Did you pivot your business too early?

It always stuns me to see business owners turn away from the opportunity staring them in the face.

Actually, that word “opportunity” is a bit of a distraction. It implies chasing a new market.

Look, I get why that’s attractive. The grass is always greener, right? You know your own industry so well, that you feel there is no more gold in those nearby hills.

“My industry is stuck”

People in your industry don’t want to change.

Your clients are used to doing things the same old way.

And anyway, if you just applied your existing talents into some new market, you’d be rolling in money.

Except for one fact.

You don’t know the market. You are turning your back on the existing market, and the most lucrative source of revenue you have right now: your clients. Yep: the ones who are already paying you.

I have asked owners of bricks-and-mortar businesses where their revenue comes from. They always say “your regular customers.”

Just because it’s easy to pivot …

But you’re different, of course. You’re in the digital space. And chasing a new market, with a new offering, using a new marketing channel that you have never tried before seems so attractive.

Business 101: Use Your Advantages

No, I’m not saying you should never work in a new field. I’m not saying you should stick to the verticals you already have worked in for years. But I am saying this: trying one thing new may already be enough of a pivot for you, without trying lots of new things that you don’t know at all.

Imagine someone else coming into your industry as the disruptor. They are trying to be “the Uber of” your industry. Would they have more advantages than you?

Bloom where you’re planted

“All very well”, you might tell me, “but what can I sell to my existing clients? The market is already saturated.”

Maybe. Or maybe not.

But let me ask you this: if you had to spend six months without doing any marketing, what value could you provide to your existing clients? If you had no other way of getting your name out there than word-of-mouth and the recommendations of your existing, happy clients, would you be able to survive?

I have seen companies with hundreds of long-term clients, an immediate opportunity (valued at $1.2 million) to upsell those clients to a product that is ready and is high value to both the clients and the vendor, but they were determined to chase a brand new market where they had no foothold at all.

Existing Buyers? That’s hard evidence.

Your happy clients have already bought from you. That is hard data. Clients in a new industry may need to be educated about you, and about your offer.

If you pivot too early, you may confuse your existing customer base. They may feel you have left them behind.

It’s important to look for new opportunities, but you also need to pick the low-hanging fruit first.

So, over to you. What specific opportunity do you have to reach existing customers and sell them higher value services? If you had to identify a lookalike audience, based on the customers that have already paid you over the long term, how would you go about that?

Anthony English