Best Strategies to Successfully Pivot Your Startups
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The Best Strategies: How To Successfully Pivot For Startups?

Ajay Kumar By Ajay Kumar | June 11, 2021

Change is only constant in the creation and scaling of startups. You never know what will happen when establishing and maintaining your business. So, always be ready to pivot from one idea or business model to another.

Undoubtedly, starting and maintaining a startup business is a very challenging task. Indeed, some reports show that at least 90% of startup companies ultimately fail. Establishing a successful business is the only first thing in a long line of challenges an owner will face. But, what makes 10% of companies successful in today’s dynamic era? While there are several factors to consider, one of the most important is pivoting your business successfully. 

Pivoting a business can breathe new life into a failing business. It also means you have to start from scratch and abandon all the investments you had previously put into your company. Many startups focus on creating their user base first and then measure how they can best finance that base. One of the best examples of pivoting a business is Slack. 

Slack started as a gaming company called Tiny Spec and its app was developed for internal communication purposes. Soon the company realized its app could be helpful for other businesses. After seeing the success and demand for the in-built messaging feature, the company chose to launch it as a brand new app for other businesses’ communication purposes as well, And that’s how it pivoted to become one of the most admired team collaboration tools among enterprises. 

If you are thinking of pivoting your startup, you should know what it entails before moving. This article will create an extensive guide that details what shifting is, when is the right time to pivot your company and ensure a successful pivot. Let’s dive deeper into the information for better understanding.

Also Read – complete guide to successful app development for startups in 2021

What is Pivoting for your Startup?

Pivoting in the startup world means a shift to a new business strategy applied for testing a new approach related to a startup business model after receiving feedback. It is one of the core concepts of the startup methodology and that’s why it’s also known as pivot lean startup. Lean means higher customer value with fewer resources. If you align lean principles in your software development process, you should always consider making scope for app pivot. The Pivot business model is shown in the figure below:

a brief of pivot business model

Often, a company only has one issue to address and only requires one aspect to change. Here are some examples of pivoting that you would not have considered a “pivot.”

  • Turn one product feature into a new product itself, resulting in a simpler and more streamlined offering
  • Turn a product into the feature of more extensive product
  • Focus on previous and potential customers by establishing a company into a new market
  • Change a platform, from an application to software or vice versa
  • Employ a unique revenue model to enhance monetization. Even it has been observed that a company gets more profits with ad-based revenue models than freemium
  • Use different techniques to build a product, often to reduce manufacturing costs 

There are other examples of pivoting, but you have now understood that pivoting encompasses several directions for a startup. So, the following primary concern is how you will know if you should pivot.

Also read this post: trending apps ideas for your business model.

When is the Right Time to Pivot for your Business?

As many enterprises have pivoted and experienced tremendous success, it is easy for startups to believe that pivoting is a magic pill that can cure any issue. However, pivoting should be considered only when necessary and all other options have been used up. It would be best to build a prototype before pivoting and ensuring your pivot gives growth opportunities to the business and keeps the investors in the loop for investing in your startup. It would be best to put in extra time to ensure your business is on the right track. The most effective way to push your business is carefully updating with market needs and preparing your strategies to complete your goals. To ensure you don’t make a rash decision with your business, here are some signs to identify when pivoting makes the most sense: 

Sign #1 – If the Market’s Overall Needs are Changing

When market needs evolve, it is essential to pivot the business to meet changing needs. It will become increasingly crucial as the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings about change and disruption with advanced technologies and business models. To pivot your business successfully, you need to keep an eye on your customer needs and the evolving market. 

Sign #2 – If you are Spending too much Time Putting Efforts

If you feel that you spend more time putting out fires regularly, leave feeling like nothing has been achieved. It is a huge indicator that your business needs to pivot. For that, you need to take a step back, rethink and plan on a higher level again to achieve desired outcomes. 

Sign #3 – If you have Stopped the Growth

The growth represents your business running successfully. But, if your business stops growing, it means your business must pivot. Becoming enthusiastic about your key measurements will ensure you are aware of your business’s health all the time. So, if you notice a decrease in your productivity, working efficiency and profitability, you need to pivot your business. 

Sign #4 – If you are unable to see a Viable Path to Grow

Successful companies constantly strive to grow their business in today’s competitive market. Increased revenue and improved working efficiency are two significant factors in measuring the growth and success of your business. So, if you can no longer see a viable way to achieve success, you need to pivot your business. Often you need to put extra effort and other times, you need to evolve direction. 

Sign #5 – If you can’t Scale up your Production to Meet Demand

Some businesses are experiencing increased demand during the pandemic. For example, hand sanitizer and EPA-registered disinfectant products. Some business owners who are going through this time may find it challenging to take advantage of the enhancement in demand. They have reached capacity, maxing out on hours and staff. If you cannot scale up your production to meet demand, you need to update your business model by changing how you do what you do. 

So, these are the top five signs you need to pivot your business. There are different types of pivots available in the market.

What are the Different Types of Pivot?

#1- Pivot In Your Existing Market 

It is one of the most common types of the business pivot. As a business owner, you need to change the direction in the market they are already in without offering any new market information or making a new consumer segment.

#2 – Reposition your Product or Service

At times, your product’s elements might identify more significant adoption potential than your whole app. This is what makes it challenging for businesses in this situation is whether or not to let go of their legacy business. 

If you are looking for a pivot in business strategy, you need two approaches to handle the situation:

  • Launch a new branded product or service
  • Launch a new business while shutting down the old business

Its choice relies on the cash flow situation. If your legacy business is profitable and noticing a constant inflow of customers, you can think of keeping it intact. 

#3 – Do Something Entirely New

In this case, you can let go of your idea to explore something new altogether. But if you are committed to the idea of a bottom-up start, it would be worth considering shutting the present company and using the fund for starting a new business. 

Many popular brands pivot their business model to achieve success in the market. Some of them are mentioned below:

successful tech pivots

Let’s know about those brands who have pivoted their business successfully in detail:

Successful Tech Pivot in Business Stories 

#1 – Instagram

One of the most popular pivot software startup stories is Instagram – one of the biggest social media platforms. But before becoming a social media platform, Instagram was a prototype known as Burbn, developed with check-in features, photo post options and the capability to gain points. 

Mike Krieger and Systrom – The founders of Instagram – soon realized that the UI was too cluttered and hence they pivoted. They limited their startup software development to uploading, commenting and liking features. It makes Instagram one of the most simplistic visual platforms in the market. 

#2 – Twitter

In 2005, Twitter was launched as Odeo, which was used to find and subscribe to podcasts. However, with iTunes making it a robust platform, Odeo was selected to pivot. Then Jack Dorsey, the future co-founder of Twitter, came up with an idea of a microblogging platform wherein contacts could share and read each other’s updates in real-time. Today, Twitter has become a famous brand with more than 355 million users who share updates and citizen journalism, social activism, and live tweets.

#3 – PayPal

PayPal has always focused on payments, but it has gone through many arrangements. In 1999, company – Confinity developed this app to allow people to “beam” prices from their PDAs. After combining with a financial services company called X.com, PayPal became the preferred online payment system for eBay sellers, which moved its name into payment processing fame. 

#4 – Pinterest 

This trendy “fixing” social platform pivoted from “Tote,” which permitted people to browse and shop their favorite retailers and update them when their favorite products were available and sold. The founders soon realized that the users of Tote were interested in developing collections of their favorite products and sharing them with friends. Pinterest now has over 70 million users, with approximately 80% of its users being women. While its pivot has been successful in user growth, Pinterest is trying to figure out how to generate Tote’s e-commerce and revenue roots.

As you now have known about Pivoting, the right time to pivot and successful tech pivot in stories, it’s time to learn successfully pivoting your startup.

Five Simple Tips to a Successful Pivot of a Business Strategy

#1 – Build a Prototype before you Pivot

If you plan to pivot a startup, build a prototype first and notice if people would use it and give feedback. At the beginning stage, Feedback is essential for determining where the product impact would be the greatest. The prototype also enables you to identify whether the product is a good fit for your brand. 

#2 – Choose Goals that Align with your Business Goals

As a startup owner, it’s essential to know how your vision statement is changing. Gone are the days when there used to be one mission and vision statement. With the changing market, the ideas are also frequently changing. It is essential to rethink what needs to be done and create a business model pivot to meet the new objectives of business and customers. 

#3 – Ensure your Pivot give out Growth Opportunities

If you pivot in an entirely new direction without giving much attention to the plan, you will fail again. So, you need to recommend two things, such as not expanding in the current market and perform an extensive market analysis. If you find the market is small, the customer base is too diverse, and there is too much competition, it won’t be beneficial to pivot. Hosting a product discovery workshop is one way to go about this strategy. 

#4 – Consider Alternative Technology

For a startup to pivot, it is highly essential to be on top of the technology trends. Only when your business can incorporate the latest technologies will you pivot with the probability to succeed. 

#5 – Keep the Investors in the Loop

At every pivot stage, make sure the investors are kept in the loop for making decisions. If you think that the company’s mission and aim will change, discuss it with your internal stakeholders, including investors, in advance. If you plan to change without any discussion with the investors, it can harm the relationships and make pivoting undesirable. 

By following these five simple steps, you can change your business model and achieve desired success. So, if you are still unsure how to successfully pivot your business, you need to get in touch with a reputed mobile app development company – Appventurez!

How can Appventurez Help Startups to Pivot their Business Successfully?

As a reputed startup app development company, we have held several successful pivot businesses with our clients looking to make a difference in how they conduct their business. We use a Pivot Pyramid to help our clients evaluate which business era to change for driving maximum growth. This is the same pyramid that investors use when measuring the growth of your business. The pivot startup pyramid is shown in the figure: 

what is startup pivot pyramid

Let’s know about these Five Layers in Details:

Layer #5: Customers 

Undoubtedly, customers are the base of any startup. The problem you resolve, the product you build, and its technology depend on the customers’ category. You can change and pivot the customers to re-evaluate the entire pyramid. 

Shopify started by selling snowboards online before realizing that the tools to build an e-commerce platform are not enough. So, giving birth to the modern-day Shopify that has helped more than 100,000 SMBs sell online.

Layer #4 – Problem

There can be instances where the choice of customers is correct, but the issues you are looking to resolve don’t matter much. If you pivot your business, you would have to rethink the solution, tech and growth plan. 

Criteo started as a recommendation engine for online retailers. Then they went on to become a successful brand that helped online retailers perform retargeting campaigns. 

Layer #3 – Solution

If you have recognized the issues your customers are facing, you need to build a product that would resonate with customers more than those in the market. The changes at this stage should be growth-focused. 

Meerkat gained growth through this route when it started live streaming videos on Twitter.

Layer #2: Technology 

When developing your reliable and successful mobile app, the right technology choice plays a vital role. We focus heavily on when performing Android or iOS app development for a startup. Even if the products and services are related to the customers, the technology choice should be delaying your retention and growth. 

An example of how technical issues can affect business growth is the Friendster failure. The brand failed to become a common social platform as they could not keep their servers up with the demand. 

Layer #1: Growth 

Make sure every change in the pivot pyramid is growth-driven. However, a significant number of experiments don’t call for any change in the technology or product. So, marketers should experiment with startup growth strategies to avoid the growth channels from becoming expensive.

Airbnb took the growth route for pivoting by uploading their listings on Craigslist, which boosted visibility and led to higher demand. 



Ajay Kumar
Ajay Kumar

A young entrepreneurial technocrat who is the Co-Founder & CEO at Appventurez Mobitech. After completion of his masters in Computer Application, he dived into the world of technology as an iOS developer. As a CEO, he firmly believes teamwork and collaboration are the essential tools for any company’s success.

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