The Most Important Business Pivot is the One Made Before Starting

The idea of a business pivot is very popular in entrepreneurial subculture. The business pivot in normal nomenclature is the art of shifting gears during your business based on user feedback and data analysis.

However, what if the the most important business pivot was the one you made before even starting?

My stepson was a Generation Z young adult with no interest in business or entrepreneurship. I’ve tried to get him interested in owning his business and controlling his destiny for years.

No luck.

Everything changed after he graduated from college and got a full-time job.

Early morning wake-ups, traffic, low pay, corporate politics, passive-aggressive bosses, and boom! Suddenly, he wants to start a business.

As I like to say, words rarely can wake people up. Warning people about the fire doesn’t work; they need to stick their hand into it and get burnt.

In any event, when my stepson finally came to me for some feedback on a business idea, I showed him the following graphic:

Effort Versus Reward

My stepson’s first business idea was related to agriculture—terribly hard to scale with equally difficult customer acquisition hurdles. His best-case scenario is a middle-class salary.

The best business to start (above) is Idea #1 and #4. The low rewards of the other ideas are not worth your effort.

You see, no matter what business you decide to launch, you will struggle and grind. The question is, will that work and grind change your life or pay your bills?

I mentioned this last year in an earlier newsletter in a parable of a mountain hike. You cannot avoid the treacherous hike up the mountain, but you can ensure your effort is handsomely rewarded.

People are running small corner cafes who work as hard as I but earn 100X less. Effort is not an issue; the answer lies in the graphic above.

Think that guru with a $3,000 course to sell you has the answer?


Here’s what you don’t see.

Effort Versus Reward - Guru
Effort Versus Reward - Guru reality

If you need a billionaire to convince you, Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone Group, which is a global private equity firm, said it best:

“I had reached an important conclusion about starting any business; it’s as hard to start and run a small business as it is a big one. You will suffer the same toll financially and psychologically as you bludgeon it into existence… so if you’re going to dedicate your life to business, which is the only way it will work, you should choose one with the potential to be huge.”

If you play the big-boy/big-girl game of business, be in the business of big rewards. Or work for the rest of your life, an outcome no better than a job.

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MJ DeMarco

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