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What separates a successful startup from the majority that fail?

Pivots are very critical. The startup that I've been working with for the last few years had to make a hard choice: were they going to be a hardware company with firmware that just tackles old machines that don't communicate, or would they become a software company that goes from A to Z, one that connects and gives you analytics plus the analysis that drives a workforce? It took a little bit of convincing but to their credit, they made that pivot. I had a direct conversation with them and said, "You either exist, or you don't. It's one of those things." They were smart and said, "Yep, we’ll pivot." I've had small- and even medium-sized startups that said, "Nope, we’ll stay in the direction we're heading." And they don't exist anymore right now. It’s a hard truth: you either pivot or I don't have a problem for you to solve and you can go elsewhere. But I would bet that you’ll still have to solve this problem in order to exist in 1-2 years. And sure enough, they don't.

Anonymous Author
Pivots are very critical. The startup that I've been working with for the last few years had to make a hard choice: were they going to be a hardware company with firmware that just tackles old machines that don't communicate, or would they become a software company that goes from A to Z, one that connects and gives you analytics plus the analysis that drives a workforce? It took a little bit of convincing but to their credit, they made that pivot. I had a direct conversation with them and said, "You either exist, or you don't. It's one of those things." They were smart and said, "Yep, we’ll pivot." I've had small- and even medium-sized startups that said, "Nope, we’ll stay in the direction we're heading." And they don't exist anymore right now. It’s a hard truth: you either pivot or I don't have a problem for you to solve and you can go elsewhere. But I would bet that you’ll still have to solve this problem in order to exist in 1-2 years. And sure enough, they don't.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Business is dynamic and so are customer needs. You have to be able to pivot and do it smartly. One of the things I learned from my startup experience is to always have an open mind and recognize when a pivot is the right thing to do. We spent a lot of time trying to build a solution that worked in the microprocessor space, only to realize that there was more market benefit in working with supply chain and manufacturing companies, and creating devices to build electronic Kanban-type solutions. But we got to that pivot too late. If we had done it about six months earlier, we might have raised enough funding to ride through the turmoil of 9/11. But we came together to recognize as a team which one had real market potential and an immediate need where we could make a difference. So I'm a big believer in pivots. I think it's a matter of having the right team, execution, collaboration, as well as a lot of information to base those decisions on so that you can pivot in time.
2 upvotes