Business model · Startup Law

At what point do you realize is time to pivot?

Svetlana Gluschuk QA Analyst

October 20th, 2016

In my opinion, in order for the startup to be successful it has to be a passion first, something that drives you, so I am not sure if this is an option at all. It would mean that there is a major flaw in your business model. However, entrepreneurs are successfully pivoting and continue growing business like nothing happened. What do you think about it? Is it all about choosing the right timing? When do you realized you have to pivot?

Ren FRSA CEO - Zymge

October 23rd, 2016

Often you don't and can't know if it's the right time. It may be a fundamental issue with your business model that's the problem, or it might simply be the wrong sales / advertising strategy, price point, target market or something else. Unless there's something obviously wrong with the business you are not going to have the time or money to exhaust every option combination so it's a matter of judgment, risk taking, and probably luck. It's generally good to get advice from someone who's had little involvement with the company because the passion it needs to grow an idea tends to create emotional bonds with particular ways of doing thing that are hard for the founders to break. 

Noah Gift Consulting CTO & Cloud Architect: I build teams, companies, products, cloud architectures and revenue.

October 23rd, 2016

The best time to pivot is when you realize your company cannot make company.  Pivoting to something that creates revenue is never a bad thing versus hoping for a miracle.

Brian DeVore CEO and Co-Founder; Healthcare Consultant

October 20th, 2016

Sometimes pivots are a result of rushing to market and not doing enough due dillegence on the problem you are trying to solve.  Patience is underrated. Also, building a product for a select customer and customizing to point where it cannot be sold to anyone else will result in a pivot.  Once you have determined that problem you are solving is broad enough to engage a larger market or group of customers, a pivot is acceptable.   Focus on a MVP that appeals to that larger segment and get commits early before development work begins.

Steve Willson Questioner, Collaborator, Believer in Customer Understanding, Facilitation and Planning

October 20th, 2016

Hi Svetlana,

In my years advising businesses, from start-up to global giants, the passion that makes them successful is the passion to solve their customer's problems.

So the short answer about when to pivot is to do so when you realize that the value proposition you had doesn't fit the problem or customer that you had in mind, but there is some other problem that exists with those customers, or some other customer who has your original problem.  Then pivot to focus on that value prop and business model.

If the problem doesn't exist, or is not large enough to fund your business model, then it's likely not a pivot.  You may chose to blow up your business model and start on something new.

Hopefully that will help you understand when you pivot or when you pass.

Let me know if we can help you in anyway, as it all about the customer