Consider Blue Sky Opportunities When Pivoting in a Startup


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Recently I met with a startup that has decided to pivot their business model. After six weeks of talking to prospects and potential business partners they realized it wasn’t going to work. Yes, a prototype was built, something even less than a minimum viable product, and the appetite for it was negligible.

With a decision made to pivot, the initial thought was to do something around the original idea but in a different manner — something between a pivot (hard change) and an iteration (soft change). Once I heard this from them I pushed back. They have a clean slate, there’s no reason to stick with the original area, and they should spend some time doing unfettered brainstorming.

My recomendation: come up with 100 blue sky opportunities on a white board, whittle them down to 10, and marinate on those for a few days. After that, compare the 10 with the initial idea, pick one, and move forward with customer development.

What else? What other things should be done when pivoting in a startup?

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