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Want to Change Your Business? Better Learn to Pivot

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Before we get to today’s Blog Lesson:  Great News for Kansas Business Owners

You might not have heard, but NetWork Kansas has designated our Destination BootCamp as a board-certified program that qualifies for up to $3,000 in funds to cover registration and travel expenses for businesses that are located in Network Kansas’ 48 Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities.

Our 2½ day Destination BootCamp workshop now joins the Kauffman Foundation’s Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, Wichita State University’s Growing Rural Businesses program, and NetWork Kansas’ Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge series as one of only four (4) board-certified programs.

Best of all, if you are a business owner in one of NetWork Kansas’ 48 E-Communities, this is a huge opportunity for your business!

If you’re not familiar with their organization, NetWork Kansas supports counties struggling with the economic challenges in a time of government cutbacks and global competition. Their communities have access to state tax credits so they can build loan funds to stimulate entrepreneurship. We are honored to be associated with NetWork Kansas, and if you’d like to read their whole announcement, click here:

Today’s Blog Lesson:  Want to Change Your Business?  Better Learn to Pivot

EricLean start up Ries is the author of the best-selling book, The Lean Startup, and the man who made the term “pivot” part of today’s business terminology. His book is not one focused on small businesses, nor is it one that most busy, independent business owners would pick up. But his concept is one that every entrepreneur today needs to understand. Here’s a basic explanation of the pivot.

Eric discovered that the most successful companies didn’t follow a prescribed course of action, nor did they often follow their exact business plan that they initially started with. The most successful companies made many quick changes and judged the success of those incremental changes. He also found that companies that were less successful often resorted to making large, radical changes in direction when they weren’t successful in launching a product or service.

In his own words, Eric writes:

“The hardest part of entrepreneurship is to develop the judgment to know when it’s time to change direction and when it’s time to stay the course. That’s why so many lean startup practices are focused on learning to tell the difference between progress and wasted effort. One such practice is to pivot from one vision to the next…”

The pivot is based around:  “ the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future. Over time, this pivoting may lead them far afield from their original vision, but if you look carefully, you’ll be able to detect common threads that link each iteration…”

To give you specific examples, let’s take the companies of Twitter, YouTube, and Groupon, each of which abruptly changed course several times before they achieved success:

  • Twitter started out as a podcasting tool, but then, morphed to a short message tool.
  • YouTube started out as a video sharing site when co-founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley realized they couldn’t easily share videos that their friends had shot at a dinner party.
  • Groupon started out with the name “The Point” and was a website where people could ask others to contribute money to certain causes and to organize political activities.

The reality is that if these companies had insisted on following their initial course of action, it was likely that no one today would know of these companies. All of them deviated from the initial path, what Eric calls a pivot.

“Virtually every startup he could think of had pivoted at one time or another…He believes are almost certain to change course before becoming successful.” Fast Company Magazine

I always think of the pivot when I talk to an new business owner who spends weeks writing a business plan. I have nothing against writing a plan, but the majority of successful Destination Business owners I’ve met deviated drastically from their original business plan, while just a handful I’ve met followed their plan to success.

For an in-depth description of the Pivot, you can go to Eric’s blog by clicking here.


Take the 3 Minute Test:  81 Business Lessons You Must Know to Succeed Today

If your business is not generating the sales and customer traffic you’d like it to, think about attending our first Destination Business BootCamp of 2015 on March 3-5.

Now in our 12th year, over 800 small business owners have attended my Destination BootCamp and learned my 14-step strategy on how to make your business a Destination to consumers.

Our March class will have owners coming from all over North America, in over 20 different industries, and that’s just part of what makes our BootCamp the most unique business workshop you’ve ever attended.

If you own a retail store, a restaurant, a service-oriented business, or a professional practice, and you want more customers in your doors WITHOUT giving up profit margin, learning my Destination strategy should be on your priority list for 2015.

But don’t take my word for it. Take 3 minutes to jump over to our DestinationBootCamp.com website and read the 81 different business lessons you’ll learn when you attend our BootCamp.

Upcoming Workshops Across the USA

Here’s a list of Destination Business workshops (that are open to the public), that I’ll be conducting in the next several months. Just click on the listing and it will take you over to that specific workshop’s information page where you can learn more:

Thursday, February 19: Jacksboro, TX

Thursday, March 19: North Carolina Main Street Conference in Morganton, NC

Tuesday, March 31: National Main Streets Conference in Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, April 21: Garden City, KS

Wednesday, April 29, Murfreesboro, TN

Tuesday, May 12: Abilene, TX (location not yet available)

Tuesday, May 19: Greeley, CO (location not yet available)

That’s all I have!  Thanks for reading this post, and keep sending me your successes! I love hearing how you’re using my Destination tools!

Jon Schallert

About Jon Schallert
Jon Schallert is the only business consultant in the world teaching businesses and communities how to reinvent themselves into Consumer Destinations. Jon speaks to thousands annually on his 14-step “Destination Business” process, which he developed over the course of nearly 30 years interviewing over 10,000 business owners in over 500 communities. When Jon is not speaking around the country, he conducts his 2½ day Destination Business BootCamps in Longmont, Colorado, and oversees his company’s online training network, Destination University.
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