What Is Startup Pivoting? [A Guide for Beginners]

Your venture started well and everywhere was sunshine, but suddenly you hit a rough patch, and it has been downhill ever since.

If you are experiencing such a situation, then you read on to find out how pivoting could help you turn around your fortune. And for those who didn’t, a sound knowledge of startup pivoting will help you anyway.

What Is Startup Pivoting?

Startup pivoting is essentially a shift in the strategy, usually business strategy, to steer your venture into a profitable or desirable situation.

Pivoting usually happens after feedback given either by the consumer or expert on the product or the strategy currently employed by the venture.

Pivoting is usually a part of a startup because during the initial phase without proper guidance there are chances where you might have skipped a specific aspect and after funding either from Angel Investor or Venture Capitalist, you get an insight to do better in a particular area.

Famous Startup Pivoting

Pivoting is not equivalent to failure. Many startups that we see around us had an unconventional beginning and were not intended to be used the way they are being used now.

For example:

Instagram began as Burbn, a check-in app that included gaming elements from Mafia Wars, and a photo element as well but after realising that such a cluttered app would lead to decreasing popularity, the creators stripped the app of all its functionality except photos, and now it has become synonymous with photo sharing.

Another great startup pivot is YouTube which started as an online dating service where users were supposed to upload short videos describing their ideal partner. YouTube even had the tagline “Tune in, hook up” and by pivoting their strategy after realising the potential in the idea it has become the number 1 streaming site.

Another real-life example where a startup has to pivot after receiving the funding is Yelp. The initial idea of Yelp was asking direct recommendation from a friend who felt flat. Then they experimented with the idea of allowing users to write reviews of local businesses after the constant feedback from the investor and now this has turned the venture into a product where it has become almost impossible to start a local business without eventually building support from the local review sections on Yelp.

Startup Pivoting Strategies

When a startup is thinking of pivoting the general focus should both on areas that are going bad and areas where things are going haywire. Customer profiling and market research help in gauging response that is essential for the startup to figure this out.

The major area of focus would be :

Technical Development

Focussing on good areas and bad areas require a significant amount of resources and would require hiring to achieve those goals.

Complete revamp should ideally be fast but reliable and therefore spending time while hiring goes a long way and it becomes a make or break point after pivoting.

Improvement in Revenue Model

Even if you are well backed up by the technical department, you might need to work on revamping revenue model for your venture if it is app based.

You might need to take pointers from various revenue models that are in existence and pick out the one that is best suited.


If the venture has seen a dip in the popularity then marketing strategies, partnerships with opinion leaders become essential for the enterprise.

Focussing on identifying the areas where work needs to be done helps a startup create a roadmap for the future.

Bottom Line?

Startup pivoting is not new and will continue to happen.

Every startup journey needs to conduct a SWOT analysis carefully and it should stick to the vision and goals with which the venture was started but also remain flexible and explore avenues for improvement and inculcation.
therefore after that startup pivoting would not seem such an unnecessary move.

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