Pivoting Your Business

Pivoting Your Business
Picture of Audrey Kerchner

Audrey Kerchner

Chief Marketing Strategist, Inkyma

Pivoting Your Business

Marketing Strategies Podcast

Episode 5

Pivoting Your Business

I’ve spoken with many business owners during the pandemic of 2020\2021 some pivoted early, some late, many not at all.

The pandemic is an in your face example of why as a business owner you need to remain flexible, agile and always be growing your business. Pivoting your business is not just for pandemics – its for every day your open.

Listen to the podcast to get sound advice to pivot your business in any ecomonmical circumstance.

Check out our previouse episodes on our podcast page.

Thanks so much for listening. If you have a question or a show topic suggestion fill out the contact form below. I appreciate all your feedback.

Pivoting Your Business Transcript

Welcome to Marketing Strategies with Audrey Kerchner, sponsored by Inkyma. Take your small business to the next level with proven creative solutions designed to grow your awareness and connect to your customers. Now here’s Audrey.

This is Audrey Kerchner, co-founder and chief marketing strategist here at Inkyma. Inkyma is a full-service marketing agency, and we bring that big agency feel, process, and customer service to small businesses. We do marketing strategy, branding, website design, and hosting, search engine optimization for our sites, content marketing, social media marketing, and digital advertising. To learn more about what we do or ask us a question or schedule a marketing evaluation, go to our website at Inkyma.com. That’s I-N-K-Y-M-A.com. If this is your first time listening, or you’re only a couple of shows in, we have quite a few that we have recorded already. So make sure that you go back and listen to some of those foundation episodes because there’ll be really helpful when you’re listening to these episodes going forward. You can go to my website to listen to any and all of them, and then we’re also on Podbean and Spotify.

So, this week’s topic, I’m talking about pivoting your business. For the last year, depending on when you’re listening to this, we’re a year into the pandemic and hopefully, on our way out, pivoting businesses has been a very large topic. But what I’m going to talk about today is not only that, but if you’re listening to this two or three years into the future, you don’t need a pandemic to pivot your business. All of this came about is I was having a conversation with one of my clients and he is in sales development, business to business. And he was commenting on how like I said, a year into this and we’re on our way out many businesses haven’t done anything to stay afloat or to improve their business during this time, and it really confused him. And there are many reasons why that’s happening.

So, that’s why I chose today’s subject, is based on that conversation. And so really, to make this something that’s more evergreen content and not specific to just the pandemic, I want to define what pivoting really is, what it was before the pandemic hit, and that’s really growth and evolution of a business, which is something that we should as business owners always be doing and thinking about. So even without a pandemic to give you a kick in the butt or to get you back up to float, there are many reasons why we have to constantly be growing and evolving our business. People change, technologies change, social norms change. They always have, and they always will. And so with those changes, your business has to grow and evolve as well, otherwise, you’re not going to be relevant. So I saw two types of businesses at the beginning of this pandemic, a couple of months in.

One, they use the pandemic as almost like a kick in the pants to say, “Oh, I got to take care of my employees. I got to take care of my customers.” Many people serviced emergency service workers and healthcare workers and they wanted to be there for them, which is amazing. And then there was another kind of business that said, oh, I’m going to wait this out. Their mental thought process was, it’s only going to be a month. It’s only going to be two months. And we know that’s not the case. And so now everybody’s got to keep moving forward. So you can’t stay in that mindset, because here’s the big reason why you can’t stay in that mindset. We are never going to go back to the way things were before the pandemic. Just like 10 years ago, we are never going to go back to that either, because things have changed.

So, many of the things that were put in place by businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic because of safety are now getting shifted to conveniences that customers and clients will want in the future, and will also give you a strategic advantage over the competition. So here’s an example of what happened with my company during that time frame. We have always done video conferencing with our clients prior to the pandemic.

Many of them were resistant to it, some of them were fearful of the technology, didn’t understand it. We took a lot of time educating clients into why this was helpful and useful. And then once they got into it, they really liked it. Now, one of the first questions I get is, “Oh, will you meet virtually with me? Will you do a video conference with me?” And of course we do. And what they like about it is that they can meet from locations anywhere, not just across the country, but within their geographic region.

I work with folks in construction and housing quite a bit, and they’re on the road a lot. And it’s wonderful that they can then go from one job site, sit in their car, have a conversation with me and then get on with their day. They don’t have to meet me at a coffee shop or they don’t have to meet me at any type of office. And then the other thing that I’ve implemented, which everybody really likes, is actually recording these sessions for them.

So, we may be talking about training in some form or fashion, or I may be laying out the solution for their marketing strategy and I record it and then they can take that recording, go back and listen to it again themselves, or share it with colleagues and partners so that they can make a decision on what they want to do. And this has been really, really beneficial. So these are just some of the reasons why you want to talk and think about growth and evolution in your business and start thinking about pivoting.

If you don’t like the term pivoting, growth and evolution, tried and true has always been there. And what I want to tell you is now, right now, right this moment is the perfect time to start. Because if you start now, your company will be better off. So if you say, “Yeah, I’m ready to start now,” well, here’s how and where I want you to begin. So take a look at your current services and offerings. And then think about, can you update them? Can you change them to work with or help you make money with these newer conveniences?

You’re listening to Marketing Strategies. I’m Audrey Kerchner, and this is sponsored by Inkyma, who provides marketing designed to grow your business. You can find us at, in inkyma.com, that’s I-N-K-W-M-A.com. Here at Inkyma, we like to give back to the business community. I provide a free 45 minute marketing consultation to any business owner. Maybe you want to talk about your hosting. Maybe you want to learn what SSL really means, but you’re not ready to do anything about it. And that’s totally okay. This is no sales pressure whatsoever.

You just go to the website, Inkyma.com. That’s I-N-K-W-M-A.com, and click on schedule a marketing evaluation. Maybe you just have a question. You don’t want to have a conversation, you just want a quick question answered. That’s fine too. Go down to the footer, to the contact form, put your information in and put in your question and we will get back to you.

So, I want to talk about some examples and give you some inspirations on what some of these newer conveniences are now that you’re thinking about your business. Virtual doctor’s appointments, Teladocs, that had started lifting off even before the pandemic, and it’s grown by leaps and bounds. Other types of services that can utilize this thought process are personal trainers, folks that do a lot of meetings, a lot of presentations, anything where you would tour something or give tours in person, like in the real estate industry for properties.

Events, no travel required for events, especially if it’s something where it’s costly for people to travel. Think of virtual conventions, people experimented with it this year. But you know, what’s interesting is I actually did virtual event website and software almost actually 12 years ago. So it’s been there, but I think the adoption is people are much more accepting of all of this. And then in the retail space, we have contactless shopping. Let’s think about how that gets turned into a convenience. Me personally, during all of this is we always ordered out and supported our local restaurants on Friday nights.

And I got used to it and actually really liked the fact that I could order online, pay for it and then just go curbside, not have to get out of my car, get my food and come home. And I remember sitting there waiting for my order to come and go, “Goodness, I hope this doesn’t go away when we’re all allowed to be back together again.” And so if I’m thinking that way, I’m sure a lot of people are and smart business owners will be thinking, maybe I’ll get those extra five to ten orders if I keep the curbside pickup. So contactless shopping, think about implementing online ordering, paying online, and then allowing them to get it delivered curbside pickup.

And don’t forget about curbside drop-off. During this time, veterinarians were doing this where they were doing curbside drop-off if you had to have your dog looked at or taken care of, and it was wonderful. They would drive up, the technicians would come out and get the dog, get the preliminary information, take them inside. And then the owners would get a text message when they were ready to have the consult with the physician. And so that worked out really well.

Another area to look at is in-home services. Working from home is going to stay in some form or fashion. Some will be doing it full-time. Others will be doing it part-time, but it’s taken leaps and bounds over this last year. And so those folks that are going to be working from home more often or full time, their mindset is going to shift, meaning what can they do during the day and what in-home services can they get that make their lives much more convenient? So think about dog grooming. I’ve got a meeting at 10:00, I’ve got a dog grooming appointment at 11:15, and then I have another meeting at 1:00, and I never have to leave the house. I just take the dog outside, they groom him in the truck that’s at curbside, and they come back in.

Hairstylists, that’s another great in-home service that could really take off. And then of course there’s the health-related industry. There’s massage therapists, there’s chiropractors, and then doctors, nurses doing house calls, bringing that back from who knows how many years ago when doctors used to do that. And then think about your services and products, more so your products, from that work from home industry. I remember when all of this kicked off and many, many people were working from home. There were certain industries where their business just skyrocketed and it was by accident. So one of them was the home gym equipment. You couldn’t buy a dumbbell to save your life three, four months ago. They were back-ordered, they were out of stock and you couldn’t find them.

And then the other one that kind of threw me a little bit was the computer cameras. So before the pandemic I bought a camera, it was like 30 bucks. It was great. It was high definition, all that wonderful stuff. And I loved it. And so we were thinking about getting a second one so that when we were on calls with friends and family, we could all stand together because they were wide-angle. That $30 product went to $150 and it was a six-week wait time. So these are just some things that just kind of popped up. So when you’re thinking of your existing product and services, really take a look at the existing landscape at the time that you’re in and see if and what you can create from that.

So, once you figure that out, now you have to market it. So it could be one of two things. You create a brand new product or service that is in addition to your existing ones, or you take an existing one and you remarket it to a whole new audience.

You’re listening to Marketing Strategies. I’m Audrey Kerchner and this is sponsored by Inkyma, who provides marketing designed to grow your business. You can find us at Inkyma.com That’s I-N-K-Y-M-A.com.

Just because their mindset has shifted, and again, this is true at any point in time. People change, things change, and so you want to make sure that you’re thinking about that. So now let’s talk about marketing and those products and services. The first thing I want you to do from a marketing perspective is look at your brand holistically. You can go back and listen to the episode on branding. We take a deep dive in how to look at your brand and rebrand yourself or brand yourself for the first time.

Will your current brand fit this new product service or demographic, or do you need to tweak things? Do you need to tweak your philosophy? Do you need to tweak your colors and your pallets? So for example, if you’re brick and mortar and you’re doing bright colors like reds and yellows, you need to shift to a more calming pallet or a more trusting palette because you are now entering people’s homes. That’s why you see a lot of in-home services, plumbers, electricians, cleaning companies. They live in that blue to green, really soft hue, because they’re higher trust colors, people are letting them into their homes.

The other thing you want to look at is do you need to change your logo completely? Most of the time this answer’s going to be no, but you need to definitely take a look at it. Then you need to take a look at your current marketing strategy, or if you don’t have one, create one. That’s also an episode that we have already gone over, lots of tips on how to do that and see what changes that you need to make to your existing strategy to support this new service line.

One of the things you need to look at strongly during that marketing strategy phase is your audience. Are you going to a new audience? Are you revisiting an old audience that maybe wasn’t as lucrative before, but is going to be much more lucrative now under this new service that you’re creating. And you need to change how you speak to them. Is your customer language going to change?

So, that’s a lot of information there, I’m not quite sure if it’s resonating. So I want to give you an example. Let’s say you’re a hairstylist. You did okay during the pandemic, you were getting some people coming in after you were able to reopen up, but you want more. And so let’s say you cater to that workforce, senior directors, VPs, C-suites, that high end type of client, but those folks, they come in evenings, weekends. What if you created a mobile service that caters to them during their workday, by you going to their home and cutting their hair?

So in this example, your audience is the same, but you are absolutely going to talk to them differently. Instead of talking to them about coming in and having a wonderful haircut, it’s going to be, let us come to you during your workday, cut your hair at a time that is convenient for you, and give you back your weekends and your evenings. Different messaging.

The other thing that you want to check too, is part of that is look at the customer persona. Again, they’re working adults, range, all of that good stuff, but their habits probably have changed. They’re not spending as much money on gas. They might be buying other things. They might be more into their health, going back to that example of the fitness equipment, everybody’s got home gym now or something similar to it. And so instead of targeting them on business sites, you may be able to start targeting them while they’re watching workout videos. So you have to take a look at that piece of it too, the persona’s really important.

And then look at your pricing model as well and adjust accordingly. In this hairstyling incidence, you probably want to charge more because you’re going to be mobile. You’re going to have different costs. But the other thing is you’re charging for the convenience. And because they’re home, they will be willing to pay for that convenience. And not only during the pandemic, but I’ve seen this before. People are willing to pay for the value of convenience. And so make sure you adjust your pricing accordingly.

So, once you figured out that target market, you’ve reanalyzed them, figured out how you want to talk to them, now you need to update one of your biggest assets, which is your website, and make sure that the language there matches all of your services. So new ones plus old ones and the target audiences correctly. This may mean just changing some language, may mean changing some imagery, adding pages to the website. So again, in this hairstylist example, add a scheduling button so that they can schedule a time for you to come to their house. And add geographic areas that you are working in, because you don’t want to go too far for something like that.

So once the website’s updated, now you’d need to look at your outbound/inbound tactics and make sure that you’re have all of those in place. You can’t just put it on your website and hope that they show up. You need to have other things in place, like email and social media posting, advertising on Google and Facebook. And then I want you to take a look at a two-pronged approach, one for current customers, one for getting new customers.

You always want to market to your current customers first. They’re already loyal, they already love and want what you have. Then if you create a new offering, they get to test it out. They’re going to be a lot more forgiving if there’s bumps along the way, and they’re going to give you really honest feedback on what they like and they don’t like.

Then the next thing you want to do is then start attracting new customers into that, and both you can charge more for. So when you’re doing this, think of an offer that you can give them. For smaller ticket items, the offer can be 10% off. If it’s a service like personal training, you may want to create a lead magnet, that is a high value download for them on tips on recovering from training and get them into a sales funnel.

So, the rule of thumb is if it’s a lower priced, highly sought after item, you definitely want to have ways to contact them after that first initial contact, but it’s more necessary for those higher ticket services so that you can stay in front of them when they’re ready during that buying cycle. Lead generation and sales funnels are wonderful for that. And then if it’s a product, you can also give them offers to incentivize them.

Just make sure if you’re going to do offers, make the offer to your current customer base much more generous than to the new people that you’re trying to attract. These folks that have been your customers, how many years, however long, they’ve stood by you so you really need to stand by them. And make sure that the new customers coming in see that you give offers to existing customers as well, because they’ll want to be loyal at that point. They’ll think it’s really cool. Like, “They take care of their existing customers.”

So that is in a nutshell how you can go from existing to new products and services, regardless of what’s going on in the rest of the world. And always look at what’s going on in the rest of the world and try to take advantage of changes in people, in technology, and demographics to help your business constantly keep growing and evolving.

I do have one final thought for you on this. Regardless of what you do, maybe you’re making a huge change, you’re adding a whole new product line, or maybe what you’re doing is taking an existing service, not making any changes to it, but marketing it to a new group of people that you have found really, really want it and it’s lucrative for you. What I want you to think about is being consistent, make the change, put everything in place. And at the very, very least, give it three to six months.

I prefer that you give it an entire year to start generating awareness. We as people, it’s human nature that we categorize things into buckets and we have preconceived notions. It actually helps us think better. If we categorize things, we can look at it and move on to something else that really needs our focus. So to change that perception of you or your business in light of this new service offering or change and who you’re giving it to, you got to give it plenty of time for people to understand the difference of what it was before and what it is now.

And that’s where this time of awareness comes in. Let them keep seeing the posts, seeing the emails, seeing the ads. Don’t turn them off, turn them on. Don’t change your language every so often, just keep it consistent. The other thing to remember is that if it’s a higher investment on the customer or client side, the longer it’s going to take for them to make the shift and want to change.

So, now it’s time for you to take some action. I want you to take a look at your existing products and services. Maybe you’ve had ideas on making changes already in your head for years and you just haven’t pulled the trigger. Now’s the time to pick one. It doesn’t have to be huge, but just pick one, and I want you to pull the trigger on it. Do all of the things that I discussed in this show, figure out how you’re going to roll it out. That’s really the big, important part, is what are you going to offer current customers, what are you going to offer to entice new customers, and then be consistent with it. And then make sure you’re monitoring it and seeing how it does as part of it.

So, maybe you’re really adventurous and you’re like, “I’m going to create a whole new product line. I’m so excited.” Or maybe you’re not, maybe you’re hesitant. Either way, pick one, go forward with it. And if you’re not quite sure what to do, hire a business coach, they are worth their weight in gold when you find a really, really good one. If you need recommendations, I have them. The other thing is I’m a marketing strategist. And I love talking about this stuff. I love talking about new services, existing services, how can we take them and move them in the marketplace. So if you want to talk to me about it, have a little brainstorming session, try to get some ideas, I would love to have that conversation with you.

So here at Inkyma, we really like to give back to the business community, as I just said, and we offer a 45-minute free consultation to any business owner. Maybe you want to talk about moving your marketing strategy forward. Maybe you want to talk about that new service and how to implement it and get some thoughts and ideas around it. All of those things are totally okay. You don’t have to be in the market for our services to have that conversation. Go to my website, Inkyma.com, I-N-K-Y-M-A.com, and there is a button in the top right corner that says, schedule a consultation, and you can schedule it right from there.

If you only have a question or two that you want answered, scroll to the bottom, there’s a contact form in the footer. And you can just put your question in there and we will be happy to answer that for you. If you have a question about today’s show and topic, you can put that in the contact form as well and I will actually answer it in an up and coming show before we get into the topic of the day.

So, that is it for me. I hope you found this inspiring and helpful, and we look forward to talking to you in the future. Have an amazing day.

Thanks for listening to Marketing Strategies with Audrey Kirchner, sponsored by Inkyma, from strategy to execution. Inkyma, to create effective marketing plans designed to grow your business with branding, website design, content marketing, and digital advertising. That’s Inkyma, I-N-K-Y-M-A.com, and be sure to listen to the companion podcast on Podbean, anytime.

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