Pivot (or Persevere)

Every entrepreneur eventually faces an overriding challenge in developing a successful product: deciding when to pivot and when to persevere.

For every startup the moment comes when it has to make this hard decision - are the metrics good enough, and can we keep continuing with the current vision of the product, growth strategy, etc? Or are we far away from the ideal number, and do we have to adjust the vision? This change is called Pivot.

Pivots are good because they help with growing a sustainable business.

Pivots require courage. Most of the entrepreneurs, who pivoted, tell that they regret not make that decision sooner. There can be a few reasons why this is so. For example, vanity metrics may lead to wrong conclusions. Or, when an entrepreneur has an unclear hypothesis, it’s impossible to experience a complete failure. And pivoting is scary, and entrepreneurs are afraid to acknowledge the failure.

Delaying the pivot is dangerous because the startup may run out of money before it validates the business model. And pivots are sometimes necessary to do so.

Take into account, that pivot may not only be necessary for the early stages of the startup, but also when the startup is growing well, and getting more and more customers. For example, you may grow virally and gain popularity fast in a certain demographic that is very limited. That means, you may grow fast for one year, and yet that may end eventually. Don’t put too much attention on the vanity metrics, but work on the whole engine altogether.

There are following types of pivots.

Zoom-in Pivot - A single feature of a product becomes the product itself.

Zoom-out Pivot - The whole product you build becomes just a feature in a much bigger product

Customer Segment Pivot - When you realize that your product solves a problem much better in a completely different segment group.

Customer Need Pivot - When you realize that the problem you’re trying to solve is not worth solving at all. But you encounter a similar problem that is worth solving.

Platform Pivot - When you change the platform.

Business Architecture Pivot - It’s when you change the business model from the high margin and low volume into the low margin and high volume. Or vice versa.

Value Capture Pivot - It’s when you change the monetization strategy or the revenue model.

The Engine of Growth Pivot - when you change the way you acquire new customers.

Principles to follow