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Business Pivots Which Led to Global Success

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by Startacus Admin

Startups nowadays just love to pivot. Some almost wear it as a badge of honour “We’re on our 4th pivot now” they will say, beaming with pride at their apparent resilience.Business pivots which led to global success

And why not indeed? The nature of many modern businesses allows for significant shifts in business models without a complete dissolution and a parting of ways. Back in the day, the opportunities for businesses to pivot were scant to say the least. It was much more a case of succeed or fail, rather than, succeed or fail, pivot, pivot, pivot.

But when you think about it, would you sink the ship over a broken mast? She will no longer be able to sail, but the components are all still there. Just fix the mast and get back to work… or pivot to put it plainly.

There are many many incredibly successful enterprises which are now operating in a way that is almost unrecognisable from their original business model.

Take comfort in this fact, wear that failure with pride, and pivot with abandon… the greatest amongst them have lain the path beneath you.

These are just a few such trailblazers


One of the world’s largest consumer electronics and software companies, Nintendo was founded in 1889- the same year that Thomas Edison was granted a patent on his lightbulb.

Even at that time, they were as far from technological innovation as one could imagine, being manufactures of playing cards. No one could ever have predicted the position of global significance they now occupy 126 years on, in an industry which is by the slimmest of threads related to their first incarnation.

NokiaBusiness pivots which led to global success

Now a global telecommunications giant Nokia, like Nintendo, had far more humble and traditional routes. The company was founded in 1865 in Finland and was solely occupied in the production of wood pulp, for the manufacture of paper products.

From the most fundamental of communicative mediums, to the cutting edge of telecommunications, Nokia has pivoted and shifted it’s way through one-and-a-half centuries where the world has changed beyond all recognition. Those who doubt it’s future longevity would do well to take that into account.


Avon started out life as one man selling books door-to-door in 1886. David H. McConnell incentivised young ladies to partake of his wares by offering small bottles of perfume along with the books. He soon came to realise that the perfume was a much easier sell than the books and so pivoted his business into one of the world's leading cosmetic manufacturers and direct sales companies.


Like Avon, this is another tale of stumbling upon an opportunity and seizing it with both hands. You will probably be surprised to learn that in 1891 William Wrigley, Jr. founded the American company in order to sell soap and baking powder. However when the chewing gum he offered as a customer gift proved more popular than the other products, a sharp pivot was made the since then Wrigley has grown into the world's leading manufacturers of chewing gum, as well as a number of other related consumer products.

StarbucksBusiness pivots which led to global success

Today, Starbucks is completely synonymous with the brewing of coffee, but it wasn’t always so! Back in the day, 1971 to be precise, they started life selling espresso machines and coffee beans for use in the home. That is, until they realised that selling freshly brewed coffee offered a far more lucrative prospect, and so Starbucks coffee house sprang up all over the US, and eventually spread across the globe.

So many could-be entrepreneurs think that you need an amazing idea to start a business. What these stories prove is that this is not the case. Here we have seen some of the world's largest and best known companies burst forth from businesses which were in some cases almost unrelated to them.

Their founders had never planned it, but were able to spot an opportunity when it arose and weren’t afraid to exploit it. So the next time you are feeling disheartened about your businesses lack of growth, look around because the answer to your trouble might just be right under your nose.

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Published on: 20th November 2015

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