Do you know, Instagram began its operations as a location-based check-in, and later changed into a photo-sharing app? Also, Netflix shifted its focus from DVD rentals to streaming! Innumerable businesses changed their goals in their whole business journey. These are nothing but business pivots. India has witnessed some legendary business pivots too. In this write-up, we will shed light on the “3 most successful business pivots in Indian history”!
What is a Business Pivot?
When you see that a company is making significant strategic changes that completely flips its business model. Then you can say that the respective company is undergoing a “Business Pivot.” Basically, it refers to strategic changes made by companies to shift their focus on operations in response to market conditions. A pivot typically involves modifying various aspects of a business to adapt to new circumstances. The ultimate goal is to improve its chances of success. Business pivots can take various forms, depending on the specific situation and industry. Some of the significant ones are-
|Types of Business Pivots||Strategic Changes|
|Product Pivot||Alteration of products and service offerings, redesigning the product.|
|Market Pivot||Redefining the target market|
|Technology Pivot||Leveraging new technologies and innovative solutions|
|Business Model Pivot||B2B to B2C or D2C (Vice-Versa)|
3 Most Successful Business Pivots in Indian History
Although, our nation witnessed innumerable business pivots. But the most successful ones are Zomato, Myntra, and InMobi. A brief overview of these three successful business pivots is given in the table below-
|Company’s Name||Old Operating Segment||Reasons for Business Pivot||New Operating Segment|
|Zomato||Listing menu of various restaurants (FoodieBay)||To explore the untapped market of food delivery||Food delivery|
|Myntra||Selling Personalized gift items||Expansion of portfolio, to redefine the target market||Fashionable apparel & Lifestyle products|
|InMobi||SMS advertisement (MKhoj- Value Added Services)||The business model lacked expansion capacity, a non-sustainable business model||Digital Marketing and Social Networking Service|
Zomato: From menu listing to food delivery
The evolution of FoodieBay into Zomato is a long journey! How? You may ask. Probably you won’t have heard the former name of Zomato. Because it wasn’t that famous during its initial days of launch. Did you know, food delivery was not the primary activity of Zomato at that time? So what did it do? It only listed the menus and restaurants on its website. Their website was a kind of recommendation portal.
The founders of Zomato- Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah came across the complaints of their colleagues. Can you guess what the complaint was all about? They were struggling hard to acquire a menu card for restaurants. Imagine a scenario where you get the authentic menu card of various restaurants without even going into it. How easy would it be for you to have your favorite food without wasting time on restaurant hopping? The founders saw it as a perfect opportunity to use their creativity. So they launched a website named “FoodieBay” that gave access to numerous restaurants’ menu cards. They dreamt of developing the FoodieBay app.
The transition of FoodieBay into Zomato
So why did FoodieBay transform into Zomato? To tap into a new market i.e. food delivery. The founders also observed the fact that people used to stand in long queues to place their orders. This not only hampered their outing experience but also tired them. So this factor made Deepinder Goyal create a platform from where people can easily have restaurant food. And that too, in the comfort zone of their homes.
Thus, they modified “FoodieBay” to a food delivery app and named it “Zomato.” Don’t you find this name quite unique and novel? The term “Zomato” is derived from the word “Tomato” with a zing. This rebranding helped the company to expand its areas of operations beyond restaurant menu listing to food delivery.
Pivoting the business to the untapped market of food delivery not only granted massive success to the company but also boosted its revenue. Because customers got their famous restaurant’s food at their doorstep.
Myntra: From Selling Personalized Gifts to Branded Apparel
Which is the first platform that comes to your mind while window shopping for apparel? It is Myntra! Launched in 2007, it competes with famous e-commerce companies like Flipkart and Meesho. The journey of Myntra was full of numerous ups and downs. Including two “successful business pivots”, a venture finding over USD 80 million, and a bitter parting of its co-founders. Have you ever wondered what Myntra’s primary business was during its initial days of establishment? Selling gift items! Yes. Myntra used to sell personalized gift items.
Although in earlier years it operated on a B2B (Business-to-Business) model. But later it shifted to D2C. The official website of Myntra allows customers to purchase personalized products like-
- Mouse Pads
The business was going so-so. Meaning neither profitable nor loss. Thereafter, Myntra decided to explore new markets and moved away from personalization. After 2011, it started selling fashion and lifestyle products. It offered products from Indian as well as international brands. This strategy served as an eye-catching factor. People found that Myntra offered exclusive discounts on apparel and accessories from famous brands! After the successful business pivot, Myntra offers the following products-
- Indian & Fusion Wear
- Western wear
- Sports & Activewear
- Accessories (Belts, Sunglasses, handbags, etc.)
- Bed Linen
- Home Decors
In 2014, Flipkart acquired Myntra in a deal worth Rs.2000 crore. As of now, Myntra operates as an autonomous brand under the ownership of Flipkart. Thus, it primarily focuses on “fashion-conscious” consumers.
InMobi: A Journey from SMS-based Services to Mobile Marketing
Nowadays, digital marketing is the most common type of advertisement used by advertisers. Do you know InMobi was one of the first digital advertisers in our country? It was founded in 2007. That was 16 years ago! Was InMobi really ahead of its time or did it change its strategy? Well, the answer is, InMobi went through a business pivot that proved to be successful. So, let’s talk about its journey. In 2007, it was founded as an SMS-based advertising and search engine service. At that time, its name was mKhoj meaning mobile khoj or search. Although, mKhoj was going well and good. The company was earning decent revenue. Then, why did it pivot its business model? You may ask. Because it was not sustainable. With a far-sighted vision, the founders felt the need of expanding the startup with a sustainable business model.
They realized the fact that affordable internet and smartphones will soon storm the country. As a result, SMS-based services will decline drastically. Because, according to them, people will switch over to the Internet. This exact phenomenon happened in real life after the expansion of internet services in 2016. That’s why InMobi shifted its focus from SMS-based services to mobile advertising. (Note: Mobile advertising is a type of digital advertising). Also, they rebranded the company as “InMobi.” It was one of the most successful business pivots in Indian history. This step contributed to enormous revenue earnings that ultimately helped the company to scale up.
InMobi didn’t stop at that! It continues to create numerous software by leveraging the latest technologies and artificial intelligence for mobile marketing. Thus, it ensures that advertisers’ money is spent well and consumers have a great experience.
Zomato, Myntra, and InMobi have undergone successful business pivots. As a result, they experienced positive outcomes in terms of business and revenue. But pivoting a business is not as easy as it sounds! You need to consider various factors before finalizing the decision of shifting your business model. It needs careful analysis, planning, and execution. You need to perform market research & analysis, customer insights, strategic thinking, and agility to adapt to changing circumstances.