When to Pivot in a Startup

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Continuing with yesterday’s post on The Search for a Business Model it’s also important to think through when to pivot in a startup. A pivot, or iteration, is when you take information learned and make a change to the business model, some changes more dramatic than others. Here are a few items to keep in mind when considering a pivot:

  • Think through the core strengths of the startup and consider pivots that play to those strengths as well as experience already gained
  • Talk to as many people as possible about the current thesis and pivot when it’s clear it isn’t working (e.g. talk to five companies and consider pivoting if you don’t pick up any new clues or meet milestones)
  • Ask yourself if you’re making enough progress in your current direction and if you’ve encountered any related ideas that are more promising
  • Don’t be afraid to keep your current offering up while you explore new ideas, you never know what information you might learn in the interim

In general, I’ve seen that people don’t pivot soon enough and continue down a path that isn’t working. My recommendation is to pay close attention to progress, or lack of progress, with the current business model and don’t be afraid to make changes quickly based on new information.

What else? What other tips do you have when thinking through pivoting in a startup?

2 thoughts on “When to Pivot in a Startup

    1. Thanks Adam. No success is overnight. When I think of not pivoting soon enough, I think of 3-18 months. If you don’t have serious progress in that timeframe you’re either going down the wrong the path, building something disruptive that might take years more, have bad market timing, or not doing a good job.

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