Many of us at one time or another have tried to start our own small business. Some of us just tried something very small like trying to make money from our hobby. Others of us may have gone all out, setting up a corporation, getting a small business loan, and opening a brick and motor location.
Very often, for one reason or another things don’t always work out. Maybe it was a great idea, but the market or timing was wrong. Maybe the market was there, but our idea just didn’t fit with what people were willing to pay for. Whatever the case for why things didn’t work out, is there any benefit in trying to pivot the business idea and give it another shot?
How to Restart a Failed Business – My Story
Back in the years of 2005 – 2008, a buddy and I formed our own company and set out to create the world’s best calculator for the PC – for free! It was an awesome application, but it never really caught on. This was almost entirely due to a lack or marketing – hey, what can you expect from two engineers? Back then, I really knew just about zero when it came to search engine optimization. Because of the lack-luster results, we ended up just making the application free and asking for donations. We got a grand-total of one donation, and that was from a good friend 🙁
The program is still out there on the interwebs, but we let our actual website for the calculator expire. As a result, it’s been snapped up by someone and held hostage.
How to Restart a Failed Business – The Pivot
There are dozens of famous examples of businesses that didn’t work out, but the owners “pivoted” the idea and came up with a real winner. What do I mean by pivot? I mean making a small change in the business model to take a losing idea into a winning one. Did you know that Groupon used to be a company for online fundraising?? Their small pivot has taken them to become one of the fastest growing companies ever!
So, my new plan is a small pivot on the old idea. I’ve secured the rights to the software, I’ve made some improvements and enhancements to it, and I plan to offer it as a Pay-What-You-Want type of service. The user will choose to get the calculator software for free or pay some amount – they get to decide how much they pay. If the user decides to pay $10 or more, they will unlock the following features:
- 50+ page help manual
- online help articles
- online video tutorials on how to use the application
- access to pay-what-you-want user forums
- their name, payment amount, and link to their website on the supporters page
So, you can see I decided to strip out some of the stuff that I gave out for free and make it for paying users only. Also, by moving the help to an online website along with tutorial videos, I also have a way to earn ad commission through the website. To fit along with this idea, I’ve also modified the calculator application to include options to drive users to the website (help, forums, Pay-What-you want, check for updates, etc.)
How to Restart a Failed Business – Fingers Crossed
So, will it work? Who knows, but it is not a large amount of work to try it out. I just might hit on something that will earn a decent chunk of change. I’ve nearly got the website complete and ready to go. If interested, head over to www.FrugalCalc.com and have a look 🙂
Does anyone else have an example of a business idea that originally did not work out, but they “pivoted” the plan and it took off like wildfire?