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Ep #76:  When to Pivot

Posted on February 13, 2023

Feeling frustrated by a lack of progress in your business and wondering if your approach needs an overhaul?

If so, this episode is for you.

Today, I will share the difference between making the decision to pivot from a place of fear and making that same decision grounded in data from a place of security.

Knowing the difference can save you a significant amount of time, money and stress.


Click here to learn more about the next Optimize Your Business for Profit private coaching program.

What You’ll Discover in This Episode

  • How to release the emotional ‘charge’ from your business decisions


  • Join the Optimize for Business Profit program where you will learn how to optimize your business for profit, without adding more time or stress.

Episode Transcript

Welcome, everyone. I'm Kim Christiansen and this is the peaceful productivity podcast, where I share strategies to help you get the most out of your time and feel better in the process.

Hi, everyone, welcome to today's episode. Welcome to the podcast. If you haven't joined me before, I'm really happy that you're here. Today we're going to be talking about changing direction, and knowing when to pivot. If you've ever found yourself wondering if you should persevere and keep going, or if you should change direction, or even abandon the plan altogether, this will be a good podcast for you.

I'll share with you my experience with shifting and pivoting. So my first year of business, I was branding myself as a productivity coach. And the customers that I was serving at that time were anyone really who was looking for a coach who was struggling with productivity or maybe feeling overwhelmed, and they could be working in corporate or they could be business owners.

In my second year of business, I shifted gears a little bit. And I started to really focus on women in business, still working with people who wanted to make better use of their time, and do it with less stress. But now the bulk of my clients are people who have their own businesses.

Making the decision to shift from helping anyone who needed help with productivity to helping only women in business, that decision was not taken lightly. In fact, it I came to it after a great deal of time and consideration. So I want to share with you a little bit about what that decision looked like for me and how I worked through it. So there's a lot of reasons why we might tell ourselves that we need to pivot or change our approach change our direction.

I think most commonly, what I've noticed is that we usually believe that a change is required when we tell ourselves that our current approach is not working.

However, how do we know when something's actually not working? Or when we just haven't given it enough time?

The short answer is that to really understand what's happening, and the nature of the problem, we need to be measuring and monitoring those metrics. That's the short answer. And I'll go through a little bit more at the end of this episode about what to measure and how to monitor it and how to use that information to make data informed decisions. But before I do that, I wanted to share with you a little bit about the reasons why we might tell ourselves that something isn't working, when it really is.

And the interesting thing about that is that that's usually coming from a place of fear.

We tell ourselves that it's not happening fast enough, that the results aren't coming fast enough. And it's usually rooted in something like I need more money to cover my expenses, or I need to recover my initial investment. When we operate. under that pressure that those thoughts are creating for us, we might try a lot of different things. But when the results don't come in the timeline that we've set for ourselves, then it can cause us to actually shift and change from a place of fear and scarcity, rather than from a place of security.

You can apply this to business. But you can also apply this to really any goal that you're pursuing.

When we don't give ourselves enough of a runway to actually see if things are working or not. If we're not measuring what's going on and monitoring those results. If we're getting really impatient.

That is usually a sign that the desire to make changes is coming

From a place of fear.

So what are some of those reasons when it's not a good idea to pivot? Well, the first one is, as I mentioned earlier, just not giving it enough time.

Change can be a really slow process, especially sustainable change, it can be slower than we anticipate.

Reminds me of that saying, we tend to underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. But we also tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a week or a day.

So to circumvent for trying to change the approach too early, we have to set ourselves up for success. And what that looks like, is making some decisions in advance. When I say advance, I mean, at least 24 hours in advance, giving ourselves the opportunity to make decisions from our prefrontal cortex from that planning executive part of our brain, anything less than 24 hours, and we're usually slipping into that reactive mode that fight or flight survival, spontaneous gratification type of brain. So setting ourselves up for success means making decisions in advance, which includes giving ourselves enough of a runway to make some changes, and actually measure them, monitor them, and see if they're working or not. Ideally, any significant change requires at least three months. But at a minimum, I would give it a month before I started thinking about making any types of changes.

So that's the first reason not to pivot is telling yourself that it's not happening fast enough. The second reason to not pivot is when you're telling yourself that a different approach a different niche, a different product, a different business, will be easier.

My brain likes to tell me this all the time. If I just switched to a different model, then it would be easier if I just switched to group coaching, it would be easier.

So my brain, like most of us likes to offer me lots of different alternatives about what might be easier.

We know that these things are rarely easier.

And in fact, a lot of the times, they require more effort, because that initial investment that's required to actually set it all up is required all over again. So we do want to be giving ourselves enough time to actually yield some results. And also to realize the return on that investment of time that we have invested in order to set this all up.

Related to this. Another reason not to pivot is when you're feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. When we're feeling that way it has very little to do with our business, and more to do with our own ability to manage our time. It could be that we lack a strategy, or we lack focus. Or maybe we're not making a plan. Or maybe we're making the plan and we're not following through. These are all common reasons why we might be feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. That feeling is really a symptom of ineffective time management.

If you need any help with the time management or with streamlining your business to create more profit, I'll invite you to check out my website financial wellness to check out the different coaching options. Once you clean up the time management, you will have created some time and space for yourself to focus, to organize to plan to streamline your business and to follow through on those important projects that are really going to add value to your customers to your products to your business. Another reason to not pivot is when you believe that the market has become oversaturated it's so interesting. When I first started out I had a few other coaches in my network. And then as my network grew more and more

Coaches became part of my network. And I started nursing this belief that there were too many coaches out there that the market had become saturated. But when I stepped back, I realized that my network, my community was actually very, very small in the big scheme of things. And actually, I was feeding this belief that the market was already too saturated. By focusing on my coaching community.

One side took a look at my particular coaching my products and my services. And I started to focus on differentiating the benefits of my particular coaching style, my knowledge, my background, my skill set, then I started to see that even though I had surrounded myself with a lot of different coaches, I still had a very unique service to provide. And this is true for your product or your service as well. You add a certain type of value to that product or service. With your particular strengths, background experience and skill set, your particular style and delivery is going to be different than your counterparts. For example, my style of coaching focuses a lot on self compassion, and building the self compassion muscle, whereas other coaches might focus more on building accountability. And really, there are two sides of the same coin. But my focus is going to sound and look and resonate differently with my customers than it will with the customers of my counterparts.

Another reason not to pivot is when you're telling yourself that you've exhausted your client base.

Unless you have a very, very specific product or service, this is rarely true. More likely is what's happening is that you just need to extend your reach or maybe increase your sales skills. Alternatively, your customer facing processes may also need to be improved if you've hit a bit of a sales plateau. But it's not usually a problem of needing to change your products or your business entirely. It's more of a need for more attention on your marketing or maybe your processes. It's also never a good idea to use a single bad review as a reason to pivot. It makes sense that criticism might motivate us to change what we're doing in a significant way. However, I'd like to offer that a single bad review, or even a really good review is not enough data to give us the information that we need to make a sound decision. A variation of this, especially for new business owners, is changing the direction in their business, deciding to pivot based on the fact that a few people in their current network have said that they would buy something, if you were to offer it. Now the problem with changing the direction in reaction to a bad review, or even a good review is that it's not enough people to really create a representative sample of what your current customer base is really feeling and thinking. Another reason not to pivot is when your perspective has changed or you're feeling bored or disengaged with your business. The feeling of boredom, or even passion or engagement is really based on our perspective. And we know that our perspectives can change actually, quite frequently. Sometimes we feel like our perspective is the truth. Like it's an observation of what's happening out in reality. And sometimes we feel like we're at the effect of boredom, or enjoyment or even passion. But what I found is that we actually have a great deal more control over a level of engagement at any given time than we are giving ourselves credit for. We're not at the effect of our engagement levels. In fact, we have quite a bit of control over them. So the theme throughout all of these reasons to not pivot is basically where you don't want to be making decisions based solely on our gut. You heard me talk a lot throughout this podcast about listening to ourselves listening to our

intuition. And I think that is really, really important. But it's not the only information that we need when we're making any decision. The way I like to think about it is that this information is important. But it's not in the driver's seat, it's not making the decisions. I like to put the gut feeling the emotion, I like to listen to it, understand the information that's being communicated to me, and put it in the passenger seat. But ultimately, the decision rests with me as the driver. Decisions made solely based on emotion or intuition or gut really put us in a reactive place. Because we know that those emotions, those feelings are transitory, they're important, but they can also be temporary. We want to evaluate and consider them, but from a place of objectivity, and informed by data. And the decisions that we make solely based on data and not informed by emotion, gut instinct, intuition, those decisions are at risk of being made devoid of our wisdom. And when that happens, there's a risk of over analysis, or even analysis paralysis, where we get stuck in problem solving mode, and we don't take any action at all. So on the one hand, when we make decisions based solely on emotion, we become reactive. And when we make decisions, based solely on logic, we can get stuck in problem solving and planning mode.

So we want to make our decisions with a balance of both both the intuition and with the data. So we've talked a lot about when not to pivot. And now I'd like to offer three reasons to pivot. Right off the top, the best time to make a pivot or a significant change is when it's based on data. It's a data driven decision made from a place of security, not made from a place of insecurity or fear. The second reason to pivot is when you receive direct feedback from a volume of customers from a representative sample of your customer base, whatever that looks like for you. The third reason to pivot is when you have a waitlist for your current service or product, when you can't meet the current demand, and you have streamlined your processes as much as possible. And you still have a waitlist for your current service or product. That's the perfect time to pivot or even scale what you're currently offering. So at the beginning of this podcast, I said I would share some thoughts on measurement, what to measure how to measure it, how often to monitor it, those kinds of things. And for the sake of conciseness what I think I'll do is I will defer all of that to the next podcast episode. So I hope that you will join me then and I hope you have a great week everyone take care. Are you looking for a coach who will help you increase your business profit while protecting your time and your well being? If so, I'll invite you to check out my website, financial wellness

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