When The Facts Change Pivot

One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to determine in their journey towards growing a business is whether to pivot or persevere. This is especially challenging for the entrepreneur who is characteristically hard working, risk-taking and determined. If things get hard, their instinct is to keep pressing on. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Things are changing all the time, especially today. We have an idea of how things will work. Then we move forward testing the idea. As we move, our vision and perspective expand. Furthermore, other forces are at work – competitors, markets, partners, etc. Your plans may be well-intentioned, but it’s impossible to account for every change on the course.

I can remember when I was building some business process software in the past. As we were ready to launch, there were emerging risks with our market and how we were going to appropriately resource the support necessary for launch.

Instead of pressing ahead foolishly, we pivoted. We took our assets and repurposed them towards a solution involving a combination of software and services. The result was that we could work with select customers, stay close to the product to continually iterate and be paid at enterprise consulting fees rather than mere software license fees.

There were times I did not pivot and gave into that carnal instinct of pressing ahead. It’s always painful.

The pivot requires that you are able to use your creativity specifically. You have to:

  • See new possibilities. Look at contingencies and ways to repurpose what you are doing. Practice opening your mind to all the ways you could stay with your big goal and change the means you get there. Don’t confuse the methods with the goal.
  • Think absolute. We are hard-wired as human beings to think relatively, rather than absolutely. The price of something only has meaning based on the relationship to other things. When we are vested for a period of time, we have to look and say, “If I was fresh in this situation, would I make the same decision?” Our emotional investment of time and energy can cloud our thinking.
  • Decipher input. People that are outside your circumstances are less emotionally involved. Be sure to have trusted advisors that are able to speak truthfully and clearly in your life to help you come to a clear decision. Differentiate good and bad advice.

When the facts change, I change. What do you do?

How have you handled the hard decision to pivot or persevere in your experiences? Feel free to comment.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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