Question of the Week
When Pivoting Is Hard
Happy Friday, all!
I hope you didn’t miss me too much last week. I was traveling and didn’t get a chance to post. And while I was away, we dropped another great episode of the Mission Driven Business.
I chat with Aimee Kandrac, the co-founder and CEO of WhatFriendsDo and the first female CEO in Indiana to close a $500,000 funding round. The WhatFriendsDo platform offers a simple way to create organized, actionable support for families experiencing a crisis, and Aimee’s work is instrumental in bringing communities together during times of hardship.
In the episode, Aimee shares how a friend’s terminal cancer diagnosis at age 25 was the catalyst to create WhatFriendsDo. She also opens up about her struggle to raise venture funding as a female entrepreneur in the Midwest and how the business has pivoted to reach the right clients and stay profitable.
Most entrepreneurs run mission-driven businesses.
Aimee says that most entrepreneurs qualify as owners of mission-driven businesses because entrepreneurs wouldn’t have the passion and energy to build a business if they didn’t feel like they were fulfilling a personal mission. For Aimee, that mission is to connect and help people, which is a central tenet of WhatFriendsDo.
“I feel really lucky because the mission that I’m fulfilling fits really nicely with the passion that I have for helping other people and connecting other people,” Aimee said.
Pivoting can be tough but necessary.
When WhatFriendsDo started, it was a B2C business in which the customers were the same as the end-users: families amid a life-changing event. However, about five years ago, the company pivoted to stay profitable, shifting to a B2B model in which it licenses its program to organizations with the same end-users. The change was hard for Aimee.
“Businesses have different needs, want different ROI expectations than my end users, and I still struggle with it sometimes because I’m just so passionate about the end user,” she said.
The pivot came with the added challenge of identifying industries that could benefit from the WhatFriendsDo platform and understanding the technology behind it. While WhatFriendsDo is still refining its niche, the company can do value-based sales pricing better than before the change.
“We started out in healthcare and sold to hospital systems, so hospital systems have the opportunity to white label an app for their patients,” Aimee said. “This is a way for a hospital or healthcare provider to extend their reach beyond the doctor’s office, beyond the hospital walls.”
Get out there and try it.
Aimee knows first-hand the glass ceiling she faced when raising funds to build WhatFriendsDo. In 2016, she became the first female CEO in her home state of Indiana to close a half-million-dollar venture funding round. In at least one case, she was the first woman to pitch a venture capital group.
We still have a long way to go. Aimee cited statistics that female founders and people of color are still getting less than 7% of venture funding, which is all the more reason for Mission Driven Business podcast listeners to take charge and start their own businesses.
Quote of the Week
“Get out there and try it. If it fails, then fix it, or now you know not to do it. But it’s better to go do it than to regret having not tried.” – Aimee Kandrac
Task of the Week
Get out there and try! Is there something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t felt like the timing was right, or are you just afraid to leap? Do it anyway! I’d love to hear how it goes.
And if you want to learn more about Aimee and WhatFriends Do, you can find more info at the links below.