As an entrepreneur, it’s hard not to get super-attached to your business idea. It’s your baby, after all. You’ve probably spent years envisioning, pitching, advancing and romanticizing the concept you developed and the mission you want to fulfill. That kind of drive is exactly what it takes to be a successful leader and to build a successful business. The problem is that when you’re so invested in your initial plan, you might not realize it’s just not working. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up.
Instead of acknowledging that a work idea is failing and giving up, many successful business owners have embraced the art of “the pivot” and gone on to achieve huge success.
There are two factors that can signify its time for a pivot: internal and external.
- Lack of motivation or lethargy
- Losing staff
- Changes in the industry landscape or competition
- Investor dropout
- Changes in customer needs
When to Pivot
There isn’t really a tried and true time for a company to start considering the pivot. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep it in mind from day one. The most important thing is not to fear pivots or decisions that could change your course — even if you don’t know what that course is yet. Ask yourself the hard questions, and start to develop a process to filter your decision-making.
Have a vision and mission statement that anchors you and your company.
Outline past experiences, current circumstances and future hopes and dreams.
With every turning point or decision that comes up, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this something I need to be spending valuable time on?
- Is this supporting the overall goal of my company and my mission statement?
- Is this in line with my company’s identity?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then go forward without hesitation. If it’s no, it’s likely that course doesn’t align with your core vision, which means it’s time to move on and pivot in a new direction. The key to entrepreneurial success isn’t sticking with an idea until it works; it’s pivoting toward an idea that sticks.