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Salt Lake City Bookkeeping Blog

Successful Entrepreneurs Know How To Pivot

Posted by Matt Roberge on May 5, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Learn to pivot in businessIf you are a basketball player you know what it means to pivot.  Successful entrepreneurs know how to pivot.  The dictionary definition of pivot is: the action of turning around on a point.  When a basketball player has already dribbled and picked up the ball he often finds himself pivoting keeping one foot stationary.  Why, what is he doing? Well he is looking for help; he is looking for a way to continue to his goal of scoring a basket.  He thought he was going the right way and then found an obstacle. He'll now uses his skills to continue on towards his goal of scoring a basket.  It's the same concept in business.  Often you come across an obstacle when you are on the path to your goal and it becomes necessary to pivot in order to reach your goal.  

Why entrepreneurs pivot

Entrepreneurs learn to pivot when they are trying to reach a goal in their business.  Often times something gets in their way.  It could be a competitor, a market change or a personal problem that causes a business person to pivot, but good ones learn to do it well.  Let's go back to the basketball analogy.  What happens when a player stops dribbling and picks up the ball? Lots of options right? They could pass, shoot, panic, throw the ball away wildly or pivot and look for help.  The same concept happens in business; when you face a problem you need to pivot and look for a solution.

How to pivot

Some entrepreneurs may not know how to pivot because they believe that what they are doing is correct.  However, savvy businessmen are open to market changes and advice from others.  Pivoting can be difficult for some because in general people are resistant to change.  Late adopters in business will often find themselves behind the competition instead of out front with the thought leaders.  Pivoting in business is a skill that you need to develop.  You can't tell me that your job has not changed in the last year, 5 years, decade etc.  Being open and willing to change is not an option, it is a requirement.

Practical example

I was reading a LinkedIn thread a few weeks ago that really speaks to this concept of pivoting in business.  Someone posted a discussion with the following title: "With all this talk about New Cloud Technology are you worried about your position as a bookkeeper?" Essentially the question suggests that new technology may eliminate the need for real person bookkeepers.  We see this type of technology every day right? The self-checkout lanes at grocery stores are a great example.  Basically six lanes or more can now be handled by one person and six computers instead of six people.  Same worry in the accounting industry and many aspects of business, will computers replace nearly the entire business workforce?

Someone nailed it in the comments section.  They said they are not worried because the cloud only makes them more efficient and allows them to focus on more value-added activities rather than data entry.  This person knows how to pivot.  Rather than worrying about what their role was, they understand how new technology can make them more efficient and how to continue to add value to their customers.

Pivoting is all about recognizing that your market and role will always change.  You will always face obstacles and market changes.  Successful entrepreneurs will recognize a need to pivot in order to succeed.  A need to pivot is usually an indicator that there is an opportunity.  

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Topics: Small Business Accounting, Small Business, Entrepreneurship, Business Leadership