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Pivoting: 5 Companies Who Show You Can Change Career Direction

Posted November 14, 2013 by Lauren McCabe Herpich in Career Moves
Woman looking at arrows on a wall

There is a beautiful world in the entrepreneurship world and it is called “pivoting.” According to Entrepreneur Magazine, pivoting means:

A structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, business model and engine of growth.

Whether or not you are an entrepreneur, all of us face situations where we need to decide if the career direction we are going in is right for us. We look at our happiness, room for promotion, earning potential and lifestyle needs all as factors in our professional path. Call it a gut check or following your heart, but here are five companies who have shown us that making a pivot can help lead us to career happiness and success.

1. Twitter

You would think with all of the news about Twitter’s IPO last week that the microblogging site was an overnight success. Although only 18% of the U.S. population uses Twitter and it really only made the mainstream around 2008, the online service is the result of a change in direction for Odeo, a company that many of us have never heard of. Sometimes it just takes time to see our true potential.

2. Starbucks

Pivoting isn’t just for tech startups. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers can also use inspiration to find what’s best for business. Case in point: Starbucks. The company started out in 1971 selling espresso makers and coffee beans. But when CEO Howard Schultz took a trip to Italy and saw the magic of the traditional coffee house, Starbucks became the “third-place” experience that many of us spend a lot of time (and money) in today.

3. Instagram

Another tech success story, Instagram was originally known as Burbn, a Foursquare-like service that allowed you to “check-in” at locations. One of its many features was the ability to share photos with friends. Well, Facebook saw the potential one  feature in that and the rest, they say, is history.

4. Nintendo

The story of Nintendo shows that sometimes you can dabble in a couple of things in order to figure out what’s right for you. Long before Super Mario invaded our living rooms, Nintendo was producing everything from vacuum cleaners, instant rice and a short-stay hotel chain.

5. Avon

Sometimes you’ve got to look at what is working versus your primary objective. When Avon started out in the book-selling business, they gave away free sample of perfume that came with the books. When its female customers were more interested in the perfume than the books, the business made a move that would make it one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies in the world.

About the Author

Lauren McCabe Herpich

Lauren's life has definitely consisted of a series of adventures, or as she would like to call them: Why Nots! She recently left her digital marketing position at a Fortune 100 company to take the risk of entrepreneurship and start Why Not Girl!, a website empowering women to try new things, live life as an adventure and say Why Not! Lauren holds a Masters of Integrated Marketing Communication from Northwestern University's Medill School and Bachelors in Journalism and Media Arts from the University of Arizona. You can get inspired to say Why Not! in your own life by visiting Why Not Girl! at www.whynotgirl.com.