The Power of a Pivot

by BTM

Mon, 03 July 2023

The Power of a Pivot

The ability to adapt and redirect ourselves is essential in all areas of our lives. Business expert Pria Masson explores the need to ‘pivot’ when managing our business. 

Do you recall middle school level Physics where we were taught the concept of a pivot tool? As a recap, it is essentially a tool that allows an object to be moved in a different direction. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you or your business needs - a pivot. The question however is, how do you do this? How do you understand your point of pivot, the direction you want to go and how to get there? There are some basic frameworks that can help you with this process. Let’s dive in.

Find the source of pain
Like a physician, either yourself or with the help of a professional, examine the numbers, find the trends, and locate the problem. It is not as simple as it sounds. The answer is rarely “we don’t have customers”. That is the starting point. The real answer is in why you don’t have the demand you planned. It could be your product or service is priced wrong, it could be your costs are higher than competitors or it could even be that you have a wrong product altogether. Whatever the source of the pain, knowing it is essential because it tells you where to begin. 

Numbers speak – understand what they are saying
If you have been operational, you should and likely would have data. Data on who has purchased your products or services, data on how payments are being made, data on who pays and who doesn’t. This is the tip of the iceberg. Most companies have a lot of data of value without realising it. This is part of the system that will show you what your next change can be. Review it in complete detail or hire someone to. Get more eyes on it and find the trends. Something is likely to spark. 

Find your areas of strength
Most entrepreneurs notice the value of that which is feeding their current business and that which has been added to the price. However, often, there is value to be derived from industry expertise, from understanding value chains, from knowledge related to suppliers, from systems and from processes. These may not give you value if you sell the company, yet, if you’re looking for how to pivot, these will likely be your main points of stability from where you can manoeuvre your next move. 

Look for the ‘point of Ikigai.’ 
My interpretation of the Japanese concept of ikigai in a business context is an adaptation of the original concept. I see it as the point of stability where a product has a demand at a price that is commercially viable for the entrepreneur. You may see a product need and it could be a very real need. However, not all demand can be met in a commercially viable manner. It is possible your existing product doesn’t meet some criteria of this definition. 

It is said that failure is the best teacher, if we are receptive students. In my interaction with clients, I have found that failure comes from external circumstances, from events beyond one’s control and also from events within our control but where we choose incorrectly. Hindsight is 20/20 – but only if you wear the right glasses. When looking for a solution, remember that it needs to leverage what you learned from this amazing teacher. Something new doesn’t always mean starting over, it can mean just reworking where you are now to change where you want to go. 

Pria is the Founder of GMI Advisory WLL– a Management Consultancy that helps companies with their strategy, business plans, presentations and preparing for investors. You can visit her company website to connect with her or follow @guide­_my_idea on Instagram.