Many successful companies changed up their business plans early on. Here's when you should too.
Podcast platform Odeo turned into Twitter. Check-in app Burbn switched its focus to photo sharing and became Instagram. Does your startup need a change in direction to succeed? Here are three signs it’s time to revamp:
1. Customers Are Telling You
Is your target buyer consistently asking for something you don’t offer? “Customers exist because you make them better off,” says Gary Gebhardt, an associate professor of marketing at Canadian business school HEC Montréal. Listen to them.
2. Your Idea Isn’t Sticking
Do you have a hard time holding on to business? Go beyond focus groups and surveys. People often misrepresent their behavior. Instead, says Gebhardt, observe your customers going about their day. “When you see how people do things, you see how you can create a solution,” he says.
3. The Competition is Winning
Look at why people are favoring your rival’s product. But don’t panic pivot, says Steve Blank, co-author of The Startup Owner’s Manual. “A pivot requires substantial evidence that your original hypotheses for your business were incorrect.”