We’ve talked recently about how you can use the Autumn months to take stock of how the year is going and plan ahead to get your business ready for Christmas. But what if during your health check you find that your biggest opportunity lies outside of your main business model? Here’s some examples of how businesses were able to “pivot” and follow a new path to success
Prior to being one of the world’s biggest photo-sharing networks, Flickr started its life as a massively multiplayer online game called “Game Neverending”. But what differentiated it from competitors - and ultimately proved popular with users - was a unique functionality that enabled people to share files (including images) in real time in its chat windows. This article explains how the company was able to pivot towards delivering photo-sharing as a standalone feature, and how this eventually morphed into the Flickr we now know and love.
Roll with the punches
When businesses find that regulations or government rules change, pivoting may be the only way to keep afloat. That’s what happened to Scottish space burial startup Alpha Orbital, which reinvented itself after encountering “legislative hurdles” from the UK Space Agency against its low-cost space burial service. It’s still involved in the space sector, only now operates PocketQube Shop - a hub where people can find off-the-shelf satellite parts, assemble them and even find a launch vehicle.
Pivoting from a barcode scanning start-up into a popular music service doesn’t sound like a typical business strategy. But that’s exactly what Turntable FM founder Billy Chasen did. Disappointed that his startup StickyBits wasn’t performing as well as he wanted, Chasen used his remaining $400,000 of funds to create something new, based around his passion for music; and his enthusiasm convinced investors to stick with the new project. The company is now looking at its next pivot - based around replicating live music performances on the platform.
Many successful start-ups find themselves being forced to pivot at some point. But sometimes it takes more than one attempt. Former executive vice-president of PayPal, Reid Hoffman, says that the online payment giant pivoted at least five times before finding its niche - with previous guises including a handheld cryptography business and a service that beamed IOUs between PDAs. It was only after the company created its own payment portal, however, that it was able to expand thanks to the rise of e-commerce.
Think there’s another great example of a successful business pivot? Check out these startup founders thoughts on when is the best time to pivot a business- or leave a comment and hit us up on twitter to let us know your favourite. Have a great weekend!