Pivots with Jim Cooper @ CSUF Startup Incubator

Earlier this month, the CSUF Startup Incubator was proud to welcome Jim Cooper to the CSUF Startup Incubator to talk about Pivots. What is a pivot? When should you make a pivot? How do you pivot? So on and so forth.

Jim gave a very informative talk and here are some of the notes that I was able to take:

  • A pivot is how to get from point A to point B and keep track of everything that happens in between
  • Pivots are an integral concept in Lean Startup
  • Pivots are part of an iterative process where pivots are new hypotheses that need to be tested
  • The Business Model Canvas is a shorthand template used by entrepreneurs to flesh out their business model (how they will make and sell things) –> Changes from this are considered pivots
  • Ingredient loop: Build MVP –> Ideate –> Feedback –> Segments –> Decision –> Repeat this as many times as necessary until you get the right product/market fit (right product/service for the right customers)
  • Learning is one of the key ingredients to deciding on whether or not to make pivots and what pivots to make
  • Continual feedback is a looping mechanism that helps you iteratively (including making pivots) constantly until success is had
  • Get as many people to give you feedback as possible
  • When to Pivot:
  1. Customer Validation fails
  2. Can’t find a way to make the current hypothesis a reality
  3. Lack of actionable data
  4. Cannot validate business model
  5. Cannot keep a validated business model the same but can change parts over time
  6. Team Inefficiencies
  • Why do we want to Pivot?:
  1. Want to find Customer Segmentation
  2. Customer needs (customer changes minds)
  3. Model or architecture needs to be modified
  4. Reduce functionality and/or features (want to get to Minimum Viable Product – MVP)
  5. Increase functionality and/or features
  6. Customer pathways (called “Channels” in Lean Startup parlance)
  7. Platforming; this is where you “hitch a ride” to a platform so that you can access that platform’s
  8. Competitive technology play (if competitor is doing better than you by a lot then you should seriously consider to pivot to another path)
  • Information is the lifeblood of pivoting – you need to have a very clear idea of where you are, what you are capable of, who makes up the market, what they want, and make sure to keep statistics on everything that you do because you will probably always have to make pivots
  • Another term that relates to pivots is the acronym OODA, which stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act [more info on OODA here]

CSUF Entrepreneurship

We are dedicated to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs develop the skills that they need to compete locally and globally. The CSUF Entrepreneurship program does many things, including: consulting projects where students serve up fresh strategies to actual businesses, competitions for students from middle school to grad school, helping entrepreneurs go from concept to launch, frequent seminars and office hours for entrepreneurs and professionals, and much more. Interested in becoming a part of the CSUF Entrepreneurship community? Reach out to us at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu for more information! CSUF Entrepreneurship depends on the support of the community, please go here to donate.

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