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Pivoting: Not Just for Startups

In the world of startups, changing or adapting your business model is quite integral to your success. It can mean the difference between product success and failure.  Pivoting isn’t just a concept for startups to consider. It impacts businesses at all stages – including some that used to be household names.

Let’s first consider Blackberry, formerly one of the top names in mobile technology. During the upswing in the mobile craze, Blackberry was at the top of the game with their closed ecosystem of messaging and apps. They owned the business market, which spilled over into the mass consumer market as well. However, Blackberry failed to continue to adapt their business to the changing marketplace. Before long, Blackberry found itself on the ropes trying to defend itself from the likes of Apple and Android.

Another company that failed to pivot to changing times is Sears. A company that once dominated retail with their catalog business has fizzled in obsolescence over the course of time. During its peak, Sears was mailing millions of catalogs to homes across the United States, enabling people to order right out of their homes via mail. Today, Sears is on the brink of extinction due to denial that the goliath of the industry needed to adapt. Companies like Amazon and Walmart now dominate the landscape they once ruled.

Lastly, let’s look at the once great Eastman Kodak. This company was synonymous with photography, and even created the technology that eventually led to its downfall. Kodak sat atop the film industry as the giant with no weaknesses in sight. As digital photography began to ramp up, they stuck to their guns and refused to adapt to the changing world. Soon, digital photography began to overtake traditional film, but Kodak reacted too late. The once great giant was placed in the new role of playing defense and could not catch up.

As you can see, even the greatest companies that are enjoying dominance in a market are vulnerable to becoming stale. Every business, regardless of industry or size, must adapt in order to remain relevant. Stay hungry to be the best in your respective industry, even if it means changing your business model altogether.

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