Innovation, growth, and change can be scary as ‘h’ ‘e’ double hockey sticks (pardon our french.. canadian). You’ve got the importance of your clients, team, and bottom line weighing on your every decision, and it can often cloud our sense of direction when captaining our ship toward the next big success.
In an echo chamber of opinions, it’s easy to hear one piece of feedback and want to pivot your entire business model, stop that new project, or just succumb to “what the people want” vs what you know they need. Did you catch that part? It’s all too easy to give in to the short-term ask vs solving the big picture problem that our ideal client is unaware exists.
Ex: They keep asking for that caption template you offered a few years back because their IG growth is tanking, but you KNOW they actually need to revamp their entire content plan. So, you stop offering that distracting low-ticket item to better direct their attention + investment on the next tier offer they really need. But now they’re complaining in the DMs about not getting what they’re asking for and you’re feeling stuck at the corner of People Pleasing Street and Serving Them Fully Boulevard.
What do we do when there is pushback from our audience and ideal customers while we make a shift in our offers or business structure?
We listen. We hear their position, and we consider WHY they’re giving us this feedback. Is there something they’re missing, are they not ready for a transition, is there a gap between the first iteration of our offer or business model and the new chapter that we haven’t accounted for? This may be the case if you’ve advanced far beyond your original offer [not a bad thing] but are now trying to take your clients from point A or B all the way to Z without any support in the middle.
Ex: personal trainer originally offered beginner fitness courses for those looking to improve their cardiovascular health, over the last year began transitioning to an elite athlete training style that’s left OG clients feeling out of place in sessions because they just aren’t there. Does the trainer drop the original customers for those who are open to elite training, or adjust their offer style to still satisfy the original customers?
When is it right to push back and say, “This is what we’re offering, this is where the business is going.”
It’s the right call when YOU make it the call- and to be frank, it likely won’t be a fun call to make because decisiveness in business often leads to one camp of happy people and an alternate camp of dissatisfied customers who just want what they want.
As CEO’s, we have to make the call.
Ex: Adam Mosseri may not be the public’s (or Kylie Jenner’s) favorite person right now because of the frequent updates he’s spearheading- but at the end of the day he’s owning decisions that they’ve made.
What if I launch a product or implement a change and it doesn’t go right- do I just backpedal?
*puts on PR hat* It’s not backpedaling if you’re pivoting with purpose. A good CEO follows their vision; a great CEO works with the customer to create a unified vision. So if you’re getting feedback from valued customers (not just the peanut gallery) that this new iteration is just not working for them, it’s okay to turn the car around. Feel confident in making the choice that gets your clients to where they need to be- even if it means a project doesn’t happen how you originally thought it would.
Ex: Think of the coaches who quickly jumped onto Clubhouse and created a curriculum on using the app for your business. For a time, that Clubhouse Course was likely all they publicized and a huge part of their revenue, but as the desire for the app dwindled those coaches naturally pivoted back to their mainstay offers.
What we have to remember, as CEOs, is that we are humans operating from both a logical and emotional place, so basing our decisions and changes on bigger-picture strategies is the only way to feel confident in our direction when audience feedback is not what we expect. Ultimately…
They know what they want, but we know what they NEED.
Allow yourself to lean into your Sophisticated CEO by creating a holistic business model.
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