04/08/2014 01:38 pm ET Updated Jun 08, 2014

The Pivot: When Startups Change Direction and Try Again

After sitting in the captain's seat long enough you will find that even when businesses or departments fail, rarely do they fail completely. You always learn from the experience.

Down the road you tend to hope that you need to learn less and that you will make more on ventures, but the safety net of being able to come back stronger and more focused is a reality if planned and detailed enough. In fact, learning should never stop. To be a career entrepreneur and business owner you need to know the scene, or hire people who do.

When a business changes course, what do you do? Why did the venture change course? Perhaps the ventures are dead in the water; perhaps you need to take a step back...

Pivoting is an obvious term. When the idea doesn't work -- or possibly does not gain traction after a set time -- the idea and venture must be retooled. Anything I have been involved in has involved capital, time and skilled labor. No back turning here. If the first leg falls through, just retool it. Gather the resources from the original idea and see what you can come up with for phase II.

Famous pivots include Twitter (which began as Odeo), Instagram (which began as Burbn) and even Wrigley.

I was involved in a restructuring years back. It was a horrendous upheaval, as proper due diligence was not executed, and human resources was more of a dream department than a reality. It was horrible, but I learned a great deal -- a crash course MBA experience -- and developed vital skills that I will never forget.

Pivoting naturally alters the flow of the venture idea. Original partners may elect to leave, resulting in a leaner, more direct model or perhaps develop into an entirely new venture on the wings of the original folded idea. If you have a great team, putting a venture on ice often helps the nature of the business (it sinks or swims in other words) and sharpens the identity of the company.

Originally published at