Is it considered a pivot when a startup changes it’s customer segments?

This was my answer to a question on Quora

Don’t worry about definitions. Do what is needed to be done for the business. 
At the early stages of a venture there are several things that will need to be thought of and several things that will need tweaking and you will need to adjust your business plan a few times. E.g. you may have to tweak your product or value proposition or pricing or communication or target market or target audience or positioning or business model or business process …

The point is that there are several aspects of business that are variables that could need adjustment to make the business work.

As a startup, you have to be nimble to respond to what the market situations tells you. As a founder, you need to be alert and street smart to read the signals on what the market is telling you (market meaning not just customers… but any stakeholder that may be able to provide an educated perspective i.e. perhaps a vendor).

However, there is also the danger of changing direction too often and without adequate thought. Many startups run into the dangerous temptation of changing direction and strategy too often.

Often, at the first signs of the existing strategy is not working enough, entrepreneurs tend to get carried away and impatient and attempt too many different things without giving enough time for one direction/strategy to mature. In many cases it is a case of throwing the baby along with the bath water.

The danger in this is that while it seems like a lot of progress and course correction, the business, and more importantly the team, starts loosing focus and direction.

While it is possible to do course corrections, it is important that startups consider change in strategy and direction only after adequate deliberations.

Author: Prajakt Raut

Prajakt Raut is the founder of, and author of the book for startups - ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’ Prajakt personal goal in life is to encourage and assist a 100,000 people to become entrepreneurs. _____________ Prajakt is the founder of Applyifi - an online platform that provides startups a 36-point scorecard and assessment report on the venture's investment readiness [], and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. Prajakt is also the founding partner of The Growth Labs, a platform where growth-stage companies get sharp, incisive advice from senior professionals and experienced entrepreneurs. [] Before starting Applyifi, Prajakt was the head of operations at IAN, founding member of a leading incubator, and the Asia-Director for TiE (2004 - 2007). Previously Prajakt had co-founded Orange Cross, a healthcare services company, and was part of the founding team member of Idealake Technologies. While in college Prajakt had founded a printing business and has spent over 10 years working in leading advertising agencies. Prajakt’s book, ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’, helps startups understand an investor’s perspective, and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. The book also helps entrepreneurs understand the building blocks of a business.

One thought on “Is it considered a pivot when a startup changes it’s customer segments?”

  1. i guess for any venture to be successful and maintain a steady and constant growth it needs to evolve continually…..whether its fb or google or a mere start up of yesterday but….i guess with a start up the added thing is that ‘fear factor’ if that unknown set of dynamics called the product and the USP is gonna hit the wall or really help to take off and get the venture off the ground may be. and personally i like to believe that a true ‘pivot’ is only when material changes are made to the crux of the biz model itself… the founder changes his mind from baking a cake instead of designing bags may be!

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