Do You Need To Quit or Pivot?
According to Meriam Webster, "To Quit" means to cease normal, expected, or necessary action. While "To Pivot" means a shaft or pin on which something turns. In business, the action "pivot" means taking a service, product, or feature and using it for alternative use.
Many entrepreneurs come to a point in their businesses where they need to evolve, grow, or quit. So how do you know if you need to quit or pivot your business service or product? Customer trends should be apparent if you have done early testing or a soft launch. Then, as you make sales, you should collect non-intrusive data about your customers that will give you insight into how your product or service is performing.
Suppose your sales are stagnant, consider identifying if you need to expand your market. You may have saturated your market and could benefit from expansion. On the other hand, if you expand to several markets and your sales do not increase, it may indicate that the market has your service and it is not original enough, or your product isn't as competitive. An excellent way to figure that out is also to survey customers.
Another way to see if you should quit or pivot is by identifying other industries. Perhaps, your product did okay in one sector but would benefit another industry altogether. If your product or services does well then you should pivot your product to include that industry too. However, if you find alternative industries and none of them pick up your service or product, it may be a sign that you need to quit.
A pivot can mean multiple options. For example, your service or product may work for another demographic group or industry entirely, or a component of your service or product may only be what your customers need. If that is the case, then your product should pivot to exclusively focus on that feature because that is a solution for your customers. However, if you find that none of your services or products helps, it may be time to close up shop.
Sometimes your product may be too early for an industry. For example, many people found the iPad to be revolutionary. However, touch screen tablets like the iPad existed almost ten to fifteen years before the iPad launched. As a result, that technology only made sense for manufacturing and science industries, not the general consumer market. But after the introduction of cellular phones, which featured touch screens, the market became prime for the touch screen tablet, and the iPad was ready to launch. In cases like this, quitting or pivoting may not be an option. Instead, waiting or focusing on a specialized market may be the best decision.
You can also gauge where an industry is going by reading the trades. That will give insight into how an industry is evolving. It will help narrow a focus, a marketing message, and the ideal customer for your service or product.
Several well-known businesses have had to pivot or quit to become profitable. Amazon only sold books for a long time, and Uber only provided car service. Both companies have expanded into several other industries, markets, and customer bases. It is the natural progression of the business, and you shouldn't be afraid to try it.