How to Adapt, Pivot and Evolve your business

Before I begin, I must apologise in advance – I’m going to be using the ‘c’ word throughout.

I know some people feel very uncomfortable when they hear the ‘c’ word.

I know some people would much rather it didn’t exist in our vocabulary.

But nevertheless, we need to face up to it – now, more than ever.

I am of course referring to ‘change’.

There, I’ve said it!!

If you’re already feeling offended, please don’t read on.

Change occurs often when we least expect it – and it can be immediate or over a long period of time.

One thing that is for certain, business is in a period of change at present.

A period of ‘forced’ change.

We can no longer physically meet face-to-face – for meetings, group training, seminars and conferences.

We can no longer meet for a coffee, lunch or go to the pub or even share dinner after work. 

And we can no longer share a joke or some juicy gossip with our colleagues in the confines of our cosy offices.

This will change!

And where change occurs – so does opportunity.

Opportunity!

Our biggest opportunity at the moment is time.

Time to reflect, analyse and plan.

Time to adapt and consider who we are, what we stand for and how we intend to do business going forward.

Time to realise that change should be embraced and not feared.

We need to action – standing still in fear and isolation achieves nothing...

So, before we go any further – do you agree?

Three important questions...

Before we move onto the theory and then practical ideas... I want you to ask yourself 3 questions – based on what you are currently experiencing in your business:

  1. Do I need to change – what current and future threats will affect my business?
  2. If so, what do I think I need to change
  • Products and services
  • Pricing strategy
  • How I deliver my products and services to my target audience?
  • How I promote my products, service sand business brand?
  1. When do I need to change – sooner rather than later? Are we talking days, weeks or months?

Let’s begin by defining how we can manage change for our business.

Here comes the theory

It’s time to GO A.P.E. and by that I mean – ADAPT, PIVOT and EVOLVE!

ADAPT –

Broaden your proposition by modifying an existing product based on current market conditions, so it is suitable for different customers or sectors.

PIVOT –

Make a fundamental change to your business after determining your product no longer meets the needs of your target market.

EVOLVE - 

Business evolution will occur when we choose to Adapt or Pivot our business and is the natural state of change. This can be due to market changes, technology changes; changing in our customers behaviour; or more disruptive or competitive entrants. 

Ok, now for the practical stuff...

There are four key areas we can adapt, pivot and evolve by implementing change. I’m going to base this on the traditional marketing mix, more commonly known as the 4 P’s:

Our Product - These are the goods or services that we offer to our customers and consumers

Our Pricing Model - The cost customers pay for our product or service

Our Delivery Model - The place where our customers receive our product or service

Our Promotion Model - How we promote our products, services and business brand to our customers and consumers

Let’s now look at these individually...

Our Product (meaning service as well)

These are the goods or services that we offer to our customers and consumers

Our Products (including services)

  • New sizes, colours, shapes, quantities, packaging choices.
  • Materials or ingredients to ‘manufacture’ your product – could they be more ethically sourced or eco friendly?
  • Waste material – basically what’s left over – can this be recycled into another product? 
  • Change of usage – can your product benefit another type of consumer by applying a few minor changes?
  • Or how about turning one feature of a product into the product itself, resulting in a simpler, more streamlined offering.
  • Different time frames or length of delivery – short, more bite-size or longer, deeper and intensive?
  • How about considering developing new target markets – based on gender, age and status as well as new international and cultural audiences.

Our Pricing Model:

The cost customers pay for our product or service

  • Pricing - we don’t need to drastically reduce our prices – people still want value and will pay for it. 
  • Revised payment terms such as staggered installments or spreading the cost with a pay monthly scheme.
  • I’ve also recently experienced ‘Pay when you can’ and ‘Pay what you want’ models, which are proving popular.
  • Introduce a subscription model – allowing them to receive regular bite-size ‘experiences ‘ of your brand, whether tangible or intangible...
  • Trade time for time rather than cash – can you promote your services in return for ‘banking time’ – I’m thinking consultancy work, training and coaching.
  • Likewise, can you negotiate a product or service, which you require in return for your time?
  • And finally, there’s always the opportunity to offer discounts and price promotions – for a limited time period - to get more people, to sample your products and services. 

Our Delivery Model:

The place where our customers receive our product or service

  • Consider how your target market consumes your product. We’re spending much more time than ever online – just ask Zoom, Skype and of course, Netflix.
  • Is it time to move more of your business online (e.g. printed material change to audio or video)?
  • Can you offer training or coaching? Many people are currently self-educating – can you teach them something about your product or service?
  • How about changing your platform, say, from an app to software or vice versa?
  • Can we offer a more personalised delivery model – provide more bespoke or tailored services? 
  • Sampling – smaller items to experience your product first before purchasing larger items or quantities?

Collaboration can be a powerful tool for small businesses. 

Whether you actively market each other’s services, or team up to jointly work on a specific project, collaboration can extend your reach, enhance growth opportunities and increase turnover.

They are activity engaged in sharing information and working together on cost-reduction measures to maximise their competitiveness.

It doesn’t necessarily require significant time or financial investment and provides the opportunity for shared resources, knowledge transfer and problem solving. 

Our Promotion Model (without spending a fortune)

How to promote your products, services and business brand to your customers and consumers

Our promotion model must be aligned to our target audience – customers and consumers.

I would begin by reviewing your existing plans an activity.

Create a list of all the tools and channels you currently use to market your business and then review each – you may even want to give them a score out of 10...

Ask yourself

  • Has this tool or channel provided a return on investment – not necessary financial, remember time and resources are investment too – it could be more traffic to your website or greater engagement on social media.
  • Were you reaching your goals before this challenging situation?
  • Have a closer look at your Google Analytics and social media metrics – most platforms have them included.
  • Is it a good time to change what isn’t working?

Once you’ve analysed your promotion model it’s time to clean up your marketing – update your website, start creating new content, focus attention on increasing your social media followers...

During this period of change we need to focus on three keywords: INFORM, EDUCATE and SUPPORT.

For example:

Inform

Keep your target audience informed and educated as well as offer any support you can – without the heavy sales pitch.

One of the key marketing tools to achieve this is your website.

You website should sit at the centre of your marketing ecosystem – everything you do should aim to drive traffic back to your website.

Once they arrive, make it easy for them to find the information they need – remember the 3-click principle!

Website landing pages designed for a specific target audience and their need. Each page is structured with:

  • An engaging headline – perhaps a question or statement addressing your target audience’ pain point;
  • Empathise with their problem
  • Weave in your solution – back up with any statistics or case studies
  • Finish with a strong call-to-action – download free eBook, invite to a webinar or 1-1 telephone call – include a contact form

Begin the process by emailing existing customers – send them to your landing page.

Try to convert new customers via social media using posts and sponsored ads.

And talking of existing customers...

  • Don’t neglect your existing customers – communicate with them via email, social media or even telephone – what challenges are they facing at the moment – can you provide a solution?
  • Examples include:
    • Inviting them to a Zoom / Skype / FaceTime update and review call
    • Send them a eNewsletter
    • Interview them for a blog post / video or podcast
    • Offer them discount on a new product / service
    • Ask them to test a new product / service
    • Invite them to a free training webinar

Educate

Keeping educating your target audience – regular information containing plenty of value such as top tips, how-to guides, product demonstrations, case studies and testimonials.

Use ‘more personalised’ content such as webinars, eBooks, videos, podcasts and blogs, 1-1 video conferencing calls.

Support our target audience...

  • Make it easy for them to work with you – based on your Product, Price and Delivery, as outlined earlier in this presentation.
  • Consumers will prefer brands that they know, like and trust.
  • We need to nurture our community (our customers and consumers) – encourage dialogue and build relationships.

Introducing the A.P.E Model

So, that completes the four key areas we can adapt, pivot and evolve or business.

But, where do we begin?

Well, here’s a simple model I’ve developed to help you analyse, plan, implement and measure your change activity.

I’ve called my APE model...

This is my APE Worksheet.

  • Why I need to change (Current threats to your business)
  • What I need to change (Current opportunities for your business)
  • How I need to change (Actions needed to make change)
  • When I need to change (Timeframe to make change)
  • When I know I’ve make positive change (How can your measure progress?) 

Why I need to change
(Current threats to my business)

This can be due to market changes, technology changes; changing in our customers behaviour; or more disruptive or competitive entrants.

What I need to change
(Current opportunities for my business)

•       My Product – the goods or services that I offer to my customers and consumers

•       My Pricing Model - the cost customers pay for my product or service

•       My Delivery Model - the place where my customers receive my product or service

•       My Promotion Model - how I promote my products, services and business brand to my customers and consumers.

How I need to change
(Actions needed to make change)

Based on this information presented during this presentation – change could range from product modification to new pricing analysis, different ways for delivering your product or service to new promotion tool and channels...

When I need to change (Timeframe to make change)

Create a specific timeline for each task required to achieve change based on days, weeks and months.

When I know I’ve made positive change

(How can I measure progress?)

What metrics can you set to proactively measure your progress e.g. physical changes to my Product, Price, Delivery and Promotion? Increase in

To conclude

Business can be challenging at the best of times, but in times of uncertainty it's important that we try to look beyond the temporary pain and seek a positive outlook.

The way we do business has and will continue to change.

Our biggest opportunity at the moment is time.

Time to reflect, analyse and plan.

Time to adapt and consider who we are, what we stand for and how we intend to do business going forward.

Time to realise that change should be embraced and not feared.

We need to action – standing still in fear and isolation achieves nothing...

I wish you much success in whatever changes you make to your business.

If you want to connect – I’m usually found here:

If you want to talk further, need some help and guidance – send me an email and we’ll fix a time to talk.

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