Episode 260 - Featuring Lee Matthew Jackson
April 1, 2020
No business has been untouched by the global pandemic of 2020. Some agency owners recognise a need in their business to pivot so they can add value to their customers, and weather these uncertain times. In this episode I will share a range of ideas to get you thinking on how you can pivot your offering.
We will cover:
If you feel like you are stuck in a rut, this episode is for you.
Mastermind Facebook Group – click here.
Website – click here.
Mike’s 2 hour workshop on pivoting your business.
#258 – Surviving a recession – click here.
#239 – How to beat feast or famine – click here.
#200 – How to transform your agency – click here.
#187 – How to launch a turnkey website business – click here.
Welcome to the Agency Trailblazer Podcast. This is your host Lee. And today we’re going to talk about pivoting not to be confused with a pillow wet, which is a dance move. So I’m told, so we are in unprecedented times. I don’t need to tell you that we’re all fully aware of what is going on and as businesses it’s making us think. It’s making us look at what we do and consider are we doing the right things for the people that we serve? Are there other ways that we could be helping people at this particular time? Perhaps as well your regular product or services completely drying up because people are pulling back from investments in those particular areas. This thought process could be leading you to the pivot at point where you recognise that what you are doing is not necessarily working and you need to make some changes.
So this episode is going to cover when to pivot, how to pivot and we’re also going to share with you some ideas that you could apply to your business. Now, these are hypothetical ideas to get your brain into the right thought processes, but note that these are not necessarily the pivots that you should be taking. So let’s deep dive. When should you pivot? I believe that are three signs that you should pivot, the first is your mission and in the episode 258 of surviving a recession, we talked about the importance of knowing your why and understanding who it is you serve and what problems you solve for them and what your overall mission is, what is driving you. So I’d encourage you to take a look at your mission and then take a look at what it is that you are providing and who you are providing it for.
Does that align with your mission? Do you bounce out of bed with excitement to do that work for those people? And if the answer is no, or if the answer is kind of maybe then that might be a point where you really want to evaluate what it is you are doing. Another point of pivoting would be why your regular work is drying up. And I am very aware that in the current global circumstances this might be happening to quite a few people in this climate. It might not be feasible to continue to sell the same product or service and this might be a point where you need to evolve your offering so that you can continue to add value to existing clients as well as attract new clients. I’ve said it so many times, we have a responsibility as business owners to run a profitable business to allow us to be there for our clients in the long haul.
Therefore, it’s really important that if our regular work is drying up that we find ways to pivot, to add value to our existing clients and to attract those new ones to allow us to keep operational in these times. The last measurement would be low conversion rates, so that’s conversion rates on the existing products or services that you are offering. A great example of that would be many years ago in around 2006, 2007 and 2008 where our old agency were pitching for the same type of work and our overall conversion rate was slowly dropping and dropping and dropping. It became apparent to us that we were pitching for the wrong type of work, that we were trying to offer the wrong types of services to the people that we thought we were serving. And we had to go right back to basics and work out who it is that we were serving, what problems we were solving for them, and what our own superpowers were so that we could present those instead.
And that was our big pivot of 2008 again, you can listen up all about that in the episode 258: Surviving a Recession. If any of these ring true, then it may be the point where you need to pivot. So let’s look at how to pivot and then we will go through some potential ideas that you could apply in your agency. So the first step, and I mentioned this earlier, would be to review your mission, understand who it is that you’re serving, understand what your superpowers are, understand the problems that you solve for the people that you solve them for. And we deep dive into that in episode 259 but also in episode number 200 as well, How to Transform your Agency. It’s really important that you understand your mission and that you feel thoroughly behind whatever that is. So take some time, work out what that mission is, what is your why, what is driving you and your team and getting you up out of bed every single day.
Then next step would be to affirm your avatar. Being able to create that avatar of your ideal client really helps you to get into their head and understand what is driving them and what their problems are. And it’s an area that we as business owners so often forget to do. So take a look at your existing clients. Maybe the best clients are the clients you’ve been able to help or perhaps make up the ideal avatar if you don’t actually have the ideal client because you can then start formulating your products and services that will align with your mission and will also attract that type of person that you are trying to reach out to. To really nail your avatar, you can also have conversations with your existing clients. Find out what problems they are having right now. What are they struggling with during these times?
What are their worries for the future? What are their plans? What would they love to be able to create in this time that they now have? Because so many of us are being forced to work from home. These conversations will help you to continue to build that avatar picture, but also give you some ideas of potential products or services that you could be offering to your existing clients and to this ideal avatar with a clear picture of your mission, with your avatar, and from those conversations with your clients. That should allow you to move on to the next step, which would be to brainstorm options. What products or services can you be offering? And also make sure that those products or services will align with your mission that align with your strengths, that will be of use of value to your avatar. And we’re gonna give you some ideas at the latter part of this podcast to help get your creative juices flowing.
The final step of pivoting will be to test those assumptions. You’ve gone through a brainstorming session, you’ve worked out some products or services that you could be offering, now test those assumptions and have conversations with your ideal clients. See if this is something that they would be interested in, something that would add value, something that they would be willing to invest in in these times. So have those conversations with existing clients and with those that match the avatar that you’ve created. Now you’ll probably hear for some of those ideas. So I’m going to share with you four ideas that you could deep dive into during those brainstorming sessions. The first is to offer a website as a service platform. Now if you are targeting a particular niche, a particular type of client, they probably all have shared needs. And a great example would be what we offer with Event Engine in the events industry.
We solve a particular set of problems for a particular group within the events sector. Therefore, we’ve been able to create a platform on WordPress multi-site that allows us to spark up multiple sites for our clients quickly and it solves that need. So that’s a website as a service platform. And if you’d like more information on the concept then listen to episode 187 we had a conversation with Matthew Rodella and he was teaching us how to launch a turnkey or website business and he shed his own experiences of doing that in the it sector. This is certainly a big change from a custom designed and built website and thus it’s more efficient. This allows you to lower the cost of entry to your target audience. Now I’m not suggesting you have to go in low price. You may have a very valuable offering in your website as a service.
So be sure to price on the value that is being provided to the client, not necessarily on the technology that you are using or the time that it’s taking you. Remember the things that you build, the things that you design have taken years for you to learn how to do them so well and so efficiently. Next, let’s look at providing training. What are the key areas that your clients need to improve on? What training can you be providing them that will help them to achieve their goals? An example from Event Engine is we provide design training. We help people understand the elements of design, good information layout. We also provide them with social media training and online marketing training. Having provided a website as a surface platform for so many years, we didn’t provide the training to help people use that product as efficiently. Having had conversations with our ideal client and with our existing customers, we soon realised that they were massive gaps in their knowledge and in their understanding that we’re holding them back.
That was holding back their success. So we put together training where we could visit our clients on site in the current measures. We can provide that still online through zoom, but we would provide the training for them to help them get the most of the product that they were using with us, but also to help them get the most out of the technology that was around them that would allow them to generate those leads that would allow them to get more people at their event. It was important therefore to us to provide this training, some of which we did for free to help them get the most out of the other complimentary services that we had, but also we can provide training at a fee. Oh, that rhymed! That was an accidental rhyme Macola. Another natural route you could take would be courses. Can you build courses for your target audience that will help them to solve those problems or help them to achieve those dreams and aspirations?
A lot of people are using this time at home to upskill. This might be the perfect opportunity for you to provide this sort of material to your target audience. Finally, consultancy. I bet you don’t give yourself the credit that you and your business deserves when it comes to what you know. We assume as agency owners that pretty much everyone understands what we do. We assume that the client would know how to work from home as a great example. We assume the client understands the sort of content they should be providing us for a website, we assume our client probably has some sort of marketing strategy. We make an awful lot of assumptions and my dad used to say that assuming makes an ass of you and me, Oh man, sorry for the dad jokes, but seriously we take for granted a lot of the knowledge that we have and we don’t realise nor recognise that our clients actually need access to that.
They would be so grateful for us to be in the room whilst they are planning the next stage of their business. Perhaps their marketing channels, perhaps business development, perhaps a technical project. They actually need our skills and our expertise because like I said earlier, we’ve spent the years learning all of this stuff and what we know is not a given. What we know is not what everybody else knows. We have a deep insight. We can provide valuable information and consultancy and opinions that our clients so desperately need. A really great episode that unpacks offering consultancy would be episode 239: How to Beat Feast or Famine and we spoke with Rachel on how we can lead with consultancy rather than trying to pitch a website. We’re actually starting at a consultant level and then working our way through the process, helping our clients achieve their dreams and aspirations.
This episode was designed to give you a framework for working out. If you should pivot and some potential avenues you could go down for pivoting. I think it would be really helpful at this point to do a high level recap so that we can picture the process of pivoting. We first talked about when to pivot and we looked at your mission, your work load and your conversion rates. Your mission? Does the work that you are doing align with your mission? If not, perhaps it is time to pivot. Is the regular work that you have drying up? Perhaps it is time to pivot all you getting low conversion rates on the products or services that you already offer. Has that been something that’s gone on for a long time or something that’s happened more recently than perhaps it’s time to pivot? So first of all, establish whether or not you may need to pivot as a business.
Then how to pivot. We said we’ll review your mission. Is the mission that you currently have as a business, a mission that gets you out of bed every single morning. If not, that’s a problem we need to encourage you to listen to episode number 200: How to Transform your Agency. Once you’ve unpacked your mission, once you’ve unpacked your why, once you’ve understood who it is that you serve, etc, what problems you’re solving, you can confirm your avatar. You can develop those avatars further to really nail down who it is that you are serving, on what problems you’re solving for them, what aspirations that they have. We encourage you to talk with your clients or with ideal clients as well to make sure that you are on the right track and then once you do that, you can brainstorm some options for pivoting, brainstorming some of those ideas, some of those products or services you could be offering.
Then we encouraged you during that pivot process to test your assumptions. Don’t jump straight in and start offering all of these brand new services, new landing pages, designing a new website, etc. Test those assumptions with your clients, with your avatars to see whether or not there is scope for this new product or service within the industry at this time. Finally, we shared four areas you could look at to pivot into, first was offering a website as a service targeted at your particular niche. The next was training and a reminder that you know an awful lot of stuff that your clients and that your industry probably don’t know. So setting up those training sessions would be very valuable to your target audience. We looked at courses, which I guess is an evolution of training where people would pay to access the content that you’ve already created.
So rather than having to do training sessions, you record it once and you can help many people through that prerecorded content. And then finally we talked about consultancy and the importance of you, the technical expert, having a position at the table as it were at your clients to help them through these times, but also to help them through all of the projects, their dreams, their aspirations that they have. The key takeaway is that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. It’s something that I learned a long time ago. If things aren’t working for your business or if the current times mean you are struggling, then it is a great opportunity for you to look at your business and see how you can make changes, allowing you to continue to trade through the difficult times, but also to grow your business.
As I was writing this episode, my good friend Michael Killen shared in his mastermind, the sell your service private mastermind. There’ll be a link in the show notes for you to join up. He shared a pivot worksheet where he really deep dives into the process of pivoting. So if you are looking to reset your business to refocus, to pivot, then can I recommend you join his group and download his worksheet. Michael is forever sharing amazing content. He does pop up training on Facebook live where he deep dives into marketing funnels and all sorts of things that I just don’t, cannot possibly understand if it wasn’t for someone as amazing as Michael. So go ahead and check that out. That’s the “Sell your Service Private Mastermind.” There’s some amazing content in there. If you’re listening to this in the far and distant future, just type into the search pivot worksheet, that’s pivot worksheet into the search within the group and you’ll be able to find the document that Michael shares.
Highly recommend you follow him and his content. Folks, if you have had value from this episode, please let me know. Please drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org let me know what your key takeaway was. Let me know what questions you might have so that I can cover those in upcoming episodes. I hope that you are staying safe. I hope that you are staying chipper as well and happy and if you’re not, if you are feeling stressed out in any way, please come and join us in the Facebook group www.agencytrailblazer.com/group that’s www.agencytrailblazer.com/group it’s a free Facebook group. Come and hang out with us, post goofy gifs, have a laugh, have some fun as well as ask questions about your business. It’s a relaxed atmosphere where we can help and support each other but also have a joke as well and make new friends very important place to be like last week’s episode.
If you are struggling during these times, especially with your mental health, please check out www.wpandup.org there is some fantastic resource there for you to tap into to help you through that. And finally, I want to thank our sponsors Cloudways. Cloudways is my absolute favourite host on the planet. You’ll know that I just pretty much wear Cloudways t-shirts and hats all the time. I’m a Cloudways Maverick, which means I jump on live streams for them forever. Sharing lots of value in interviewing other people and the reason I do that is because they care so much. They’ve supported us and this podcast and the various projects that we’ve had over the last couple of years, they’ve supported us unquestioningly. They’ve recognised that it’s important to give to the community, it’s important to
share valuable resources and their support to me has been second to none. Their hosting to me has been phenomenal and it’s allowed us to run our own website as a service platforms and it’s allowed us to try so many different ideas by sparking up new websites. They’ve also got an amazing control panel, which will allow you to do client hosting yourself all within the cloud. So if you’re looking for a host, you’re not sure where to go, personally, I would highly recommend our sponsor Cloudways. You can check the show notes for any of the latest offers or just go and visit them over on www.cloudways.com. Folks, if we don’t see you in the Facebook group, then we will see you in next week’s episode.