Thursday, January 26, 2012

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

One of the topics that came up today on the funders panel at Startup Outlook 2012 was “Pivoting”. The question was, what does investors think about their investments pivoting etc? While most of the panelists had experienced pivots either in their own entrepreneurial backgrounds or among their investments I think Prashanth Boccasam nailed it by implying that gradual adaption to feedback and changing environment should occur on a daily basis in a startup but that 180 degree mission changing pivots should be the exception.

I fully agree with this but I think the question should have been addressed to the preceding entrepreneurs panel because in my experience it is more difficult for the entrepreneurs themselves to accept that there is a need for change or a pivot than it is to convince the investors that there is a better way to make money.

This experience goes back to when my fellow co-founders of Pangea Ltd and I were taking an entrepreneurship class at Georgetown and our professor at the time said that while business planning is vital, business plans are less so. This is because you can pretty much guarantee that no matter how great your plan is and how fantastic the team is, you will not end up where the plan says you are. It is a thorough, prepared, guess. After that, it really is up to your teams ability to understand what is going on, how does it affect you and how do you react to it?

As Clint Eastwood said; “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome”.

Which brings me to one of the most important qualities in an entrepreneur. If you can’t continuously reevaluate what you are doing, then you are in the wrong line of work. It is critical to understand that just because it was your idea or plan, that does not automatically mean that it is right or that it is still valid.

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