Step, pivot, repeat

Product Design

Step, pivot, repeat

There are many, many cliche terms thrown around start-up businesses. Some of them are obvious in their meaning, others not so. At the same time, while some are simply rhetoric, others should form a vital part of the start-up business mindset.

One of those key elements is one of the most often maligned - the pivot. At its core, pivoting is what start-ups are all about. The ability to quickly change direction based on new ideas, information and feedback is what makes them valuable (and hopefully successful).

There is a fine line to walk in order to be effective and able to pivot. There are many times when focusing on a goal and working towards a specific outcome is crucial to a project getting anywhere at all. Being too focused on changing direction if it is needed can take away the energy which should be directed at creating the product.

A structured approach to the development stages of a project will allow for both outcomes and results to fit comfortably side by side.

The three step process keeps focus where it needs to be and ensures a high level of involvement from everyone through the entire process.


This is the seemingly obvious one, right? Strangely enough it’s often left out as people “develop”. Whatever your business and product is, you need to be taking steps to actually creating it. It could mean scoping, designing, paperwork and records, protecting IP or prototyping, but there needs to be something happening.

As part of this stage it is important to set the outcomes of the step, to provide an end point.  At the end of the step the progress needs to be analyzed to provide the direction for the next step.


This is the key - where the information from the step just completed is used to decide the way forward. Your pivot should be about doing something better, whether product or market based, it should be about driving towards the vision for your product.

The pivot is a way to better align your concept, team, the market and product to help reach the point where it is generating revenue. Effective pivoting should be focused on helping reduce the cost and time to market.


When we achieve something it’s easy to sit back and watch it, forgetting to keep moving forward. Development should be a constant activity for the business, stagnating becomes a risk.

Following the pivot, the process should be repeated - outline the next step and start working on it.

The start-up model is about producing in a way and a timeframe not possible in a traditionally structured business. Usually the size of the project at the start though is on a scale which is hard to achieve as a small entity with limited funding.

Breaking each step of the development down and learning from it, then changing the way you move forward will let the start-up produce a result others can’t.

So as much as it is cliche, set yourself up to pivot. It keeps your idea fresh and you one step ahead.

Andrew Snell

Director at

Andrew brings a range of skills and experience not often found together. Working simultaneously across different industries and disciplines he has a unique view of the business landscape. He has high level experience in marketing and public relations strategy and delivery, live production and technical management and design and has worked in and with many high profile SMEs. Andrew founded and runs Coaster Group and is a keen, serial entrepreneur - making ideas real is his passion.

Comments (1)
Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Great article Andrew! I love the emphasis on repeat! That's something I'm trying to focus on at the moment because sometimes you think you've done it once it's enough but you need to keep repeating the process :D~ Thanks for the reminder again!