
approach over and over again with no results is a sign of insanity, and so we
find ourselves wondering what to do if and when we fail in life: quit or keep
going? Both answers for this question carry their own hidden implications. If
you vote for quitting, the implication is that no matter what you did you’d
never succeed, while if we take the opposite approach, the assumption is that
no matter how many times you failed you’d eventually succeed, both of which
none of us can ever prove or be sure of.
The real question here is what is your overall goal? Is the
idea in question just a means to a larger big picture goal that can still be
accomplished if we take another path? Or is the idea/business in question the
big picture goal?
It is all about knowledge and experience 😉
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