What is a ‘Pivot’ in a Business?

If a Startup attracts customers but fails to keep them or manages to keep customers but fails to run the business operations successfully, it can still head for losses. But, ‘pivot’ can be a 'saviour.'


What does Pivot mean?

Pivot means a modification in the business strategy. This shift is applied to test a new approach for the startup business model post receiving feedback. In simple words, change in the startup idea for the business to survive in the market is ‘pivot’.

Why a Startup Might Need to Pivot?

Charles Darwin’s Theory, ‘Survival of the fittest’ explains a ‘pivot’ in a business well. The primary reason for companies to ‘pivot’ is ‘survival.’ When the current products or services are not meeting the needs of the market, a change in the direction of the business to be visible in the market, improve the revenue and survive is a must. However, ‘pivot’ shall only be considered after exhausting all the possible options.

Warning Signs to Decide ‘When’ to Pivot

The immense competition, stagnant company progress or a change in the business perspective can result in a ‘pivot.’ As an entrepreneur, you must watch out for the below warning signs to decide when to ‘pivot:’

Customer is Unable to Understand the Value

If you repeatedly explain to your customers how your product is solving their issues but, they still do not understand product value on their own. It means a market for your product does not exist as of now.

Product is not Scalable

Scalability is important for business survival. Therefore, if the product is not scalable with the available finances you may or may not have, a new approach may be required.

Product is not competitive

Products or services provided by your startup are good but still not good enough to motivate a client to switch. So, it may be time to work on the competitive edge.

Only a Part of the Product is useful

If part of the product provides a solution to the client but the product as a whole does not, you shall consider a shift in the business idea.

Customer isn’t Promoting the Product

First customers’ vs Future customers’ expectations will vary. Your first customers may not think that your product really provides a solution to their problem or maybe are unaware of their problems leading to a lack of passion to promote the product. Hence, the time to make a shift.

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Charles Darwin’s Theory, ‘Survival of the fittest’ explains a ‘pivot’ in a business well. The primary reason for companies to ‘pivot’ is ‘survival.’

What’s in it for me?

Absence of agility and adaptability to the customer need will result in business failure in the long run. Start-ups will need to adjust to the fact that they must make progressive changes to improve the product. Twitter is a perfect example of a ‘pivot’. Twitter – a popular social media platform to send short instant messages and updates is a pivot from a podcasting company known as ‘Odeo’ that could not compete with Apple’s iTunes.

In today’s times, Pandemic due to the outbreak of coronavirus became the main reason for many start-ups to make a ‘pivot.’ A Bengaluru based Space Designers Startup, 10by10 builds sustainable and smart solutions for both customers and the environment. Inspired by Do It Yourself (DIY) methodology, they designed ISO.POD, an instant isolation portable room to protect people/consumers against further infection.

Many businesses and their solutions became irrelevant as the demand changed and the start-ups which saw the opportunity in the pandemic as a ‘blessing in disguise’ survived.

Roopali Kotwal
Roopali Kotwal
Roopali is an industry expert with over a decade of experience. An alumna of Delhi University she writes on Human Resource Management and Business Operations.

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