Why Pivoting Might be the Wrong Move

“Pivot” is so overused it doesn’t even ping your radar anymore. Am I right?

Well, I’ve got news for you… “pivoting” may not mean what you think it means AND it’s not always the best way to navigate this crisis.

In an attempt to clear up assumptions and shine a light on all the great options to keep the momentum going in your business, I’m here to share:

  1. The 3 mistakes of pivoting.
  2. The foundation you need BEFORE making changes.
  3. The 5 P’s of Change (pivot + 4 other options)

Let’s dive in, shall we?

  1. The 3 mistakes of pivoting.

Mistake #1: Misunderstanding pivoting.

People are using “pivot” as a catch-all word to describe any change in your business. I think creates a lot of chaos. To combat the chaos, in my 3rd teaching point below, I’m going to give you the definition of the pivot as well as four other words for change so you can zero in more precisely on how to adjust your business right now. Until I give that definition, I’m going to use the word “change” as a more accurate catch-all. 

Mistake #2: Shaky foundation. 

It’s a mistake to make changes from a shaky foundation of strategy and processes. Ever play with a gyroscope? You know how when you get it going, you can shift it into all kinds of gravity-defying angles? That’s because you set the foundation and got the momentum going. But what happens when you don’t have the foundation set? It wobbles, rolls across the floor and under the couch where you can’t get to it.

Making changes without a solid foundation will not be for the better.

Mistake #3: Short-term thinking.

When life feels this out of control, it’s tempting to try to regain a sense of control by making short-term drastic changes. The problem is that some changes create serious brand confusion. 

Take my business, for example. I’m about simplifying client generation. If I looked around and thought – hey, I could really help people and meet a major market demand if I started selling hand sanitizer – what happens to my brand identity once this situation resolves? You have to consider what your business will look like afterward. If you want your business to be strong now and emerge from this crisis with momentum, it is rarely a good idea to make a drastic shift away from your core business.

Some things must change right now, yes. But there are fundamentals that DON’T needs to change… and during stressful times it’s hard to distinguish which is which.

Let’s move on to the fundamentals of client generation so you can fortify your foundation, and then I will give you the 5 P’s of change and some examples. After you read this article you’ll have what you need to evaluate your efforts and make decisions that are solid instead of reactionary.

  1. The foundation to have in place before making changes

Before you make any changes to service delivery or pricing or anything having to do with how you generate revenue (which I refer to as client generation), check your foundation. 

Start by stepping back from our current market conditions and ask yourself, “Do I have the essential elements of client generation defined clearly?

The 7 elements are:

  1. Goals
  2. Pricing and Packaging
  3. Ideal client
  4. Messaging
  5. Proactive lead generation
  6. Sales and closing process
  7. Time management

Do you have these in place? Remember the gyroscope that skittered under the couch? Don’t be that gyroscope! Make sure your foundation is in order, THEN move on to how to adjust. Which brings us to…

  1. The 5 P’s of change (Pivot + 4 other options)

  2. PAUSE: Stop some part of your business or not launch something planned.
    This is first because it helps conserve energy – and right now you need all you can get! Look at each of the essentials of client generation and decide – is there anything here to pause? For instance, I paused one of my programs I was going to launch because it was focused on live speaking events. I freed up my energy right away by pausing this program that would be in lower demand right now.
  3. POSITION: Explain the value of your services in relation to current market conditions.
    Don’t change your services. Don’t change your ideal client, but rather change how you describe your services in relation to current market conditions. This change mostly falls under messaging in your client generation process. For example, in my business, I still talk about client generation, but I’ve shifted a little because business owners who have been complacent about client generation suddenly and painfully are noticing how not having a plan is really hurting them. So, while I’m offering the same client generation programs I always offer, I’m emphasizing or positioning the program for these people to leverage this downtime and come out of the crisis with a stronger business.
  4. PIVOT: Execute some part of your business differently.
    Don’t create something new… we’re not there yet. We’ll get there in a sec. I’ll say it again: Pivot is to execute some part of your business differently. You’ve seen restaurants start to offer delivery, right? They’re not making different food and they didn’t create a new menu. They are just executing differently.
  5. PRODUCE: Create something new to meet current market conditions.
    This is where a lot of people START, and it’s burning a lot of energy. Look at the first 3 P’s FIRST, because they are all about making subtle shifts to what you’ve already worked so hard to build! If producing something IS the right move for you, make sure that it’s still in alignment with your ideal client to avoid brand confusion.
  6. PREPARE: Put things in place to be more stable in a future crisis.
    We are learning SO MUCH right now about the gaps in the stability of our businesses. Is there anything you can start now, or put on a list for the 3
    rd or 4th quarter to build stability into your business? Maybe a new income stream or additional lead generation strategy. This is not the last crisis we’ll face. What do you regret not having in place now? How can you put that thing in place for next time? Make it a priority!

Author’s note: I am offering the 5 P’s of Change as a free facilitated discussion for the business owners and coach groups to help navigate this crisis. Contact me for more details.

Mary Cravets

Founder Mary Cravets started Simply Get Clients because she saw small business owners complicating growing their businesses. Or falling victim to the "build it and they will come" myth. So she developed the simple structure to cut through all the noise of social media, "experts", online funnels, advertising and more to focus on the central problem of business owners: getting more clients. And you know what? There is NOT a one-size-fits-all solution.

Reader Interactions


  1. Yvonne A Jones says

    Excellent breakdown of the 5 P’s of change, Mary. I enjoyed reading the reminders of how important it is to have the foundational pieces in place. Without them, everything else will be shaky. Thank you.