Pivot or Persist?

The most taunting feeling entrepreneurs experience along the journey is doubt. Whether doubting their ideas or their ability to implement them. From one side, everyone is told that persistence and grit is essential when all the odds are against. While from another, negative business indicators should never be ignored. Between trying stay to resilient and trying to stay business-wise, comes the question: Should I pivot and reset my business strategy or persist and stick to my project?

Although there is no straight answer as each business case is too unique to propose a decision guide, the answer should be a product of how bad the challenges are and how bad do you want it.We highly recommend looking at your readiness and motivation “the soft side” on equal basis to the business context and numbers “hard side”. No need to mention countless entrepreneurs and change leaders who held firm on their visions and made it against all odds.

It is noteworthy that having some paying customers or some profits should not really affect your decision. Simply because you might be working on a sophisticated technology or a long-development venture that takes some time to yield; or you might have been lucky with a man-date or a contract out of your angel investor’s network can not be easily replicated within your standard sales capacity. 

Is the market accepting your idea?
Yes, it is as vague and subjective as it sounds, but the following points shall guide you through:
• Is the number of customers or interested prospects increasing or stagnating?
• Did similar offerings or business models make it through? If so, are your market circumstances as good as theirs? 
• Is the demand on your offering on the rise or the market is shifting attention to a substitute?
• Do forward-looking industry professionals believe in it? If not, do you have a solid reasoning against their rational?

Do you have what it requires?
• Even if your business model is still evolving, are you familiar with the critical success factors or acceptance threshold? It is something like the escape velocity. For instance, any SaaS can get stomached without being a brand but not without having a good user interface. Unlikely, a strong brand is a critical success factor for an automotive maker.
• Are you close to possessing the know-how and capabilities needed to realize the success factors identified above?
• Can you secure enough cash to supply the business with the resources needed to meet the acceptance threshold?

How much does it mean for you?
Numbers and facts do matter the most in business. However, there is another dimension which impacts the score: the trial capacity. If someone’s chance of success is 10%; he needs to multiply his effort by a factor of 5 or more to become more likely to succeed than to fail. Hence, if the answers for the first 2 questions are negative, do not decide before you ask yourself how far you are willing to go to make it happen, and how much damage can you undergo till then.

If you are willing to endure long enough till you fill in the gap between what you have and what the business requires, and/or to educate the market about a new disruption, persist. If not, you shall pivot now because you will later. Keep in mind that you would need a great deal of honesty and objectivity. 


Hal Praxis’s Entrepreneurial Think Patterns© practice has been developed based on rigorous research to help entrepreneurs think right through hard times. Get in contact with us and to benefit from our free of charge resources.

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