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Episode Info:

The growth of the tech startup scene over the last decade has brought the idea of the pivot to the attention of entrepreneurs worldwide. A company pivots when it moves from one business model to another. Uber, YouTube and Twitter are just a few of the big names that came about when their creators pivoted from their original ideas. The reasons behind why companies pivot are varied and unique to each original business and it can be a tough process as I have recently found out through personal experience.

If you’ve been following the podcast and my Startup Diaries, you’ll know that I’m currently on the Ignite accelerator program with Adam and our app, Cavalry. Well, Calvary has been shelved for the time being. After a lot of soul searching, it was decided that we wouldn’t be able to get the most out of the 14 week Ignite experience with a service that required us to build a double-sided marketplace, one of the toughest business models out there. This left us with three choices. Go home, create something new in the same space as Cavalry or come up with something completely new. Going home and wasting a fantastic opportunity was never on the cards and creating something new in the same space meant that some of the same issues would be still be present. Therefore, we’ve pivoted and created something new and exciting in hardly any time at all that has not only reinvigorated us but has also received great feedback from the Ignite mentors.

And that is a huge relief, because the idea of pivoting a business can be difficult to wrangle with. Firstly, it’s easy to think that you’ve somehow failed and it can be difficult discussing the pivot with others as you think they might judge. They won’t, of course, but it can be hard to quiet your own mind which is often more critical of you than anyone else in the world. A pivot is a positive reaction to something that wasn’t right. A failure might be walking headfirst into something that you knew wasn’t right, but it’s certainly not making a positive change based on new information.

It’s also easy to think of your idea that’s not working at the moment as rubbish, as something that will never work. It’s easy to think that but it’s not true. You’ve put a hell of a lot of work into that idea and it may not be right at this moment in time, but there’s no need to destroy all your hard work and bin your idea. Put your idea on a shelf and keep it ready for when the time is right. If you thought it was a good idea at some point, then it’s a good idea, wait for conditions to change.

A pivot can be tricky and it can feel a little painful, but it needn’t. It’s a sensible, positive change in direction based on validated learning and new feedback. Onwards and upwards!

Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:

How can I deal emotionally with pivoting my business?

Actionable Tips:

  1. Don’t judge yourself or be afraid of telling people that you are pivoting. A pivot is not in any way a failure. A pivot is a change in direction based on validated learning and feedback. It’s a positive reaction and something that you should do if things aren’t right.
  2. Don’t destroy your idea. Perhaps the time isn’t right for your idea at the moment, but if you place it on a shelf, it will be ready for you when the time is right. Don’t destroy your idea because you can’t see it working. You may run into an opportunity or a person that give the idea new life. When that time comes, you will be ready to go.
  3. A pivot is a huge learning curve. Pivoting your business can give you some of the most valuable business knowledge that you will ever receive. After you’ve pivoted, take some time out to record all of your thoughts and experiences about the process. This will allow you to get everything out and realize that a pivot is in no way a failure. Secondly, it will allow you to take a step back and learn a great deal from all of your experiences.

Top Quotes:

  • “Leaving Ignite was never an option. If we’d have gone home, that would have been the failure, not the pivot.”
  • “A pivot is not a failure.”
  • “Don’t persist with an idea because you’re afraid of failure. Make the change and make it early.”
  • “A pivot is a change in direction based on validated learning and feedback.”


Key Timestamps:

  • [00:54] Challenged Issue
  • [02:20] Cavalry & Ignite
  • [06:01] Shelving an Idea
  • [10:19] The Emotional Side of Pivoting
  • [17:37] Actionable Tips

Don’t forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!

The post Killing Your Business: How to Emotionally Deal with a Pivot appeared first on Excellence Expected, by Mark Asquith.

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