New business: Some considerations and why it’s okay to pivot

New business: Some considerations and why it’s okay to pivot

When your business is very, very new, everything about it is a trial.  You may think you know your target market and what will appeal to them. You may even have done massive amounts of research to support it, but until it's put to the test, it's still theory.  It's perfectly fine to pivot in your business, but as the article in the link states, you need to ensure you learn from the reasons why you're pivoting in the first place. My business has pivoted twice during it's relatively short life and as a result, I've picked up a few tips along the way. What better way to start off a new focus than to share these with others? Without further ado, I present the following:

Tips for the new business owner

Consider your business name carefully.
Building a brand around you as an individual can be really powerful, but has implications as far as your exit strategy goes.  If you never plan to sell your business, then it's not so important, but not many of us have crystal balls. The path to starting and maintaining a long and successful business has many twists, turns and unexpected surprises! Where you are now is definitely not where you'll be in 12 months time as you grow your business and grow yourself to keep up with it.

My experience:
In the beginning Joy and Resonance was originally named shanwatts.com. I quickly realised, however, that if I wanted the option of eventually selling my business, it wasn't a good idea to tie it's branding to me, personally. I'm not sure whether I'll want to sell at some point, but I like the idea of keeping my options open. As a result, Joy and Resonance was born.

Don't be afraid to mix things up a little
There'll be times when you realise your offerings don't really reflect the reasons why you started your business in the first place. It may be the offerings themselves or it may be the way you're structuring or promoting them. The end result is the same - if what you're doing isn't meaningful to you, personally, then eventually your business will reflect that and feel less than ethical - to both yourself and those you interact with.

My experience:
Joy and Resonance has undergone a number of changes during its short life. In fact, at times it's felt a little like the Goldilocks story. At first I offered purely coaching services and tried to mimic what others were doing to create success, but that felt too restrictive and false - it just wasn't me. Then came Resonate eMagazine, but that felt too expansive and didn't get any of my personal creative stuff out into the world. I felt I was always chasing deadlines without any real satisfaction on my part. Finally I found something that felt j-u-s-t right and the focus of Joy and Resonance is now on Business and Digital Marketing mentoring, tuition and management.  Nod your head if you've ever felt the same way about finding your niche.

Always keep your big 'WHY' in mind
You may start off thinking that there's only one way of adhering to the big reasons why you're doing what you're doing. In reality, all paths can lead to the same destination. Explore different ways you can accomplish your 'why'. If you're unsure, discuss it with others who relate to your vision and who you trust.

My experience:
When I did the financials and realised that Resonate just wasn't cutting it, I had a lot of thinking to do. I thought about my reasons for being in business. These revolved around two things:

  • being of service and providing value
  • making enough money to live my ideal life

When I sat and looked at my core strengths and the things I really love doing, I realised that I'd been carrying around this idea with me that 'being of service' meant either healing or being involved in the area of personal development.  As a result I'd confined myself to a very small box in terms of the ways in which I could make manifest 'being of service'. Once I was able to expand upon what that might look like, the rest flowed easily and effortlessly. Have you ever been in a situation where you've felt cramped and uncomfortable and knew that you weren't really living your real purpose in life authentically?  You know how frustrating it is, then!

Same/Change road sign

This image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Don't be afraid to let your customers/clients know
If you decide that pivoting is for you, don't be afraid to let those already involved with your business know. It's important to keep them informed and let them know of the new direction you're heading in. If it's not right for them it gives them a chance to say goodbye and thank you for their previous interaction with you and if it is, then they may be even more excited to stay in touch to see what the new vision for your business looks like.

Either way, you're keeping them informed - surprising people in terms of what to expect from you aren't always a good thing.

My experience:
When I let everyone connected with my business know that I was heading in a new direction, I expected mass unsubscribes and to hear the sound of crickets. In reality, what I got were amazing emails of support and thanks for putting Resonate out and including contribution from so many wonderful women, my subscription group wanting to stay together because we'd all connected so beautifully and only 16 unsubscribes.  For me, it was confirmation that although I was heading in a relatively different direction, albeit with the same aim of being of service, I was on the right track and that those with whom I felt a strong relationship returned the feeling.  What a wonderful affirmation!

Summary

Since revamping my business to be more aligned with the reasons why I established it in the first place, I've picked up a major global client, and now manage their social media community across various platforms. I've learnt even more as a result.  I've also picked up a smaller, local client, have a number of speaking/presenting gigs due to increased networking opportunities and a regular guest spot on the local Community Radio station once a month, where I discuss various aspects of small business and provide tips and hints on how to be more ethical, organised and successful with the show's host, Ruth Haggar.

My point?  As a small business owner, particularly if you're just starting out, it's really important to think about what else you can add if your existing offerings aren't doing as well as you expected. In fact, all along in business it's a matter of constantly tweaking to make sure you're keeping up with the needs and wants of your target market. If that means heading in a different direction, better to do it now rather than later, and not to fret over it, just get in there and do it.  You might be surprised by the results!

If you're setting up a new business know that you can be authentic and stay connected to your own communication style and ethics as you create a business that's perfect for you and your clients. You'll get your offerings out even more effectively as a result.  Don't be afraid to mix it up a little and ensure that the way you approach your business is always, always, ALWAYS related to the reason why you're doing this in the first place.

Do you know someone who might benefit from this article?  Why not share with them? You might be responsible for sparking a whole new range of ideas in their brain or helping them decide on a major business decision, just by letting them know they're not alone in the decisions they face, and that it's okay to change their offerings around until, like Goldilocks, their choices are j-u-s-t right.

 

7 Comments

  1. Shan, you blaze a brave, chutzpah-filled, shining path for me. Watching you flex and shift and pivot over these last months has been awe-inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing from your transparent, and brave, heart.

    xoxox
    Sue

  2. This is amazing and I love it – it could not have come at a better time.

    I thank you for this and I love that you are sharing from an honest place.

    Much love to you —

  3. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and courage Shan. Blessing to you in your amazing journey.

  4. Sue, you leave me speechless. Thank you for the incredible compliment. I’m so incredibly thankful to class you as a friend.

    Renee, I’m so very glad that you find this helpful. I believe we all have so much to give in this world. Sometimes it takes a while for us to find the right things to share in the right time that speak to others as well as ourselves. I’m so very proud to call you friend as well!

  5. Jacqueline, thank you for your beautiful blessing. May our journeys always bring abundance, not just in terms of material stuff but in terms of emotional, mental and spiritual gratification. (Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?!)

  6. This is a very helpful article as I am a midst of making changes. Moving my holistic happiness coaching for survivors of abuse to a new site specifially for abuse and trauma survivors and keeping happyhealthy365.com (my current, only site) as a general place on healing and holistic health

  7. Hi Kat, I’m so glad you found it useful. I took a peek at your site and it looks as though you do amazing work. I hope the move to the new site is a great success for you! I’m planning a new site launch (complete with new business name) later this year to reflect my own change in direction and it’s both exciting and daunting to even think about. Thank you for your comments.

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