One of the most important things to keep in mind when running your own business is the needs of your customers and how you can best cater to them. Even if you have never had a single customer in your life, you should have an idea of the type of customer you are after, what they are looking for, and what you can do for them.
But say that you are pretty well established, you think you have a clear direction of where your company is headed, and then suddenly, the needs of your customers shift.
How can this happen?
Well, likely it didn’t just “suddenly” happen. Even if if took you awhile to catch on, this was probably right under the surface for quite awhile.
Sometimes we can have a direction or plan that we want to pursue, but subtly that direction starts to shift, we start to gain more followers for this new trend, and before you know it, your business has a whole new direction and audience.
It’s actually a totally normal way for a business to evolve.
For instance, I had been working as a graphic designer and developer (meaning I do the coding) and most of my work was digital. It was awesome, and I loved it. Still do! But then typography began to really become an interest of mine when I worked on designs. And obviously handwritten fonts and logos are all the rage so I tried my hand at that. My readers loved it. And I realized how much I loved modern calligraphy and handlettering so I started working on some prints. Before I knew it, I had a greeting card and art print line that was making me some extra income on top of my website design work.
Sometimes it can be more subtle than even this. Maybe you are a blogger that is great at social media. You’re so good in fact that readers start asking for social media advice. So you do a couple of blog posts about how you boost your following. Those posts just attract more readers that are interested in your social media magic. Maybe even a couple of them reach out to you to personally to help them build their online presence. You started as a blogger, and before you know it you’ve just become a social media manager as well.
In these instances, it seems fairly easy to go with the flow of your business evolving. But what if your business takes a direction you didn’t expect and you aren’t sure if you want to pursue it? Say, your readers/customers really care about one aspect of your business, but you don’t want that to become your only outlet.
Test the Waters
First, just test it out. You never know if you will like something, or be good at it, if you don’t give it a chance. You may think that this new path is limiting in some regards, but in reality it could open up whole new opportunities that you hadn’t thought of before. And if your audience is pushing for it, it could actually be your secret calling!
Maybe your readers really like your fitness posts. Well you don’t JUST have to post about fitness. But maybe you could start a youtube channel of your workouts. Or a series on your favorite healthy recipes. Let the initial change light a fire within your creativity and inspire you to get outside your comfort zone.
Do Your Homework
Find business owners that are in this new career path. Are you interested in what they are doing currently or are you still drawn to your original plan? Does their work inspire you or overwhelm you? You can actually figure out a lot about your own preferences just by asking simple questions like these.
But remember that your business is not like anyone else’s. You are the boss and you can turn it into anything you want. So while learning from others in the field is a great resource, still keep an open mind about your own possibilities.
Ask Your Audience
Seriously, talk to your readers. Ask them what they are liking and what they are responding to. I’m sure you will get some feedback. And people like for their voice to be heard and their needs to be met.
As your audience forms, your business is also forming. Be genuine and let the rest take shape.
Embrace the Change
Change is inevitable and it proves that you are moving forward. Hopefully years down the line, your blogging, videos, courses, and work have improved. I know I certainly wouldn’t want my work to look the same now as when I first started. As certain skills and knowledge improve, adapting to change will come more naturally.
If you see your business headed down a path, keep an open mind. Find out about the possibilities that are out there and how you could make them your own. Don’t limit yourself, your business, or your audience because you are afraid of change.
Have you seen a shift in your audience or business lately? Has change in your business come easily to you or is it still a work in progress?