In sports, a pivot point can set an athlete up to make the winning shot or run the distance for a touchdown.
In business, pivot points are the critical points where you MUST make a turn in your strategy in order to…
- Take your business to the next level
- Hit your sales goals
- Expand your your income
Unfortunately many people are very unclear as to what those pivot points are.
Because it’s hard to see them when you’re on the inside of your business looking out.
Acting on Pivot Points
I first became aware of the importance of pivot points in my own business back in 2002.
During that time, I realized that there had been several opportunities I’d missed because:
- I wasn’t prepared
- Didn’t know it was important to capitalize on certain opportunities
- Couldn’t see beyond the own limitations I’d set for my business
I also realized that if I was going to make my business successful, I was going to have to make it a priority to pay attention to these pivot points and ACT on them.
When I paid attention to the pivot points, I was able to take my business exactly where I envisioned it should be.
And while the pivot points in online sales have changed since 2002, their importance remains the same.
So let’s get started with the five most important ones!
5 Pivot Points to Take Your Ecommerce Business From Good to Great
SmarterSourcing. What you sell online is the #1 pivot point in expanding your sales. You can have the greatest marketing in place, but if there is no demand for your products, they won’t sell. In fact creative product sourcing is the #1 skill that every online seller must have. It doesn’t matter what you sell or where you sell it, the more you expand your product sourcing expertise, the more money you’ll make.
- Are you selling the same things you did last year, 2 years ago, 5 years ago? Or are you continually bringing in new products?
- Have you expanded your sourcing channels? Your supplier base?
- Are you dialed-in to what today’s consumers want to buy?
If you sell on Amazon, your sourcing strategy will be different than if you sell on eBay or from a website.
Outsource Shipping. The biggest roadblock to growth for independent online merchants is handling all the shipping themselves. If you’re spending 6 hours a day shipping products to customers, that significantly reduces the time available to source new inventory or market the business. But that’s not the only problem. More and more it’s getting harder for solopreneurs to compete on shipping costs.
Take Amazon for example. By using Amazon FBA, you can leverage their mammoth shipping infrastructure. You’re taking advantage of their deep shipping discounts instead of paying “retail rates” for your shipping carrier’s services. FBA can also get your products to Amazon Prime customers in 2 days, an option that’s becoming more and more desired by online shoppers.
Buy.com just announced the launch of their own fulfillment service for use by 3rd party merchants.
And while it doesn’t make sense to outsource the shipping on all products (super small and lightweight items, or heavy, breakable items) partnering with a marketplace like Amazon to handle your shipping allows you to scale.
Scale Operations. In order to grow your business, you have to be able to scale without throwing more of your person hours at the business. Using software like Outright to automate time-consuming processes like bookkeeping will allow you to be on top of the critical factor of knowing your numbers. You must know your numbers on a monthly basis in order to know if your business is profitable.
Using inexpensive services like Fiverr, will enable you to leverage other people’s expertise to create marketing graphics, write content, etc. without breaking the bank.
You can’t do it all yourself and you don’t want to do it all yourself!
Being able to scale means leveraging systems and technology to help your business grow.
Merchandise to Marketplace Match. Are you selling your products on eBay when you should be selling them on Amazon? Are you selling from a website when there are thousands of buyers looking for your merchandise on eBay everyday? A merchandise to market match means that you’re selling your products in the best venue possible. Making sure you’re selling your goods in the marketplace that will bring your the highest prices, the most customers and the greatest number of sales is an essential pivot point for success.
Visual Social Marketing. If you sell products online and you haven’t yet ventured into the world of visual social marketing, put this pivot point on your list.
If you’re just now hearing about Pinterest, the visual social marketing site, you may be wondering what all the excitement is about? To get an understanding of what Pinterest is and why it goes hand and hand with ecommerce, read my recent blog posts here and here.
We’re now starting to get the Pinterest numbers from organizations like ComScore that track consumer behavior and the numbers are very telling. Pinterest users spend more money and buy products more frequently when finding a product on Pinterest and clicking through to an external website than Facebook users do.
Often times taking actions on these pivot points can push you out of your comfort zone. For example, you may not want to give up control of your shipping to a third party provider. Maybe the thought of learning how to sell on a new site like Amazon seems overwhelming. But if you act on one pivot at a time, you can do it! And in doing so, you will have done exactly the thing to take your business to the next level!
What’s your next pivot point? Tell me below!
Wow. This is really insightful, Lisa. I’m in the process of “starting over” – reinventing & repositioning in my business for the fifth time in my 15 years online. And these pivot points are even more important each time you look at your business.
As usual your pivot points are exactly on point!
Thanks Jeanette! Yes and in this fast moving world of online sales, with new technology and innovation, the pivot points change – so they always need review.
You are right on track for reinvention and repositioning. Every business needs to continually reinvent themselves to capitalize on all the new opportunities and the evolving needs of their customers.
In fact, I’m in the process of doing that myself now. 🙂
It always keeps things interesting!
Being a new third party seller on Amazon – I started last August – I am always looking to “soak up” as much advice on how to ramp up my small business. What I like about Lisa Suttora’s advice, is that she pushes me
to think strategically about my business. Articles like this one, really force me to think about something other than my next trip to Big Lots or, “I need to order more tape.” If Dale’s Bookcase is going to start growing, I really need to start focusing some of my time on these pivot points. Thanks Lisa!
Thanks so much for your comments! Thinking strategically and allocating time in your week for taking action around these pivot points is key to the growth of your business.
And it’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks which end up taking up your entire week. Before you know it a year has gone by and you find yourself thinking “Wow, I’m doing a lot of work and making some money, but the business is not growing as I’d expected.”
It sounds like you are ready to take mindful actions to grow your business and achieve the results you want! That’s fantastic!