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Planning Your Pivot

“Don’t lose faith guys, we’ve got a great name. We’ve got a great team. We’ve got a great logo, and we’ve got a great name. Now we just need an idea. Let’s pivot!!

- Jared, Silicon Valley, TV Show


Have a purpose, find the path, and navigate the pivot.

On a fundamental level, a pivot is 'a change in direction.' In the business vernacular, a pivot is loosely defined as 'a significant change in strategy without a vision change.'

Today's entrepreneur savvy social media-driven business landscape has dramatically overused the term watering it down to the point of meaning to make any simple adjustment.

Originally used to denote a significant transition for a business, specifically a startup, the utilization of "pivot" refers to redirecting an ineffective business model and defining a multiple business transition to one much more efficient, productive, and conducive to sustainability.

Whereas today, for example, the term is used to explain a nuance as simple as a change in the number of posts per day on social media. A simple adjustment is not a pivot by any means and only a difference in deploying a single tactic within the overall strategy.

To paraphrase the legendary general, Sun Tzu, employing strategy without tactics is the most passive way to gain customers and grow your business. Tactical implementation without a plan leads to spending marketing dollars resulting in low sales, declining ROI, and accelerating business failure.

A pivot is not a single tactic but a 90-degree shift to a set of tactics to achieve a specific outcome.

A real-world example of an authentic pivot was Charles Schwab, when they foresaw that the future of the brokerage industry due to the internet was an opportunity and made the pivot to online stock trading.

To do this, they created a separate Strategic Business Unit, SBU, and the employees making the transition over to the new business unit was made for walking across the Golden Gate Bridge and back to the office to mark the event.

The Charles Schwab pivot meant that a client no longer had to wait several days to physically speak with a broker and then for the broker to make the call in to purchase or sell the stocks. The customer could now conduct transactions online, which attracted new customers activating sustainable growth.


When to Pivot?