StartUp Founders: Are You Right?

Get customers. If they're not there, or not staying, pivot something and keep iterating until they are. It's that simple.

StartUp Founders: Are You Right

Dear Reader,

Your ultimate loyalty is not to your original idea but to the problem you’re solving & the customers you’re serving. Success lies in hearing the signals, facing the facts, and adapting your approach. (𝕏)

Pivoting isn’t failure, it’s a strategic shift. It’s recognizing your initial vision, however brilliant, needs some refinement. (𝕏)

TL;DR Get customers. If they’re not there, or not staying, pivot something and keep iterating until they are. It’s that simple. (Workbook)


3.4 Product To Service: From Features To Value.


Every founder has that “oh shit” moment – the realization you might have built the wrong product. You think you have disappointed everyone who believed in you. The successful ones confront it. The others try to bully the market into submission, adding more features to a product no one wants.

A pivot is a founder’s rite of passage – Slack, Brex, YouTube, PayPal, Instagram, literally everyone – but there are even more less dramatic pivots.
(FYI: 1in3 B2B startups pivot, 1in5 B2C)

PIV-aaaaa-T <- IYKYK (here)

Pivot vs Panic: Pivoting is a defined course correction, not a desperate prayer for direction. Be convinced it’s the right move, but recognize the dangers of waiting too long. Most founders know they need to pivot but don’t pull the trigger quick enough.

Features Nobody Wants: Get in the trenches, in front of prospects, listen, understand, iterate. Stop thinking this next feature is going to change everything. Don’t dismiss valid criticism, be open to the possibility that you might… be wrong.

Embrace the “Maybe” Zone: Not all pivots involve blowing everything up. Sometimes, it’s a subtle iteration, a shift in focus, a new go-to-market strategy. You might have the right product but the wrong messaging, wrong pricing, wrong market.

Metrics, Metrics, Metrics: You have to move as fast as possible from measuring with your gut to measuring with instruments. (Observability) Choose a metric (KPI) and run into it. Customers, Retention, Conversion, Value, whatever? Choose one, let the data tell you if it’s pivot time.

Get “Frustrated Enough” to Be Savage: Founders who embrace a pivot often hit a point of such frustration (morally low), that it lights a fire that changes everything. The founder superpower…. someone counted them out, and they come back…. savage.

YOU: Are you the problem. Is it a blind spot, bad assumption, ego, scared, stupid, delusional, rich….? Challenge yourself. Often and always.

How To Explore A Pivot

SU003.5 StartUp Pivot (aka Pivot Or Perservere) by James Sinclair

If you’re still here, one last thing:

Sales signals are the canary in the coal mine. If you’re not getting escalations from your customers about pricing, features, or bugs, as part of the buying cycle – that’s a red flag. No escalation, no one sees value, some escalation, customer sees enough value to negotiate.

  • Am I ignoring clear signs that my current path isn’t working?
  • Am I holding onto a vision that the market doesn’t share?
  • Am I making decisions based on assumptions or evidence?
  • Am I the right leader for the next phase of my startup?
  • Can I execute a pivot with the same passion and energy as my original vision?

The most unhelpful feedback I give to founders: “I wish I had listened to that advice 6 months ago, but I’m sure glad I didn’t.” The paradox of learning from hindsight. Sometimes, it takes going through the struggle to appreciate the advice. Embrace this paradox in your founder journey.

If this is you, you already know it, feel free to grab time if you need some help.

— James

(LinkedIn | Tiktok | Twitter)

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