In your Entrepreneurial journey you will find many challenges, obstacles and problems; but at any time you will always have to consider one single thing, Pivoting. We have already focused on it while we were testing the Tawkon Retro Handset, but we have never taken a deeper look at the pivoting process that an Entrepreneur may face during his journey.
Pivoting is the art of understanding when something is wrong in your business, life or career. If you see that what you are doing is not working in the way you wanted, you might consider pivoting toward new opportunities. However in some circumstances the Entrepreneur pivots without even noticing to have done it.
In the past, many startups, that had chosen a business model, were forced (by data) to realise that there were different and better ways to make money or to start a business. By constantly checking the feedback that you receive from your costumers, your tools and your beta testers, you can see the right time to change the plan.
This is very common in the Lean Startup process because you are always pivoting at any time, looking for the best product and market penetration. Although I don’t like the Lean Startup “idea”, I have to admit that my life is a constant “Pivot” cause I always start new things without finishing the ones I have already started. The main difference is that I pivot when I get bored, not when I don’t see any “market penetration” in my projects.
You will be surprised in finding that the best companies in the world have pivoted at least once in their entrepreneurial journey.
Instagram, the most recent “success” story, has pivoted. Kevin Systrom, CEO and Founder, received a first investment of $500,000 from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz to build a location based service called Burbn. It was pretty similar to what Foursquare is today, but in the end they saw that people were more interested in pictures rather than “check-ins”. That’s why they chose to pivot and build Instagram, the best 1B dollars deal of this decade.
Twitter, the best micro-blogging service ever, has pivoted. The company was formerly called Odeo, which enabled its users to create, record and share podcasts. Odeo didn’t build the basis of what Twitter is today, but let the founders know each other and understand how a startup must be driven.
Flickr, one of the first sharing-photo site, that started as a massive multiplayer online game. However, in the end, they saw an interest in pictures and they pivoted their original plan. What it was a tremendous pivot that change completely the initial business model, it turned out to be a successful business story that ended with a $40 million deal.
The list is pretty long and it never ends because there is always someone that is pivoting. Companies such as Facebook, Paypal, Groupon, Microsoft, Apple and Youtube have pivoted at least once. The lesson here is pretty simple, you always have to be in control of what you are doing and see if you are following the mission you chose to pursue. If you find obstacles, you might consider facing them and losing what you have already built or pivoting.