If You Can’t Pivot, Your Startup Is in Trouble

Conor Cawley

During a presidential election, changing your mind can look like weakness. Voters love when a candidate can stick to their guns and commit to their beliefs, regardless of the national and even global implications. But when it comes to startups, there is nothing more valuable than being able to redirect your efforts to match the market needs. And if you can't think on your feet and address the shifting needs of your customers, your startup could be in a lot more trouble than you can handle.

There are plenty of reasons to pivot when it comes to your startups goals. Whether the market has completely changed on you, or the investors have decided you need a different angle, keeping abreast of your viable options can be the difference between Series A and serious problem. Even going with your instinct can be the best way to gauge whether or not you need to make a change in your business model. The definition alone should give you a good idea of what you're trying to accomplish by changing course.

“Structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth,” wrote Eric Ries in The Lean Startup.

A great example of knowing when to pivot is the developers of SKEYE Nano 2 FPV. While their original product was designed to make playing Pokémon Go easier, they were unable to solve their legal and technical difficulties, leading to a quality product with no where to go. But rather than throw in the towel, TRNDlabs decided to pivot and make the product an incredibly useful and effective selfie machine. With stabilizing software and auto-take-off capabilities, they were able to breathe new life into a product that was all but doomed.

If you're a startup founder, you know how much thought and energy goes into coming up with your idea. And while it's hard to abandon your original goal, the ability to shift your focus and recognize your mistakes can go a long way in facilitating growth and success in the future. Changing your mind doesn't have to mean your flip-flopping; it just means you have an open mind, one of the most valuable things an entrepreneur can have in the business world.

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Conor is the Senior Writer for Tech.co. For the last five years, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.

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