Is Your Business Ready to Pivot?

Pivoting is a term that is well known within the circles of technology start-ups. It is one with which every small business should become more familiar.

Pivoting is shifting your business strategy on short notice as a result of any number of expected or unforeseen circumstances.

Today Google announced Google Drive – a free cloud computing service that will compete directly with market leader Dropbox – and many others.

Given Google’s deep pockets, this is sure to change the game of cloud computing. A similar move by PayPal promises to give mobile credit card processing market leader Square a run for their survival.

Are they ready to pivot?  Is your business ready to pivot?

Your Plan B is Not Enough

Smart businesses are always ready to respond to changing market conditions. Unfortunately, markets today can literally change overnight.

Most businesses do not have a plan B.  They make the assumption that they will have time to develop one over a period of years.

No more. How many homeowners expected their property values to be cut in half overnight – and possibly forever? Not many. Combine that with a reduction of income or job loss and the results are devastating.

It’s the same with business. I work with companies that plow snow, and many of them just experienced a winter where revenues were 10-20% of normal. Could your business survive a similar reduction?

All of the leading cloud computing services offer 5 gigabytes of free space and charge for additional space thereafter. That is presumably how they expect to pay their bills.

If Google wanted to, they could easily up that free space to 50 or 100 gigabytes. Why would they do that?  In addition to the fact that they can, because keeping users within the Google ecosystem is advantageous. They can easily make up the difference elsewhere from the hundreds of other Google services.

These are changing times where we all should be considering what could be next, and even what if our plan B proves to not be a viable solution.

Then what?

What’s Next and What’s the Solution?

During the heady days of the boom, a friend of mine who worked in the financial services industry suggested that all stocks could go to zero. As ludicrous as this seemed, it pretty much proved to be true for many.

What could go to zero in your business or industry?

Is it possible that someone would be willing to do what you do for free?  Yes, it is.  As a professional speaker, I realize there are many aspiring speakers who would gladly accept an opportunity to speak for an audience just for the exposure.

While they may not be able to deliver the goods, there will undoubtedly be some meeting planners who will roll the dice. It happens – and it could happen to you if you are not ready to pivot.

It has been said that desperate times require desperate measures. Isn’t it better to prepare for whatever may be possible?

Pivoting should become part of your business planning – and not just during your annual strategic planning.  

My suggestion is to consider how digital can be part of either the problem or the solution. Accidents are unpredictable. Digital trends are not.

Stay tuned and I will do my best to lead you to the solutions that promise to keep your business relevant, viable, and profitable.

Get ready to pivot.

You may never have to, but I have a feeling you probably will. Look for a follow-up article here on best practices for preparing to do so. You may also wish to become a subscriber.

In the meantime, these recent articles offer an analysis of recent trends and some pragmatic ideas to consider:

Innovate or Die – The Race to the Top

Presentation Skills for Marketers

Social and Mobile are Universally Global

Leave a comment below and share this with your community using any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.

Until next time, Jeff

3 Success Criteria for Any Business Marketing Platform

Historically, the greatest challenge for marketers was reaching their target audience.

This not only required an understanding of marketing skills, but also relationships with the media and the dollars to engage their capabilities.

Now anyone, and especially any business, can (and should) build a platform for reaching their ideal customers.

The traditional barriers to building a successful marketing machine have been removed. As a result, the challenge is using that freedom to create a successful, customer-centric platform that will sustain your business.

Here are 3 essential components that should be part of your formula for building your marketing platform.

 #1 – Quality Products and Services

While having a quality product is no guarantee for success, it is nevertheless essential for getting into and staying in the game. Entrepreneurs commonly break into an industry by providing something that is new, better, or different. That’s enough to get you into the game.

To stay in the game it is necessary to constantly innovate, cut costs, and better serve the needs of your customer base.

Little things matter. Learn how to discover and adapt to them.

I have personally developed a habit of making notes of observations that can bring my game to a higher level. It’s a practice that true professionals share. So, whether you use a notepad or a mobile device – take notes, and more importantly, act on them!

#2 – Relationships with Influentials

Influentials in the entertainment business are celebrities.

For small business professionals like you and me, the influentials are your customers.

Customer relationships build and sustain businesses. It’s an uncomplicated formula that always works.

You can have the best product in the world, but you are not really in business if you do not have loyal customers. Your customer list is the potential value of your business.

Treat your client list like gold, because it is.

Depending upon your market and business type, you can build and maintain an extremely profitable business by simply nurturing your relationships with the influentials that trust you and your business – whether they are few or many.

Everyone loses a customer from time to time. However, as long as your core constituency is well-served, you will retain and earn the trust of others just like them.

#3 – Unique and Specific Positioning

A colleague of mine is a professional speaker with a unique skill that positions him exceptionally well. His specialty is summarizing meetings and events with humor. He is indeed the original and ONLY Professional Summarizer.

I have another friend who publishes a magazine for a destination that is the ONLY one to reach visitors before they arrive at that destination.

When you can position your business as the ONLY one in a unique category – you have a marketing platform without rivals. 

How can you change the game you play – redefining it such that you are ONLY one that can win it. That is sustainable differentiation.

Whatever it is may only be temporary, as everything these days it easily copied. Nevertheless, that should not stop you from capitalizing on it.

Study the trends, because keeping ahead of them is where the fun and opportunities lie!

Leave a comment below and share this with your community using any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.

Until next time, Jeff

Photo Credit: FloatingLemmon

2012 Social Media Predictions for Mainstream Small Business

The maturation of the social networking channels may well prove to be the tipping point for attracting a majority of mainstream small businesses who have yet to jump into this pond. One can understand the reluctance, especially as the noise level on the social networks continues to approach the breaking point. #1 – The Quality […]

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