It can be tough to pivot when you’ve committed to a great concept, brought a team on board, and spent countless hours drumming up enthusiasm about your product. But many of the most successful technology companies are thriving primarily because they saw the signs that a pivot was needed, and they jumped at the right time.
Here are four key times when it’s smart to pivot:
Dramatic shift in the direction of the market
For instance, the travel market in the last decade has shifted substantially toward the consumer and will increasingly become more traveler centric with customization and personalization at the core of most successful travel startups. If your product isn’t fundamentally architected and positioned as a solution that enables more control and self-service capabilities for travelers or allows the industry to provide them with a more personalized experience, then a rethink is in order.
Overflow of competition
For any travel startup, I can guarantee there are three or four other companies out there trying to do the same thing. Maybe they have a different spin, a different target market, or a different game plan, but rest assured that development and technological convergence will occur creating competition. The companies that succeed are either first to market or have substantial funding, perhaps because they’re owned by big brands. If you find that you’re running into competition over and over during your sales process, it’s time to stop and consider how you can pivot to offer something the market is in need of or, when appropriate, to consider a shift from B2C to B2B.
When the model needs substantial tweaking due to industry expectations
This is basically lack of product due diligence. A great idea is only great if it’s something the market really requires — something that makes work substantially easier or something that didn’t exist before. If you find yourself in the situation that your product just isn’t compelling enough, sit down with your advisory team and talk about ways you can repurpose the work that’s been invested to solve an industry problem. Or, you may see an avenue that opens due to new industry expectations and then go for it.
If there is a way to cross establish the technology for other verticals
When you find other verticals that can use your product or possibly a more sustainable market that costs less per acquisition (such as partnering or white labeling) then it’s worth the time to sit down, do the analysis, and roll-out the product for the best possible exposure. We have seen a number of vertically focused companies suddenly realize that their current offering may be indeed better suited to another vertical. Great examples are hotel tech companies looking towards healthcare and public sector industries as viable markets.