Do You Need to Pivot? — Adapt to the Market

By Tom Sponsel, CPA/ABV, CFF
Managing Partner
tsponsel@sponselcpagroup.com

Life doesn’t always go as planned, especially in the business world. But don’t be afraid of change! Use any detour or setback as a springboard toward new and exciting opportunities. As the year slowly draws to a close, you may want to ask yourself if your business needs to pivot in a different direction — which may include changes in product or services, marketplace, management, salesforce, maybe even the go forward vision for your company!

Many companies have done this with great success. Take PayPal, for instance. After operating as a subsidiary of eBay for more than a decade, it went on to thrive as an independent company. It changed its business model to attract users across multiple platforms outside of the eBay auction community. It smoothly stepped out of eBay’s shadow and formed its own identity.

Ash & Elm Cider Co., the start-up business featured in this month’s client profile, also adapted in a similar way. The founders, Aaron and Andréa Homoya, originally wanted to tap into the craft beer industry. But as they saw it crowding the market in Indianapolis, they decided to stand out by making and selling hard cider instead. (Read more about them and their company here.)

Other companies that successfully changed their business models include: Yamaha, which started as a piano company and went on to manufacture motorcycles, car engines, boats and more; Nokia, whose roots as a paper mill grew into the start of a mobile communications brand; and Abercrombie & Fitch, which detoured from sporting goods to focus on selling clothes. These are just a few of the many examples of booming businesses that have evolved for the better.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t stubbornly stick to your initial vision if your results are disappointing — a brighter opportunity may be around the corner. Strive for innovation and challenge the status quo. And most importantly, prepare for failure. But don’t think of it as a final step — it’s just part of the pathway toward success.

This advice is very true for “start–ups,” which are trying to bootstrap their way to financial stability, as well as mature companies. Do you recall that IBM (the largest mainframe computer company at the time) thought the personal computer was not going to be an acceptable product in the marketplace and left the marketplace wide open for young startups at the time — like Dell!

Be OPEN to the PIVOT: Listen to your customers and the marketplace!

If we can assist you further with achieving success in your business or personal affairs, please contact Tom Sponsel at (317) 608-6691 or email tsponsel@sponselcpagroup.com.

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