Pivots are hard, but worth it: Here’s are the life lessons we gained

pivot

Most founders know secretly that their idea is not going to work. Months of pulling levers, feeling hopeless and anecdotal quotes telling you never to give up ?.

Founders have to navigate, keep a pulse on data and feedback, adapt and redefine themselves and their companies at all times, and especially when they are wrong.

Our assumptions were wrong, and below is what we went through with some unsolicited advice.

Listen to the early signals

Your gut will tell you where this is heading, listen to it, fail fast and don’t waste time. Investors’ capital and entrepreneurs’ ROI of time have the same incentives. In either case, remember that you are in the driving seat.

Tishad and I waited a few extra quarters until the partners at Iterative, Brian and Hsu Ken, pointed out what we already knew deep down- cloud kitchens won’t scale in today’s Bangladesh, and we were early.

Sometimes you need someone to say it. Sunk cost bias, loss aversion, discomfort, fear will discourage you- audit them.

Write down where you were wrong

Turn energy into matter. Once we articulated the macro and micro pitfalls of the business model and market and where we were wrong in our assumptions, clarity followed. The hardest part is to convince yourself that your thesis is incorrect and that the alternative is better than what you have.

Also Read: 5 things entrepreneurs need to know about running a business in the new normal

In our case, the alternative was the discovery process that we started to run to validate problems that we believe exist in the market with a billion-dollar opportunity.

Embrace the confusion and uncertainty- this is an SOP

Uncertainty can be very stressful, and confusion can be paralysing; we felt it. When you start digging into a new problem, talking to potential customers and validating ideas, the uncertainty becomes clear.

During a pivot, the anxiety can feel heavier than usual because you changed your thesis, and you might feel guilty for changing your thesis.

We realised that our earliest investors placed the bet on the team to navigate, and this unfolded as we started to run the change management sprint.

Get buy-in

We made sure that we ran a very tight change management process to align with all our investors, who have been supportive since day one. Our approach looked like this:

  • Individual calls to explain why we are going to pivot out
  • An email explaining the thought process
  • Board resolution
  • Biweekly updates

Since things were changing fast, we decided to keep our community posted more frequently than usual. The best part of this experience was to see that our investors continue to stay supportive and helpful as always.

Move fast

Think carefully, and act deliberately. Anything that doesn’t add to long term vision is a sunk cost. The legacy business model can become a distraction and ultimately take bandwidth away from proving the new thesis. This isn’t a price worth paying.

We ran a project management drill to clear our contractual obligations, ensure that the runway is protected and our departing clients have sufficient time to figure out their next move. It was a balancing act.

Also Read: How startups should pivot towards being customer-centric

Pilot

After doing 150+ user interviews, we were buzzing with insights on deep customers problems and got very excited to test. But, the challenge was that we had two directions that we were curious to learn more about, so we tested them both out.

Hsu Ken’s feedback was much more structured, and metric-driven for making this decision, and below is what he emailed to us.

We ended up leaning towards one model over the other in the first two weeks; it was pretty obvious what the team was most passionate about.

The problem space of financial inclusion for the underserved is deep-rooted in our country, and we feel compelled to tackle this space.

Pivots mean that you are changing your idea, based on learnings, towards a new direction that is more likely to grow and scale. In Bangladesh and other emerging markets, founders are usually fearful of pivots because markets are less forgiving than Silicon Valley. This mentality has to change.

Pivots can lead to disproportionately high returns for entrepreneurs and investors, and this point has to be drilled in. It is counterproductive to fall into the trap of loss aversion when startups are meant for outlier results.

In retrospect, we feel relieved, optimistic, and energised to build a legendary company and a problem space with which we are in love.

Editor’s note: e27 aims to foster thought leadership by publishing views from the community. Share your opinion by submitting an article, video, podcast, or infographic.

Join our e27 Telegram group, FB community, or like the e27 Facebook page

Image credit: shutter999

The post Pivots are hard, but worth it: Here’s are the life lessons we gained appeared first on e27.

,
pivot

Most founders know secretly that their idea is not going to work. Months of pulling levers, feeling hopeless and anecdotal quotes telling you never to give up ?.

Founders have to navigate, keep a pulse on data and feedback, adapt and redefine themselves and their companies at all times, and especially when they are wrong.

Our assumptions were wrong, and below is what we went through with some unsolicited advice.

Listen to the early signals

Your gut will tell you where this is heading, listen to it, fail fast and don’t waste time. Investors’ capital and entrepreneurs’ ROI of time have the same incentives. In either case, remember that you are in the driving seat.

Tishad and I waited a few extra quarters until the partners at Iterative, Brian and Hsu Ken, pointed out what we already knew deep down- cloud kitchens won’t scale in today’s Bangladesh, and we were early.

Sometimes you need someone to say it. Sunk cost bias, loss aversion, discomfort, fear will discourage you- audit them.

Write down where you were wrong

Turn energy into matter. Once we articulated the macro and micro pitfalls of the business model and market and where we were wrong in our assumptions, clarity followed. The hardest part is to convince yourself that your thesis is incorrect and that the alternative is better than what you have.

Also Read: 5 things entrepreneurs need to know about running a business in the new normal

In our case, the alternative was the discovery process that we started to run to validate problems that we believe exist in the market with a billion-dollar opportunity.

Embrace the confusion and uncertainty- this is an SOP

Uncertainty can be very stressful, and confusion can be paralysing; we felt it. When you start digging into a new problem, talking to potential customers and validating ideas, the uncertainty becomes clear.

During a pivot, the anxiety can feel heavier than usual because you changed your thesis, and you might feel guilty for changing your thesis.

We realised that our earliest investors placed the bet on the team to navigate, and this unfolded as we started to run the change management sprint.

Get buy-in

We made sure that we ran a very tight change management process to align with all our investors, who have been supportive since day one. Our approach looked like this:

  • Individual calls to explain why we are going to pivot out
  • An email explaining the thought process
  • Board resolution
  • Biweekly updates

Since things were changing fast, we decided to keep our community posted more frequently than usual. The best part of this experience was to see that our investors continue to stay supportive and helpful as always.

Move fast

Think carefully, and act deliberately. Anything that doesn’t add to long term vision is a sunk cost. The legacy business model can become a distraction and ultimately take bandwidth away from proving the new thesis. This isn’t a price worth paying.

We ran a project management drill to clear our contractual obligations, ensure that the runway is protected and our departing clients have sufficient time to figure out their next move. It was a balancing act.

Also Read: How startups should pivot towards being customer-centric

Pilot

After doing 150+ user interviews, we were buzzing with insights on deep customers problems and got very excited to test. But, the challenge was that we had two directions that we were curious to learn more about, so we tested them both out.

Hsu Ken’s feedback was much more structured, and metric-driven for making this decision, and below is what he emailed to us.

We ended up leaning towards one model over the other in the first two weeks; it was pretty obvious what the team was most passionate about.

The problem space of financial inclusion for the underserved is deep-rooted in our country, and we feel compelled to tackle this space.

Pivots mean that you are changing your idea, based on learnings, towards a new direction that is more likely to grow and scale. In Bangladesh and other emerging markets, founders are usually fearful of pivots because markets are less forgiving than Silicon Valley. This mentality has to change.

Pivots can lead to disproportionately high returns for entrepreneurs and investors, and this point has to be drilled in. It is counterproductive to fall into the trap of loss aversion when startups are meant for outlier results.

In retrospect, we feel relieved, optimistic, and energised to build a legendary company and a problem space with which we are in love.

Editor’s note: e27 aims to foster thought leadership by publishing views from the community. Share your opinion by submitting an article, video, podcast, or infographic.

Join our e27 Telegram group, FB community, or like the e27 Facebook page

Image credit: shutter999

The post Pivots are hard, but worth it: Here’s are the life lessons we gained appeared first on e27.

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