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Business Pivoting Examples Every MBA Should Know

Pivoting: Apple, Amazon and Twitter have all done it - read how these giants have adapted and evolved


Mon Dec 23 2013

One of the critical skills required to run a business is to be able to gauge the trends and customer acceptance of your product or service at a holistic level and be able to come up with suitable alternatives. Pivoting is a crucial part of business strategy that is the process of gauging the track of a business and effecting an evolution that will take the business on to bigger things. Here are some of the most popular examples of business pivoting. 


We all know Nintendo for innovating mass-produced video games. However, the company has existed a long time and has produced everything from playing cards to vacuum cleaners, and instant rice. In 1966, Nintendo began producing electronic games and consoles, which gained wide popularity over the next quarter century. Building on the love of video games, Nintendo developed the Wii in 2006 to attract non-gamers. They created simple games with an affordable console and a device that mimicked the player’s real-life movements. The Wii attracted fitness buffs, seniors and others to yoga, bowling and golf. The Wii boosted revenue 228% between 2006 and 2008.


Apple began as a computer company building individual computers for personal and business use. Steve Jobs created a well known profitable brand before he stepped aside as CEO. The company became less competitive then Steve Jobs came back. Industry analysts were able to see how quickly Steve Jobs was able to make Apple relevant in the business world again. He moved fast in new product develop branching out to iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and new laptops. Many people credit Steve Jobs with creating a new revenue model for the music industry. Jobs, with his phenomenal understanding of business principles and human behavior, knew that the world of file sharing was going to change the industry's business model forever. It is because of Steve Jobs and his pivot that benefited the music industry that gave us platforms like Pandora and Spotify. 

Huffington Post 

Arianna Huffington gained fame in print journalism and television. As journalism and media became progressively digitized, she embraced the web and online media. She attracted writers who contributed content for free to develop their own following and reputations. Through continuous change and adaptation she developed a well known and profitable online publication. 


Amazon sold books online. Then Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon changed the online bookstore into an online retailer attracting customers away from traditional stores and making online retailing competitive. He built fulfillment centers and distribution networks that deliver products quickly and at low cost. He refined is customer base by adopting sophisticated customer data collection and metrics systems.


Twitter used to be a company called Odeo which began as a network where people could find and subscribe to podcasts, but the founders feared the company’s demise when iTunes began taking over the podcast niche. The company gave their employees two weeks to come up with new ideas, then decided to make a drastic change and run with the idea of a status-updating micro-blogging platform conceived by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone. Twitter, a seven year old company, just went public in November 2013.


Xerox dominated the market for copiers and fax machines. As the world turned paperless, the company changed from selling office equipment to managing business processes such as data processing, human resources benefits management and customer-relationship-management services for private sector businesses and governments around the globe. Xerox acquired data-processing firms, including Affiliated Computer Systems in 2010. The company’s revenue has increased 50 percent since 2010. 


McDonald's pivoted as they responded to criticism of their menu, which contained high fat, high sugar foods. The increasingly health conscious customer had been moving away from the famous franchise. However, customers appreciated the fact that McDonald's was willing to get rid of the trans fats in their food. By getting rid of the “bad fats” and adding salads, parfaits, gourmet coffee and other menu items they have retained and grown their global customer base.