Understanding When to Pivot your Business
I apologize if I’m not as consistent with these blog posts but I was lacking inspiration to write something worth posting until tonight.
I’ll be honest. One of my brands Wick and Wire has taken a huge hit on the wholesale side for 2016. 2015 was a breakout year for the brand and what we thought was going to be a big 2016 ending up being a year of rebuilding. Running a business is tricky. Starting one is easy but maintaining it is a whole ‘nother story. So what do you do when you have a bad sales year? You certainly don’t quit.
It just means you have to ‘pivot.’
I like the word ‘pivot’ because its something all companies have to do when they see a negative trend. Same goes for anything in life. Alert business savvy people can see it a mile away. Those who are oblivious are either inexperienced or just wont accept change. Understanding when to pivot separates the strong from the weak.
Ok so what did we do or should I say what are we currently doing to rebuild? Here’s the breakdown.
- Early 2016 - We starting seeing a decline in wholesale apparel sales
- April 2016 - We decided to shift focus into our best selling vape bags
- June-September 2016 - We took some advice from a friend and launched our first Amazon campaign focusing on just our vape bags
- October 2016 – Starting to see traction on Amazon with the combination of Amazon keyword advertising and encouraging buyers to write reviews (such a key factor!)
- November 2016 – After seeing the trend, we went ahead and designed some new color ways and put in a new order with our factory (time to double down!)
- December 2016 – Sales have doubled due to the Holiday season
- January 2017 – New color ways arrived and are now shipping to all Amazon fulfillment centers (Its game time!)
By now our regular website is just not generating enough sales anymore. Amazon is literally saving this brand. Yes they do take a hefty 25% commission (including logistics and advertising) but you know what? The audience is already there. And not just any audience. A buying audience. Amazon is now part of our lifestyle. It’s convenient, quick and easy. As long as you are willing to put up with the strict guidelines, have an abundance of patience; it is without a doubt worth the trouble.
We went from selling a total of 10 Vape Cases in all of July to selling 100 in January alone! Definitely a huge jump and we couldn’t be more excited. The new goal now is to get 10 orders a day!
The moral of the story is that your business will change no matter what. Learn how to spot trends, pivot and double down on what’s working. In our case, shirts and hats weren’t moving anymore so we had to shift to the only thing that was making money. Once we saw traction, we went in. Let’s see what happens in 6 months.