Welcome to the thirteenth article of our Entrepreneurial Wednesdays series. In this series, I share my thoughts on lean entrepreneurship as I take my first steps in my journey. I will be sharing my lessons learned with you.
The last chapter of our Entrepreneurial Wednesdays series focused on pivoting. As this is a very complex topic and is crucial in the life-cycle of a company there is still more to mention.
You and your team are in a situation when you pivoted and the performance of the company is still in decline. What now? Who said that you can’t pivot again? You can pivot as many times as you want. I mean, as you can. The number of pivots your company account can take is thought to be by some people the limit until which you can experiment with the product. If you pass the limit you either start to gain profits or….well, things go bad.
Let’s imagine that your bank account is really starting to look bad. But you feel that you are so close to successfully adapting the MVP, you just need some more time! The things you can do are very simple, though not easy to do. You can either lower the costs or try to get funding. The thing with the first one is that even though you save some money, you also lower the amount of time it takes you to go through the build-measure-learn cycle. You might want to do the math before actually cutting the costs and see where this step will take the development. Funding is a completely different chapter. Unless you can logically allocate tasks it can happen that you have to partly stop the development to prepare everything for this process. This needs a lot of decision to be made.
As if it was not enough, sometimes it can be the management and the employees that are yet another resist point in the company structure. Like I mentioned in the previous part of the serious, members of the team sometimes dislike this change of course in forms of pivots. Well, pivots need courage. Really, pivots are depressing, they bring you to ”no man’s land” and they can create arguments. Is there a better way of how to make it work than pivots? Probably, no. But if any of you have any experience with successful pivots you already know how fruitful they are.
Now you have a clear idea of the side-effects of pivoting. You also know how important they are. But let me point out something that might sound like a simple thing, but a thing that companies forget about. You decide to pivot, you know the metrics and you know where the pivot will be headed. Before actually starting the whole process ask you: ”Do I really need to change EVERYTHING?” Sometimes the company has already created a some kind of a platform for what the pivot is trying to accomplish. Maybe it is not necessary to really change everything that is already built. This also needs some research and can consume time, but on the other hand, it saves a lot of time and effort.
Let’s go mainstream
Once you pivot successfully you find yourself in a completely new situation. The bad situation is the past and you maintained a ”kind of” stability (but you need traction of course). With this in mind, companies like to think that they can now move to mainstream customers. What? I mean, pivoting was successful so why not just go for it?
Maybe because the mainstream customers are completely different and have different needs than early-adopters. Please, do not let yourself be blinded by the success of the pivot. Mainstream needs your product in a completely new level of perfection. Something like an updated MVP will just not do. And you will have a very hard time explaining that you are just a small startup of 5 people working 18 hours a day so that is why this and that feature still hasn’t been implemented. I think you know where I’m headed. There is no real guide of how to build a startup, but you still need to do it step by step.