On the Paradox Consistency vs. Pivot
One of the more stubborn problems in building a business is the paradox of consistency vs. the pivot.
Consider this: It’s better to have a mediocre strategy consistently applied over three or more years than a series of brilliant strategies, each applied for six months or so. But too often people get bored with consistency and drop a working strategy long before the market understands it.
And on the other hand, there’s the brick wall. Maybe it’s the futility of trying to implement a flawed strategy. Maybe it was a good strategy but depended on assumptions that changed.
And there’s the problem: is it time to pivot? Or has a good plan been poorly executed? Or has a good plan been well executed and simply needs more time?
One good way to deal with it is focusing on the assumptions. Identify the key assumptions and whether or not they’ve changed. When assumptions have changed there is no virtue whatsoever in sticking to the plan you built on top of them. Use your common sense. Were you wrong about the whole thing, or just about timing? Has something else happened, like market problems or disruptive technology, or competition, to change your basic assumptions?
As a business planner, I’ve always disliked “because that’s the plan” thinking. Plan should be fluid and flexible. Plans should be reviewed and revised. Sticking with the plan thinking explains in part why some business experts question the value of the business plan. That’s sloppy thinking, in my opinion, confusing the value of the planning with the mistake of implementing a plan without change or review, just because it’s the plan.
Do not revise your plan glibly. Remember that some of the best strategies take longer to implement. Remember also that you’re living with it every day; it is naturally going to seem old to you, and boring, and sometimes it just takes longer to develop.
But don’t stick to your plan either. That in itself isn’t a virtue.
That’s why they put people in charge, instead of formulas, algorithms, or cliches.
Written by Tim Berry
You might also be interested in
Co-founder Equity Split: A New Framework to Objectively Divide Startup Ownership and Get Back to Building a Business
We’ve just released our free Co-founder Equity Split tool. It’ll give you a fair and objective recommendation about how to divide your startup’s ownership, so you and your co-founders will have a sensible, real starting point for this notoriously hard, crucially important conversation.
Many startup founders find themselves lacking clarity and direction when it comes time to divide their
With startup growth up 61% since 2014 and more investment programs emerging, it can be overwhelming for founders to know just where to jump in. As the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet, MassChallenge has helped 835 startup companies around the world, who have raised over $1.1 billion in funding and created over 6,500 jobs. We have seen startups at
Update 2017: To help you understand how your startup will look to investors according to this methodology, we’ve created a fundraising feedback tool that will give you investor-level insight into your startup’s performance. In just about 15 minutes, it will tell you how much money your startup is likely to raise, where you can find that capital, and what to
After less than a year, Glassbreakers is now a team of 10, we have thousands of active users on our free product, we’ve expanded into enterprises with paying customers and raised over a million in seed funding. After a few of my Glassbreaker matches inquired, I started to reflect on what it’s like to build a startup
The median investor looking at your proposal is in her 40s. Her eyes are going, not to mention her brain. I look at a lot of spreadsheets and analytic reports, and way too many are difficult to read and therefore hard to understand.
In an effort to make my life easier, I’ve summarized here the steps that will