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    I’ve invested in over 100 companies…. 

    And 90% of those companies pivoted at least once. 

    The ability to pivot is essential when it comes to building and growing a successful business.

    The majority of the most recognizable and successful companies in the world had to pivot to become the powerhouses they are today:

    • YouTube started as a video-dating site
    • Twitter was originally a podcast platform
    • Netflix began with mail-order DVDs before pivoting to a streaming service
    • Starbucks used to only sell coffee beans until realizing the bigger opportunity was in making their own coffee drinks 
    • Instagram began as a social app for friends to make plans named “Burbn.”

    The list of pivots goes on… 

    All of these companies shifted, took a chance, and made a change.

    I can guarantee, the best and most successful businesses had to pivot at one point or another. It’s the reality of the world we live in, nothing is guaranteed and your path to success is almost never a straight line. The need to pivot can happen for so many reasons. Market forces. Misjudgements. A shift in the culture. The economy. Developments in technology. An unmissable opportunity. The number of reasons is endless! 

    Sometimes it is obvious when you need to pivot, other times it requires reading between the lines.

    Here are 3 signs it’s time to pivot your business. 

    1. Your sales are slow, plateaued or declining 
    2. Customers aren’t responding to your products like you thought they would
    3. One product line or service significantly outperforms anything else you offer

    Often pivots are born from need, when sales are faltering or the path to financial viability is at risk. Other pivots can be opportunistic, like shifting when you see a strong market opportunity. 

    When I started 100.co two years ago, my mission was to leverage AI to provide competitive intelligence for the creation of new consumer brands. However, as we went to market we were getting unexpected amazing feedback. Even though we had built our platform for internal use, external brands were requesting to use our intelligence tools. So, we listened to customer demand and shifted focus to build and launch a self-serve platform for external brands. Our product stayed the same but we pivoted our platform to appeal to a new customer segment. Within six months, we had 30 customers using our platform. 

    The takeaway?  

    Businesses are dynamic and always changing. You have to be open to adapt in order to thrive. Often the way your business starts, looks different from how it ends up. 

    Did you know that Shopify was originally an online store that only sold snowboards? That’s right, the founders, frustrated by existing online storefront plantorms, created their ideal sales platform to sell their snowboards. After seeing other online retailers had similar challenges they leaned into the opportunity and pivoted from selling snowboards to creating an e-commerce platform for small business owners. And their pivot paid off. Shopify now has a valuation of over $50 Billion! 

    No business model is perfect from the start. As needs and market conditions change and technology evolves, so must the entrepreneur’s ability to adapt – and pivot.

    I’ve seen many companies decide to “stay the course” even when they know, deep down, that if they keep doing things the same way they probably won’t achieve the success they’re hoping for. 

    I’m not saying change is easy. Taking a risk is scary. I get it, I’ve been there many times. But “hoping for the best” is not a strategy. 

    One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career is: there is no shame in admitting you need to pivot. It’s actually a strength. It’s an active choice to improve your chances of success.  

    The ability to pivot is essential when it comes to building and growing a successful business.

    When was your last pivot? More importantly, when is your next one?

    Visit Kim’s website at kimperell.com or follow on LinkedInFacebookInstagram  and Twitter