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What is Pivoting?

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

“Pivoting” is a familiar word in the startup world.  When your first business model isn’t working (and this happens more often than not), the CEO and team pivot to plan B.  These are deep breath moments! But pivoting doesn’t necessarily mean desperation.  It can be a tool to discover additional growth--growth you might otherwise have overlooked. Businesses can grow beyond their initial dreams by re-imagining their assets and talents, thinking more broadly about the customer problems they solve, and accessing growth capital to seize the new high ground.

I am not talking about the slight pivot; making a change in business model with the same product, selling a slightly different product to the same customer, going up market to a different customer. Those are not really pivots, they are evolutions that every startup company goes through. I am talking about the hard pivot. Changing the product, market, and business entirely. Essentially starting over from scratch.

By its nature, pivoting is a creator-led process. It requires the owner / operator to think, engage, challenge, test, break and build. Nobody can tell you how to pivot, nor can someone do it for you. So, instead of telling her what to do, I suggested some resources that could provide a framework for her to approach the problem.

To put it succinctly,

"A pivot is a change in strategy without the change in vision." - Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

"A Pivot is a structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth" - Eric Ries

"A CrossPivot is a change in strategy without the change in God's calling." - Bill Tom, Founder of FUSION Leaders


When a start up decides to change a major part of its business.

Startups that Pivot once or twice...

  1. Raise 2.5 times more money

  2. have 3.6 times better user growth

  3. are 52% less likely to scale prematurely

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