The Ultimate Small Business Pivot for Profit Strategy Guide

A Strategy Guide with Perry Marshall

As a business owner, is it time to jump ship and “machine gun the wreckage,” pivot adjacently to find the bleeding necks or possibly even altogether? Let’s find out.

While all of us are facing a new normal and new way of life due to the coronavirus pandemic, our businesses are, too.

That business you loved and ran a mere 6 weeks ago?

It’s gone. No longer exists.

It could be that your entire industry is dead. Or it could be that just your messaging is dead.

Regardless of what business you had, or think you still have, in order to thrive in the coming weeks and months, your best bet is to mourn.

And then move on.


Everybody Wins

In March, our clients allowed us to win back their customers and return failed payments to their business.

And now it’s April, the month we get to take March’s success in serving our family of clients and pay it forward, impacting some people in some big ways.

After we returned revenue to our clients, our ultimate goal, we took some of what remained and gave it away.

We have invested it back into the people that serve our clients and their customers.


Because our internal mantra that says, "Everybody Wins,” really means everybody.

We don’t get paid until our clients do. We don’t win unless our clients win. And our clients don’t win unless their customers win.

What many of our clients are also realizing is a key part of this secret sauce in helping their customers win, they help others win as well.

Simply put, our clients serve our internal team as much as our internal team works to serve their clients.

In light of these dark times, Gravy’s clients are serving up hope in the form of a new scholarship, a single mom’s rent payment and other acts of kindness simply by allowing Gravy to serve them during this season.

Machine Gun the Wreckage

There’s hope to be had on the other side of this coronavirus pandemic, but in order to embrace what’s next, you first have to come to the realization it may be time to say goodbye to what’s left.

One of the premier business strategists in the world, Perry Marshall, recently spoke about how you can grow your new business while you grieve the one you had.

The steps he outlines provide a clear road map to struggling business owners to evaluate whether their business is salvageable — or if it’s perhaps time to jump ship.

Being ruthlessly honest with yourself as to the reality of your current (and future) business situation is the first step in being able to move forward and create a new one.

The next step? Speed.

“Entire industries are going to be gone,” Marshall said. “If your business can’t be saved, then run as fast as you can and machine gun the wreckage.”

The Impact Factor

How can you tell where your business lies? Marshall created a quiz to determine your COVID-19 Impact Factor for your business.

Depending on your business’ score, it may be time to stay and simply pivot your messaging — or it may be time to go and pivot your business altogether.

But either way, there’s no time to waste in confronting the reality of how the market has completely changed in a matter of weeks.

“Nothing matters the way it was before,” Marshall said.

Your Message in the Market

Even if your business is one that is able to survive the complete market disruption, it doesn’t mean you can wait for things to go back to normal, either.

For several in the middle of this, you may not pivot your whole business, but there may be new opportunities alongside and adjacent to.

For example, your pivot in the season ahead could potentially be the need to change your message to the market.

Why doesn’t your old messaging matter?

“Message is only meaningful in the market,” Marshall said. “People think the way to success is managing teams. But none of it is important as in your market. And the market just completely changed.”

If your market still exists, then your message must change to meet the new needs of your consumers, in the new way they need to hear it.

“I am sure Virgin Airlines had a great message six weeks ago, but it doesn’t matter now,” Marshall said. “For some, your market completely went away. For some, your message six weeks ago was great, and now it’s just okay.”

No matter where your market and messaging currently lies, it’s a good idea to take inventory of what your consumers now need to hear, and pivot accordingly.

Find the Bleeding Necks

For others, it’s not enough to just change your messaging to the market if the market no longer exists.

If your business is finding itself in a position of needing to completely pivot altogether and create a new one, you are going to need more than just awareness. You are going to need to take action — quickly.

For example, if the business you had in February has completely lost the demand tied to it, or the laws changed making it impossible to operate and make an income, it’s likely time to pivot.

So, what do you do now?

“You are going to have to figure out where a bleeding neck is,” Marshall said.

The Five Truths (and a Bonus 6th)

In Marshall’s book, 80/20 Sales and Marketing, he cites five things that are always true when anyone sells anything to anybody.

“There are relatively true truths when it comes to business and marketing, but these five things are always true,” Marshall said.

When strategically evaluating your pivot into your business idea, your new business angle, or even your new messaging for your current business, filtering it through these five truths will lead you from pivot to profit.

1. They have the money

2. They have a bleeding neck

3. You have a definite selling proposition

4. They have the ability to say yes

5. It fits their overall plan.

Like you need to disqualify buyers, you also have to disqualify your pivot propositions.

Let’s break these down.

1. They have the money

Does your new business or pivot have a market of people who have money to buy?

A lot of people assume no one has money to buy, but that’s not true. People still have money to spend to fix their problems—they are just spending it differently.

2. They have a bleeding neck

Think about it this way. If you hurt your arm and head to the ER, and even if it’s hanging on by a thread, you will receive a clipboard, ask to fill out paperwork and take a seat until you can be seen.

But, if you are rushed in with a gunshot wound and a bleeding neck, you get rushed to the front of the line.

Your problem is urgent and needs an urgent fix.

“If you want to make the big bucks, your product or service has to deal with something that involves pain and great inconvenience, loss of money, threat of loss, and/or some craving for pleasure that borders on the irrational,” Marshall writes in his blog post on this very topic.

These are your buyers. And we are surrounded by more bleeding necks than ever before.

“You have to jerk your head up and look up and realize there are MORE bleeding necks than ever before,” Marshall said. “Who do you know has a problem? Who do you know who has a solution?”

Talk to them and formulate your pivot.

“But you have to end what you thought was the business you had,” he continues.

“You say, ‘I’m in the live wedding business.’ Well, you aren’t now. We aren’t doing weddings anytime soon. So, stop. The point of this is even if you are in a market that is growing, the necks are bleeding and different.”

3. You have a unique selling proposition (USP)

What do you do better than better than else in my market? Why should people buy from you? What is your If/If/Then/Else statement?

For example, Marshall says, take Gravy.

“If you are a company that takes recurring rev, then Gravy will recoup up to 3x lost revenue for a no-brainer commission structure. Gravy does this better than anyone else. The marketplace is telling (Gravy CEO Casey Graham) he has a definite selling proposition.”

4. They have the ability to say yes

You can have everything lined up from your market demand to bleeding necks to you USP, but if you can’t get in front of those who have the power to buy, your effort is useless.

5. It fits their overall plan

Whatever you sell needs to naturally fit into the forces that already exist inside and outside your prospects’ world. It can’t require a ton of effort of brain surgery “unless brain surgery is literally a lot less painful than the alternative (e.g., dying).” Marshall writes.

Lastly, Marshall opens up about a bonus sixth truth that is crucial in today’s market.

6. There has to be a GROWING market, not a shrinking one

Even if a market is hanging on at the moment, where is it logically headed? If it’s not going to grow in the new market that is emerging daily, then this is not your pivot.

Staying Alive

Now that you have a road map of where to go and the questions to ask along the way, as a business owner, there’s no time to waste to take action today.

In fact, the key to unlocking your pivot may lie at the other end of a phone call in asking your current customers about what they are experiencing now and being curious about their new pain points.

“It probably won’t be obvious what the business model is at first,” Marshall said. “A lot of you need to just pick up the phone and call all your customers and just say, ‘Talk to me.’ There are a lot of people who have a lot of time on their hands, and they want to talk.”

If you want to stay alive, Marshall emphasizes, go find a bleeding neck now.

Gravy Protects Your Pivot — and Your Profit

Just like the market and messaging has changed, the way you address that market has changed.

If you want to protect your new pivot and your new business, you simply have to address churn and customer retention in the only way that truly works.

Automation and cold tactics not only don’t work in this new world, but it can have damaging effects on your business and brand for weeks and months to come.

For your pivot to survive, you need more than just new revenue, you need to retain and recover the revenue you have worked — and will work — harder than ever before to acquire.

A warm, human-based approach to saving failed payments and retaining customer loyalty is the way forward, and why Gravy is the Number 1 choice the world’s top brands rely on, and with the industry-leading results to prove it.

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