Kenny Rogers and the Pivot

One of the hardest things to do with your business is to figure out what or when to pivot. It’s really difficult to decide what you should no longer do. There is a temptation to keep putting effort, resources or time into something even though experience shows that it is no longer a wise thing to do. And, you keep putting in the effort, resources or time because you think if you do, you’ll get at least your original investment back (if not magically force the situation to turn around). You’re in good company – we’ve all been through it.

It turns out that the lyrics from Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler” is about the pivot when you’re looking at your business and trying to figure out what’s next. Here’s the song’s refrain:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

We have already talked about the 7 questions you should ask as you’re looking to build or review your business strategy. It turns out that that’s not a one time exercise because sometimes, things change. And sometimes, there are parts of your business that no longer fit. Here are two examples:

Customers: Sometimes you have to walk away from customers and sometimes, they walk away from you. Not every customer who walks through your door is a good customer. And, you may no longer be a fit for every customer that you currently serve. It is healthy to review your customer segments regularly to see what’s the same or what’s changed. And, that’s generally done by seeing how much revenue you generate from each segment, how much cost is attached to each segment in addition to some other things. Pivot by spending time on the customers who you can better serve instead of fighting for all of them. Things change over time. And, that’s okay.

Products: We all start our businesses with a set of products or services that are consistent with what we know are our unique value propositions. We target these products to our ideal customer segments and market/sell them via our ideal channels. Sometimes, these products just don’t solve a problem as before. And, since you’re looking at your metrics regularly, you know customers aren’t buying as frequently or they’ve disappeared altogether. Or, the effort required to service these products has increased. Review how well your products are selling and to whom you’re selling. If the margins aren’t the same as before, do some sleuthing to see the cause. Sometimes there’s room to fix what’s wrong. And at other times, it’s best to discontinue. Product pivots are healthy.

You can apply pivot logic to all parts of your business: your sales channels, how you market, your staffing, what you measure, how you measure, etc. The point is that taking a serious, objective look at what’s no longer working and then, to quote Kenny Rogers, be okay with what to hold and what to fold.

We love to have hold ’em and fold ’em conversations with clients. Contact us to see how we can have this conversation with you. Call 312.208.7329 or email parissa@sixensestrategy.com.

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