How to Pivot Your Small Business When It’s Not Working 23 Sep 2019


When you started your business, it felt like nothing could stop you. Your business plan was working out exactly how you predicted and so was your business. That didn’t last.

From outside competition to changes in your market, your company is struggling to keep up. You want to stick to your business model, but should you keep going in a direction that isn’t working?

It’s tricky to know what the right path is for your business. Let’s find out how you can decide if you need to change your business plan. We’ll also explore how you can pivot, or change, your company’s direction successfully.

Is Change the Right Decision for Your Business?

Your business may not be going the way you want it to, but you don’t necessarily have to change your entire business model. Sometimes, all you need to do is fine-tune your plan. Other times, you need to make major changes in how your business operates and the services it offers.

How can you tell if you need to make a change? First, consider your business’s growth. Reviewing your company’s stats each month and comparing them to your projections shows whether or not things are going as planned. Are you spending more or less than you thought? Is your client base stable, growing, or shrinking?

Next, you need to check what’s happening in your market. Is there still a demand for your services? Do your clients want products that aren’t offered by other businesses? Are there new competitors you need to take into consideration? Be prepared to reevaluate your position and take changes seriously.

The founder of Business Broken Down had second thoughts about the direction her blog was going. She had to decide if changing her company would help her future. While she started out creating content aimed at small businesses, she felt that she needed to switch her focus to the topic of entrepreneurship.

But changing her company’s direction meant losses. She’d lose the progress she’d made under her initial plan. Her blog subscribers, social following, and previous content would have to be thrown out. Even though she knew changing her plan would force her to start from scratch, she decided to refocus her business to improve her company.

Each business owner needs to decide whether revising their business is the answer. You have to examine your company’s situation and see if change will help you. Altering your business may be the best option for your company, but it’s confusing to figure out where to start. How can you change your business plan without destroying your business?

Business professional analyzing things that could be making their business fail

Where to Start: Know Where You’re Going

Changing your business is like walking on a tightrope. You have to move forward while not falling and losing all the progress you’ve already made. Here are some steps you can use to keep your balance while pivoting your business:

  • Figure out what’s not working. Did the market change, or is your business doing something wrong? Look into anything that may be contributing to your company’s problems.
  • Revise or scrap your original plan. Decide what changes you need to make. Sometimes you need a relatively small revision, while other times you have to redo your entire business structure.
  • Create a new plan for your business. Take into account what you know about your competitors and your market. If your clients want services or products that other companies aren’t offering, consider using them as a basis for your new model.
  • If you have employees, put some to work on the new model while others keep your existing business going. Keep your employees up to date on what changes you’re making and why.
  • Reconcile your old client base with your new one. Show that you’re confident in your new service or product by advertising it on your website. Offering a free trial or a discount version of your services can entice old customers to give your new offerings a chance.
  • Monitor how your new business plan is working out. Your new business plan is just as susceptible to weakening as your old one. Don’t hesitate to tweak your new model to make it as effective as it can be.
  • Expect setbacks. You’ve already established a business and client base, so it’ll be challenging to revamp your current situation. Plan for possible setbacks and be prepared to slog through the first couple of months. Your income may drop, your customer list will fluctuate, and you’ll probably feel like you’ve made a mistake. Thankfully, things should settle down after a couple of months.

Pivoting your business model takes personal examination and hard work, but it can revive your small business. By revising your company’s plan when it’s not working, you’ll help your business overcome any challenge.

Change Can Save Your Business

When your company started, it seemed like everything was going according to plan. However, it didn’t stay that way. When your business plan isn’t working, changing your business model can help you get through rough times.

Change isn’t always scary. You can decide if you need to revamp your business plan by tracking your company’s overall growth and keeping an eye on your market. If you see major problems in your market or business, it might be time to modify your plan. Pivoting your company starts with identifying where you need to go. Then, you can create a plan to get back on the road to success.