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012: The Art of the Pivot — How Guardian Bikes Unlocked 100x More Value by Being Willing to Evolve

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About This Episode

Every business leader eventually faces the challenge of reaching a crossroads and deciding then what to do next. This crossroad may happen with projects, products, or even your people. Those moments beg the question: Are we making sufficient progress to continue with the current plan (or person), or do we need to change direction? For some, the decision is easy because you have no choice but to change. For others, it’s more complicated. If you decide it pivot, you’ll have to navigate changes, but these changes may be the key to unlocking your organization’s potential growth.

In this episode, we are talking about how and when to pivot in your business with Brian Riley, the co-founder and CEO of Guardian Bikes, a Mark Cuban company. He will share how he made shifts in his organization to create more value for consumers and more cash for the business.

1. Frustration is motivation and often an indication to pivot.

Plato famously wrote, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Plato’s quote differently rings true in the story of Guardian Bikes, which had to eventually modify their business model if they hoped to grow and keep their business alive. However, before you recognize the necessity to change, you will likely feel frustrated by stagnant or limited growth despite you and your team’s best effort. If you feel like you are banging your head against the wall, it’s likely an indicator to consider exploring options as a pivot may be on the horizon.

2. Use your ‘why’ to power your pivot.

As Brian mentioned multiples times in the episode, pivoting is hard. Your resources, including personnel, have all been acquired to do one thing while you’re considering shifting to another. You likely have customers that appreciate and enjoy what you’re currently doing. To weather the storm of change, focus on the problem you’re solving, who it helps, what will happen in their life if you’re able to get this right, and what’s at stake if you don’t. It’s important to remember what your organization does matters to others. You will need an extra dose of inspiration and motivation to push through the challenges of pivoting.

3. Pivots improve growth potential, but they don’t eliminate risk.

When you’re approaching a pivot, you’re likely still running your current business model as you develop your next one. Consequently, you and your team may feel a little stretched. You may also have a lot on the line and feel a pressure to get it right. If you do, you’re normal. However, don’t confuse getting right with getting it perfect. Even if you follow Brian’s advice and successfully test your new model and offer prospective customers, there is no guarantee it will produce the results you want. At some point, you’ll need to trust the information you’ve gathered, experiences you’ve had, and the feelings in your gut to ultimately make the transition. Don’t wait for a sure thing at the expense of losing everything.

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