The beginning of anything new is always the most exciting. You never know what’s lying ahead, and everything is a possibility. While those possibilities include everything grand, it also includes everything negative as well. As anyone who’s started a venture knows, there are times where decisions can define how far down which side you’ll fall.
Ultimately in these situations, there are two options present besides giving up. You can either double down and push through on your initial vision or transition your vision into a new trajectory. The latter is commonly referred to as making a pivot.
When To Pivot
Back when commercial access to the internet first had a hold of the masses, there was one provider that had the lion share of consumers. Obviously, if you were of age during this time, it wouldn’t take time to figure out that this was AOL. For what seemed like a long span of time looking back, mostly everyone you could meet was an AOL customer.
Despite having such a tight grip on their industry there came a crucial pivot point, more on that can be found in Steve Case’s Book The Third Wave, where they made a misstep and lost it all. The same story can be applied to another industry titan in Blackberry, and I’m sure many others that come to your mind as you think more on the matter.
While in previous articles I’ve mentioned pivoting to gain success, these stories properly illustrate pivoting to continue success.
How To Pivot
This isn’t advertising that whenever things get hard or tougher competition comes into play that’s when to pivot. Defining a pivot moment is more about having the foresight to see a possible change on the horizon, seeing a viable opportunity for your venture to capitalize, and being able to seize it.
Going back to the Blackberry example mentioned earlier, take a look at your phone. At one point the only way to actually get things done with a phone was by having a Blackberry. Then the competition got tougher with new, seemingly more advanced, market entries from Apple and Android. From looking at your phone, and thinking about most phones you see on a daily for good measure, it’s not hard to see what became of Blackberry’s dominance.
Now keep in mind, Blackberry made efforts to pivot their products to fit into this new market as their dominance was dwindling. Their biggest problem was the products they pivoted to were never fully in alignment with their spaces new majority consumer.
Pivot moments in anything you do will rarely be thrown directly into your face for the most part. It takes a constant curiosity that’s making you be aware of what’s going on in your space, and how you can make the best gains from these changes. Being frank, very few companies or ideas that are successful finish exactly how they start if they maintain success. Apple shifted from computers to music, Google shifted from web apps to physical products, Netflix from DVDs to streaming, etc.
We always say nothing is meant to last forever in the same state it’s always been. So with that in mind, whatever it is you’re doing, don’t be stagnant and rigid when it’s unnecessarily hurting you. Keep an open mind, and if an opportunity comes, be ready to take advantage.