It’s a pivot, not a fail.

November 10, 2015

Failure: the golden accolade that each and every entrepreneur should achieve at least once before reaching their own version of success, right?

At least that's what we're told; that's the trial by fire we're expected to pass, the ocean we're supposed to swim in order to reach the shore of success.

But the truth is, no one wants to fail.

Why would we?

It's horrible – it affects us mentally and physically and in some cases, we may not recover – we may simply give up on our entrepreneurial path just to save the pain of another failure.

Failure is a word associated with glory, yet born of sometimes life-changing, highly negative circumstances.

Another word that is often spoken about in entrepreneurial circles is the word “pivot”.

Pivot, a lean startup method for developing businesses and products by changing direction Wikipedia

A tale of coming back from the brink

If I may, let me take you back to 2009.

July, to be specific.

At that point I had £60 in my business bank account and was on the verge of this failure that, by all accounts, would teach me the lesson I needed to learn and almost surely ensure my success in my next venture.

The trouble is, I didn't want to fail. Yet simultaneously, I didn't know what else to do.

It really was a difficult time, filled with frustration, fear and dread.

As the story goes, I ended up pivoting: keeping one foot in delivering web solutions yet firmly planting my other foot in creating a bigger agency that had a wider service base.

It worked.

My drive was renewed and, thanks to the initial vision one of my closest friends Don Gent, we created an agency that flourished despite being formed at the height of the financial crisis.

Since then, the business has pivoted time and time again.

Sometimes these pivots were results of market shift and sometimes, they were results of our own lifestyles changing; our desires and perception of success being shifted by the world around us and our own personal growth.

Pivoting is a good thing: it is not a fail

The reason for me sharing this is that I speak to so many small business owners who don't see the need to pivot until way too late.

Or (and perhaps this is worse), they know they need to pivot but hold off from doing so because they worry that the shift will be perceived as a failure by those around them.

Here's the truth, and it comes in two points:

  1. Those you worry will perceive you as that failure, well they don't care about your business. They care about you and if what you need to do is course correct, they'll welcome it with open arms.
  2. A pivot is not a fail.

A pivot is a car journey on the road to success, with each fork in the road being a choice that ultimately brings you closer to your destination.

You know, sometimes our ego won't let us see what's good for us.

And sometimes we're just afraid of what lies around this unknown corner, with our personal safety mechanism forcing us to stay on a path that will ultimately lead to a dead end instead of exploring the path less trodden or a path that we can see takes us to our destination via an unknown land.

The fact is that a pivot is not a failure.

In fact, a pivot can also allow you to rediscover the energy and passion that was once so abundant during those startup years by refocussing you on a solution, thus helping you shed any negative mindset that has crept up upon you.

A pivot is not a fail. A pivot is a chance.

Don't wait on this. If you're on a path to a dead-end, don't let fear of perceived failure stop you doing what is good for you and your business.

Don't forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel.

Mark Asquith

That British podcast guy, Mark is co-founder of, the world's only growth-oriented podcast host. A Harvard, TEDx, Podcast Movement and Podfest speaker (amongst many more!), he's a wildly approachable Brit and Star Wars/DC Comics geek.

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