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Why we pivoted 4 times in 16 months before hitting 1 crore revenue mark?

BY stagephod

Why we pivoted 4 times in 16 months before hitting 1 crore revenue mark?

Pivoting is to ditch something you had firm belief few weeks/ days/ hours ago and restart your experiment again.

The biggest question comes to every entrepreneur’s mind after he/ she has that unicorn start up idea is – what should be the right business model for this idea? There are many theories around this on how to validate it but I do not think there is one right answer to this. Most of the guys have done the usual – start -> experiment -> pivot -> restart -> re-experiment -> re-pivot.

We are no exception and we had to pivot multiple times before we hit profitability. Pivoting is not just a change in idea or operational activities but as an entrepreneur you have to change your mindset, ignore other people’s warning/ suggestions, listen to your intuition and set into a path no one (forget you and your acquaintances) has walked. Here is my story of pivoting multiple times in just few months:

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Starting up – YourStory for filmmakers (Nov’14 – Mar’15)

After failing at my first startup –, I incidentally made a short film and decided to start a ‘not for profit’ blog to tell prominent filmmakers’ stories to wider audience. For simplicity you can say the platform was “YourStory for filmmakers”. Well that time I had not thought like this but in hindsight I can say it became that. I named it I spoke to and featured 200+ prominent upcoming film makers on the platform. My intention was simple to interact with these people, learn more about them/ their struggle/ motivation and learn from them.

Suggestions/ Warnings I got –

  •   There are not enough filmmakers in India to run a blog like this
  •   Not many people are interested in knowing or reading story of lesser known/ unknown filmmakers

‘Not-for-Profit’ to ‘For Profit’ Market place for video creation (Apr’15 – Oct’15)

When I featured 200+ filmmakers on my blog, I unknowingly built supply side of market place for video creation. The major concern which I got from video makers when I used to talk to them is that – they do not get enough work opportunities to monetize their skill/ talent/ passion. At the same time many of my startup friends inquired if anyone from these people can create cost effective videos for them. This gave me an initial idea of converting the blog into a market place and thus India’s first dedicated digital market place for video creation – got started.

Suggestions/ Warnings I got –

  •         Market size of video creation is very small
  •         This is a B2B market place and once client will meet video maker directly, he/  she will bypass you
  •         Market place for a single service would not succeed as client will not have any reason to come back to you           hence no repeat business
  •         If you want to do something with videos, create a “shutter stock for videos for India”

Read here:How I met my co-founder Akhil Gupta !

“Market place” to “Managed market place” (Oct’15 – till date)

When we started creating videos as a market place model (simply connect client and video makers), we realized that video making = creative content + technical execution. Most video makers/ production houses are good in technical execution but not able to create value when comes to what content needs to be made in order to fulfill marketing objective. So we decided to own content or pre-production and changed our model to a managed marketplace. We quickly built a team of script writers. The people we hired were not just script writers or creative people but script writers with business/ startup experience. With this we started understanding client’s requirement from their business objective perspective and started suggesting concept/ ideas/ scripts. Once client liked the concept, we outsourced the technical execution part and managed the entire project on behalf of client.

Suggestions/ Warnings we got –

  •         This is more of an agency model hence not scalable
  •         You will run out of ideas/ concepts soon. No one can continue to generate innovative ideas for a long            period.
  •      This cannot be differentiating factor in long run

End to end digital video marketing solution (May’16 – till date)

When we started owning up concept/ script, our interaction with client increased. This broadened our understanding of client’s requirement from business perspective. In this process we realized that client also does not know that he/ she needs an end to end video marketing solution but what she is getting is just video creation services leaving marketing part on her only. As every video maker/ production is providing technical service only, no client is asking for marketing solution. So we pro-actively started pointing that out and helping them with marketing the video as well and thus became a complete end to end digital video marketing solution provider

Suggestions/ Warnings we got –

  •         Making a video viral is not in anyone’s hands hence it is very difficult to show results
  •         Companies already have a digital marketing team and they do not need your service

There were suggestions, warnings and strong warnings but we somehow continued and recently crossed 1 cr revenue mark without much marketing effort by serving 250+ clients. Well, I am not saying suggestions and warnings you get are completely useless or you should not listen to them. These are the genuine problems which people have faced in past when they tried to attempt something similar with a particular mindset, particular objective, particular skill set etc. Basically there are so many variables involved in a complex entrepreneurial problem and if only 1 or 2 could turn your way, things would be very different. What we can do is to just follow our intuition and common sense when a pivot idea struck.


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