Yes, me, the executive coach who's been at this game for over 15 years and who has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs turn their businesses around, I'm throwing in the towel on my business. Why?
It's Time to Pivot. How Do I Know?
The hallmark of a great entrepreneur is knowing when to pivot. Knowing when to zig or zag depending on what the market is doing can make or break a business. Three years ago, the training portion of my business dried up. Facilitation was in demand. Coaching was steady. Now, training is in demand, facilitation is steady and coaching is steady. My customers are telling me they want something new and specific, so I'm giving them what they want!
I'm in great company! Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, Instagram and Groupon all pivoted from their original plans and became successful companies. A responsible entrepreneur needs to pivot occasionally.
I need a fresh start. You see, I'm one of those people who is great at starting things, but I'm not that great at maintaining something for a very long time - much like most right-brain entrepreneurs and executives, innovators and influencers. I'm a three-year person. (Some people are 5-year people or 7-year people.) I need a fresh start every three years. I recognize that about myself and I know my business is better off if I have a fresh start.
The Market Didn't Love The Idea that I Loved
I started LovingLeaders as a coaching and consulting business to help company leaders focus on sustainability - both personal sustainability and business sustainability. I loved the idea. It was fresh. It was innovative at the time. Most of my clients actually needed this type of help, but had difficulty admitting it. I was passionate about it. The problem? The market didn't love it. Sure, I got business and several clients have stuck with me throughout. But, I had several friends tell me that the weren't comfortable referring business to me because of the company name. I had a researcher at UCSF tell me that she wasn't comfortable submitting an invoice to her boss with my company name. My mom said, "That doesn't sound very business-like" about my brand. Another friend said, "It sounds too soft." The market spoke and I listened.
So, while I'm quitting my old business, I'll introduce you to my new business in my next post.
Don't worry - I'm not going away. (Throwing in the towel is just a bit of hyperbole.)
I'm simply pivoting - but like most pivots, it's pretty significant. And the real significance of a pivot doesn't show up the day you make the decision. The full significance becomes apparent in the months that follow as you live and work into this new direction.
Is It Time for You to Pivot?
If this post has you questioning whether it's time for you to pivot, consider this:
- Markets change faster now than ever before. Is your market telling you that it wants something new, fresh, different or specific that you haven't offered in the past? If so, it may be time to pivot!
- Are your potential customers giving you feedback about your brand or company that indicates you need to change? If so, you may need to pivot.
- Are your sales lagging? Is your pitch winning less and less business? Are your products or services connecting less with customers? It may be time to pivot.
- Are you running yourself ragged, destined for burnout, secretly knowing that you're killing yourself because your business is wearing you out? It's definitely time for you to pivot!
Make sure you're listening to your market, your potential customers and that small voice inside (your intuition) about how long you can be successful doing exactly what you're doing. They will tell you what they want - you just have to listen carefully!