HomeBusinessPart II: List of Businesses That Did Well After a Pivot

Part II: List of Businesses That Did Well After a Pivot

Business pivots involve strategic shifts in a company’s direction, prompted by various factors. These changes represent significant departures from previous strategies and have led to remarkable turnarounds for struggling firms. In the previous article, we explored companies like Netflix, Twitter and Instagram. 

Read more: Is Pivoting Your Business All That Bad?

Let’s look at some of the most successful pivots in history:


Year of pivot: 1980s
Valuation in 2023: $116.35B

Starbucks had humble beginnings in 1971, selling coffee beans and espresso makers. A pivotal moment came in 1982 when Schultz returned from Italy, sparking a shift from a mere coffee roaster to an Italian espresso bar model.

Throughout its journey, Starbucks has strategically pivoted. While continuing to roast and sell beans, it diversified by establishing coffee shops on numerous corners, abandoning the European cafe concept for new opportunities.

Adapting to evolving markets, Starbucks embraced drive-through locations, finding further success in catering to changing consumer preferences.


Valuation in 2023: $50.56B

Honda entered the US market in the 1950s, aiming to challenge Harley Davidson’s dominance in motorcycles. Initially, the small Japanese bikes didn’t captivate American consumers, lacking appeal for long rides along Route 66.

However, Honda pivoted successfully by uncovering an unexpected market. They noticed some customers using their bikes for off-road motorcycling. Leveraging this insight, Honda shifted its approach, selling bikes through Sporting Goods retailers. Effectively, they created a niche market previously untapped, leading to profitability in the US.


Valuation in 2023: $142.05 B

IBM, once a dominant force in personal computing, faced a shift in the market during the 1980s and 1990s, losing its stronghold.

In a bold move, IBM undertook a monumental change: departing from its core business to focus on IT consulting services. This strategic shift proved pivotal as IBM adapted and leveraged its strong client relationships. Today, it’s recognized not as a computer company but as a leading provider of IT consulting services for major organizations.


Android initially debuted as a cloud-based photo storage platform with a focus on connecting smart cameras to PCs. Shortly after, Google acquired them, prompting a pivotal strategic shift.

Recognizing a promising market opportunity, Android swiftly transitioned and ventured into the mobile phone and device industry, a move that proved timely and impactful. According to Statista’s recent figures from February 2022, Android commanded usage in a staggering 69.74% of smartphones. Its dominance overshadowed well-known competitors like Microsoft’s Windows Phone (including Windows Mobile), Nokia’s Symbian, and notably, BlackBerry.

Bottom line: 

Want your business pivot to be a success? During a pivot, align messaging with new goals, target the right audience, and refresh visual identity while effectively communicating changes to maintain brand consistency and engage customers.

Snigdha Basu
Snigdha Basu
A multifaceted writer, Snigdha Basu is a freelancer and a columnist at Entrepreneurs Today. She also spearheads Chic Life Edition - her own Digital Magazine with sustainable fashion, beauty, and culture at its core. Reach out to Snigdha at [email protected] for inquiries.
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