If you have decided you want to do a significant pivot in your business, then planning how you are going to do this pivot is important for its success. One of the first questions to ask yourself in planning this pivot is will it be a gradual pivot – here I’m thinking where you start to phase out a type of service you are offering while building your new service. Or if you want to burn everything down and start again.
Finances obviously play a big part in this. Can you afford to burn everything down or do you need to gradually move to something new? How are you going to pay your bills will navigating your busines pivot?
Paying your bills while you pivot
01. If you are closing everything down
Sometimes we just can’t do our businesses anymore. It might be doing awful things to our mental or physical health. Or maybe you’ve built your business on a particular platform and that platform isn’t flourishing. I’m thinking here of people who built businesses teaching people how to use Periscope (remember that Twitter offshoot?).
But the bills don’t go away. If you are making a full pivot then it can take time for the new business to start generating income. A couple of options to think about if you don’t have savings to carry you through while you build up that new business:
- If you are set on just getting out (which I completely understand from my own experience), if you’ve got courses or ebooks that don’t require personal support from you, could you do a sale? Setting yourself up with a small nest egg while you make the transition to your new business.
- Can you get a part time job somewhere? I know this doesn’t feel ideal. That you are perhaps giving up on your dreams. But it can be a great decision. It was for me. Having money from that job just took the pressure off me. I was able to take the time to work out what my new business would look like and who it would serve. I had the space to make decisions from a calm space rather than one where I was panicked about money.
I recommend having at least 6 months saved up for your expenses (both business and personal) to give you the space to build this new business in the way you want to if you aren’t going to have money coming in from another source.
02. If you are making a smaller (yet still significant) change
Even if you are making a smaller change such as moving out of offering one-to-one services to one-to-many services, then you still need to think about your finances. Having a plan in place for that pivot allows you to transition to that new model. This is particularly the case when moving from one-on-one work to courses. You are going to need to sell more courses to make the same money that you do from one-on-one work which for a lot of people means building up their audience. This all takes time.
The first step is to get clear on the minimum you need to make in your business. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are there costs in your business you could trim? It could be that to make the pivot you are able to cut back on some expenditure that isn’t relevant to the business model you want to shift to or subscriptions that you never use. Go through your expenses and get ruthless.
- Could you take a pay cut? Are there personal costs that you could cut to allow you to take that pay cut?
- Do you have a savings buffer you could use while you make the pivot?
Then work out how much of your current services you need to offer to make that amount. The idea being that if you are offering 10 sessions a week now, you could cut back to 7 sessions a week. With the time you’ve freed up being allocated to developing that new offer, grow your audience and set up new systems.
For some people there may also be the option of switching to an agency model of doing business. Where you hire people in to do the work with the assumption that you make a profit on the work they doing.
But setting up an agency is not a small task. There are risks with hiring people, you need to have good processes in place, you’ll need to supervise staff (at least initially). Financially, if done well it can be quite profitable. If this isn’t the direction you want to take your business then it’s not the way to fund your pivot.
Getting the money side of your pivot sorted can make such a difference as to whether your pivot is a success or failure. You want your pivot to be as joyful experience as possible.
Having a financial buffer takes some of the pressure off your new business. Pressure that can lead you to taking on work you don’t love or clients who aren’t a great fit if you are feeling stretched for cash. While these things won’t sink your new business they can add to your thoughts about whether you are cut out for owning a business. Or questioning about whether you’ve made the right pivot before it even has a chance to get off the ground.
Give yourself breathing space to make the best decisions possible for your pivot.
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