Rebekah Campbell is feeling equally excited and exhausted by the mid-June launch date of her website, Posse. It’s third time lucky for the start-up.
“It feels different to the other product launches,” she says with a smile but with her head resting on her hand. “We’ve learnt so much every time.”
Neither of the two previous versions were total flops. But both had their own problems. Campbell, driven to not lose the more than $2.7 million she has raised from two angel investment rounds, has steered the company through two major changes of direction. In the industry lingo, this is a pivot. A cynical observer might call it a failure but in start-up land, it is applauded. A pivot, executed well, is a mark of an entrepreneur’s insight and maturity that they can identify a problem and have the nous and courage to adapt.
In the beginning, entrepreneurs should write down a series of “guesses” about their product, the founder of start-up accelerator Startmate, Niki Scevak, says. This may include who are the best customers, how much they’ll pay or how difficult they will be to find. Once a product is built there should be a process of “testing and observing how they do and don’t use the product”, he says. “Pivoting is the reaction after going through that cycle and seeing if a lot of your guesses are wrong or right.”