I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 13, and what I’ve learned is that a successful entrepreneur should always be searching for new opportunities. Nothing in business ever stays the same, and pivoting at the right time is essential.

In 2013, I was a travelling baseball coach. It was a far more expensive task than I anticipated, and fundraising became essential to stay afloat. I became involved in a laundry detergent fundraiser, which ended up becoming the most successful fundraiser I had ever been part of. People were reaching out to us for this product after only 3 months. When our sales doubled in the second round, I realized this business could really become something.

Just a month later, Suds Fundraising was born. Fundraising online led us to doubling our sales every year. But in 2017, we reached a limit. Because of high shipping costs we were unable to scale our business any further. This is when pivoting became essential. We expanded to more products such as soy candles, and I studied aromatherapy to sell essential oils. From there we expanded even further into apparel companies, and this almost sank the ship entirely.

By 2018 there was far too much going on. I became overwhelmed and had to focus on my mindset. John Michael Morgan helped me understand purpose, legacy and gratitude, and by 2019, my business was going a lot better. Then in March 2020, the pandemic hit and everything changed. Companies suddenly went on pause and employees were going home. 85% of our revenue came from these companies, so my current business model couldn’t work anymore. People relied on me to support their families, and I was starting to panic.

Once again, the solution was to pivot. I thought about what people needed right now, and what I could market to them. Everyone uses Facebook, so looked to see what conversations were happening there. People were talking about things they needed to stock up on. Things that retailers and even Amazon were not able to provide. It then occurred to me that hand sanitizer was something people needed, couldn’t get, and I could provide. Not only could I provide it, but I wanted to make a product better than what was on the shelf. That way when the product was back on the shelf, people would still prefer mine.

My sanitizer was so successful that there was too much demand for what we had. The solution was to pivot again, and get some outside help. With business schools closed, the students were able to help me with producing the sanitizer. The warehouses I sold to could help me produce on a much larger scale. We were able to produce 64 gallons of sanitizer at the same time, and demand could finally be met.

When schools reopened and sanitizers became much easier to make, I decided to sell my companies. I now help other businesses to think, pivot and grow as we did. During these difficult times for myself and my businesses, the solution was always to pivot. If your business is struggling, find out what people need and how you can pivot your business to expand or change as the world does.
Note: This article was created from a presentation given by Jeremy Kean, at a LevelUp conference shown on YouTube.

Jeremy Kean has been an entrepreneur since he was 13, selling various products such as laundry detergent, soy candles and hand sanitizer. He now works as a business consultant, giving advice to companies on how to pivot and grow.

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