Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
This week’s question comes from James S., who asks:
Great question. So many businesses make huge shifts in direction along their journey, and we’re no exception.
When I think of the biggest pivots, two in particular come to mind:
On the product side, it was early on (4 years ago) after spending nearly $50,000 building a bloated, bulky app that had all of the features that we thought users wanted, but in reality didn’t really align with the needs of the market at all (the full story is here).
When we weren’t finding the adoption we wanted, we dug in, spent hundreds of hours talking to our users and prospects to figure out why, and basically scrapped the whole thing and started over, this time focusing on building the simplest help desk software we could, driven by the things that we now knew actually mattered, versus just what we thought mattered.
The biggest lesson from that experience was the value of customer development and constantly talking to your customers, and acting based on what you learn (rather than on what you assume).
On the marketing front, while blogging had been a cornerstone strategy for us for some time now, 2014 was the year we shifted nearly our entire marketing focus to content. We unapologetically culled distractions and got rid of anything that wasn’t generating a return for us (like Facebook), and tripled down on content with guest posting and a second blog focused entirely on customer support. Narrowly focusing our limited resources has helped us execute much better and get an even greater return on effort.
I think the important takeaway here isn’t necessarily that every business should blog, but that you shouldn’t chase tactics just because you’re “supposed” to be doing them. Instead, figure out what the highest-ROI channels and strategies are for your business, and focus completely on doing them as well as humanly possible.
I’m curious: what have been your biggest pivots in your business or career? Let me know in the comments!