Launching a business or new product is such a personal thing. Months and sometimes years of quiet planning, endless working, and continuous praying go into bringing something new to market. Along the way, most founders begin to intertwine their own personal sense of achievement with that of this business or product. I know I do.
And so it is no surprise that entrepreneurs tend to ignore signals that their business ideas need to change or evolve after launch. After falling in love with their original concepts, many find it difficult to take on market feedback and adapt accordingly. It can actually feel offensive to hear that whatever you’ve been working so tirelessly on for months simply misses the mark.
What founders overlook here is that most of the time businesses that miss the mark can eventually hit the target if you re-aim. While you may have thought you had a winner of a concept, an initial flop doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re down for the count. It’s important to understand the power of the pivot. Some of the world’s biggest successes did.
YouTube began as a dating site….but then nobody was posting dating videos so the founders quickly opened it up to all sorts of video content. And we all know how that story ends.
Instagram began as Burbn, an overly complicated location based app that no one really understood. By analyzing exactly how its small base of users was actually using the app, Instagram’s creators were able to convert it into the monstrous photo sharing app it is today.
And did you know that Steve Jobs envisioned that Mac would kick PC out as the office computer of choice? He actually believed Mac to be the next mass market computer instead of the elitist, cult success that it turned into. The key was that he, his team, and the agency they worked with were able to shift the positioning after six months of seeing that the original goal was not feasible. Had Jobs been stubborn in his initial thinking, the Mac would have disappeared like other Apple products before it.
To chase success, you have to be flexible in adjusting your business model, positioning, or target audience as the market sees fit. Remember, your brand is not yours to control so you can either try to resist or go with the flow and capitalize on what the market actually wants even if it’s not what you originally planned.