September 29, 2015
I’m not a huge TV viewer but I’m not ashamed to admit that I just binge-watched the first two seasons of Silicon Valley. If you haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, the crux of the storyline is a startup tech entrepreneur who takes his idea out for funding to grow it into a real company and all the antics and ups and downs that occur along the way. Turns out, starting a business is more than just having a great product idea….does that sound familiar to any of you?
In one of the episodes, the entrepreneurs are struggling with a way to differentiate their product and they start talking about ‘pivoting.’ That is Silicon Valley (the real geographic area – not just the show name) speak for ‘changing your business model.’ Plenty of very well known companies have pivoted – they started out offering one thing and whether it was because there was too much competition or too few consumers – they took what they had and switched course. Did you know that Starbucks never initially planned to sell mocha-frappa-lattes? Nope, they were originally in business to sell espresso machines and coffee beans. Twitter actually started life as Odeo which was a way for consumers to find podcasts…until iTunes came along and they had to come up with something else. (Click here to see Forbes list of the top 14 corporate pivots).
So if Starbucks and Twitter can do – why can’t you? If you know you have a great product but you just can’t seem to gain traction no matter what you try, take a fresh approach and revisit your business model. Perhaps its time you change up how you’re offering your product or to whom you’re offering your product. Perhaps it’s time for a pivot?