Should you pivot? First consider these questions.
Sometimes pivots are necessary to succeed if you're getting little market traction with your new product or service.
Did you know that YouTube started as a video dating site?
Twitter was originally called Odeo and positioned as a site to download podcasts.
Pivots don't have to be a complete overhaul of your go-to-market strategy. They can include incremental changes to help you gain traction and build profitable market share.
I have no magic bullet when it comes to pivots, just wisdom gained from challenges faced by companies I’ve worked with in the past. Here are key things to think about:
Is your product or service well positioned? Positioning is not just what is unique about your solution. Positioning is about delivering value to a market that cares a lot about that particular value. If they don’t care enough, they won’t pay much attention to your solution, let alone pay for it.
Are you targeting the right market? Is there another industry or segment where your solution solves a big challenge and provides better value than existing alternatives? If so, consider pivoting to attract this new or different market segment.
Should you shift your pricing model? There are a number of pricing models to consider, depending on your product or service, such as usage-based, per transaction, number of seats, and tiered to name a few. Just be sure your pricing is easy for your target customers to understand and it communicates the value of what you are offering.
Is there a specific feature or set of features that prospects and customers value over the others in your product? Can these specific features become the new product? Think about what customers use most often vs. features they rarely or never use. No need to clutter your product with features that have little value to users - sometimes this can result in customer churn.
Are you investing in demand creation? So many startups put most of their investment into product development with little left for marketing. Market awareness and consideration don't happen by chance - you have to build it.
Before you decide to pivot, consider the following:
Can you leverage existing product capabilities and resources, or will you need to start from scratch?
Does your product or service align to new or emerging hard trends? Markets are dynamic; don’t quickly dismiss trends that may stick around for the long term and potentially impact your product success. Align your strategy to these trends.
If you change your pricing model, can you map a realistic path to profitability? Err on the conservative side when you do the numbers (yeah, I know, investors and board members like big numbers – but they also hate it when you miss the numbers).
And always take the time to research and gather objective market and customer insights to strengthen your pivot strategy.
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