When to pivot

Today I talked to a Founder that considers pivoting, and here are a few thoughts on this process.

Let’s start with the basics. Pivot is an entirely normal thing to do for a startup. This should not be a huge decision. Why do startups pivot? Because there is an opportunity cost for you to continue doing something which does not grow as fast as you want it to. Also, statistically, if you take multiple quality shots at the goal, you have a better chance of hitting the target. The decision to pivot or not is the founder’s thing. Therefore all I could do to help in this case is to offer the founder a set of questions. 

  1. How many months have you been pushing on with your current idea up to now?
  2. Did you give this idea a full-time quality effort?
  3. How well are things working with idea 1 (honestly)? Is it growing? Have your reached product-market fit? (Most probably not, because then your main problem would be with keeping up with demand)
  4. Do you have good options to try to make it work that you believe in?
  5. How big are both ideas (the one you want to pivot from and the one you pivot to)? Can you imagine them being unicorns even in theory?
  6. How excited are you and your team with Idea 1 and Idea 2?
  7. Can you execute both of them without external help?
  8. How easy is it to get started/continue with Idea 1 and 2?
  9.  What is the customer feedback on both ideas? Are customers crazy about buying as soon as they hear about the idea?

Rate the ideas on a scale from 1 to 5 on every question above and make up your mind.

PS: pivoting with employees is much harder than just with a team of founders, so if that’s the case, the process needs special attention.

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