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How do startup founders know when a pivot is needed?

There are micro and macro pivots in businesses, and you want to make sure you are intentional about it either way. Don't do it because you think, “My competitor's doing this, so I have to do it.” Be deliberate about whatever adjustments you make to your strategy or execution. You will make some major macro pivots at some point, but those changes don't happen every day. Micro pivots could happen every week. If a competitor puts out an ad, for example, maybe I’ll want to change my marketing messaging. Macro pivots could happen if there's a gap in the market for our product. Then we can repackage the product, add a few more capabilities and reposition it. Repackaging is a bigger shift because you’re trying to go after a different market. Pharma companies are very good at that — they'll re-patent, add a few more capabilities, and then what was once an antidepressant now becomes a weight loss drug. You also have to know what is driving that pivot. Is it market demand? Is there a gap in the market for something new? Is it timing, because you want to be first to market, or is it a competitive response? It could be what I call an influence shift, which happens when you intentionally change the direction of the product based on the input of a big customer. Another potential reason is that an investor is making you pivot because they see your startup from a different vantage point than you as the founder. So understand why you're pivoting, but also be ready to pivot away from your initial pivot if it's not working out — don't get married to your strategy. Strategy changes, so be nimble about it as you go, and understand the shifts that are happening.

Anonymous Author
There are micro and macro pivots in businesses, and you want to make sure you are intentional about it either way. Don't do it because you think, “My competitor's doing this, so I have to do it.” Be deliberate about whatever adjustments you make to your strategy or execution. You will make some major macro pivots at some point, but those changes don't happen every day. Micro pivots could happen every week. If a competitor puts out an ad, for example, maybe I’ll want to change my marketing messaging. Macro pivots could happen if there's a gap in the market for our product. Then we can repackage the product, add a few more capabilities and reposition it. Repackaging is a bigger shift because you’re trying to go after a different market. Pharma companies are very good at that — they'll re-patent, add a few more capabilities, and then what was once an antidepressant now becomes a weight loss drug. You also have to know what is driving that pivot. Is it market demand? Is there a gap in the market for something new? Is it timing, because you want to be first to market, or is it a competitive response? It could be what I call an influence shift, which happens when you intentionally change the direction of the product based on the input of a big customer. Another potential reason is that an investor is making you pivot because they see your startup from a different vantage point than you as the founder. So understand why you're pivoting, but also be ready to pivot away from your initial pivot if it's not working out — don't get married to your strategy. Strategy changes, so be nimble about it as you go, and understand the shifts that are happening.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Pivoting and startups are synonymous. By definition, a startup is a temporary organization that is constantly searching for a validated business model. On a daily basis, you are pivoting on three pillars: 1. Desirability: Does my customer want this? Is it something worth solving? 2. Viability: Is it going to make money eventually? 3. Feasibility: Can I do this? You're constantly pivoting around those pillars until you reach that product-market fit. As soon as you get there, most of your pivoting is around feasibility, because you're optimizing and maximizing your outputs. But when you get to that stage, you're also exploring new things, so you are freely pivoting as a startup while exploiting what you have validated. You start downtuning and micro pivoting in a way that emboldens your position in the market. 
1 upvotes