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Does Your Small Business Need to Pivot? Young entrepreneur Peter Crabtree became an upscale chocolatier in 2005. When that didn't take off, he changed the business to an entirely new concept.

By Carol Tice Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Does Your Small Business Need to PivotIn 2005, when 15-year-old Peter Crabtree of Poulsbo, Wash., turned his high school culinary-arts training into an upscale chocolate-making business, CBC Chocolates, he saw some early success but not much.

So he started considering what else he could do to make his business more appealing. He wondered what other products he could source as a young, bootstrapping small-business owner. What he found and the new business idea he put together would make him a local celebrity.

Raised on a farm, Crabtree had easy access to natural beef. Living in the Northwest, he was also near other great local food growers and boutique wineries. After some research into what was available, he decided to pivot his business and add some more items besides chocolate.

A year ago, the business morphed into ChocMo, an upscale chocolate bistro featuring beer, wine, paninis, cheese, that naturally raised beef from his family's farm and a line of decadent chocolate desserts.

Soon, ChocMo had become the new, hip hangout in town. Where else could you get gourmet chocolates and a great local glass of wine in the same sitting? Nowhere. And we all know how well wine and chocolate go together.

Now, Crabtree recently told his local business journal, "I feel we've just hit critical mass."

Often, the first idea you get for a business is really just the germ of an idea. It needs more work. It needs to be developed and different angles need to be tried before you hit on the one customers love.

The difference between being a successful entrepreneur and just another flameout is often the willingness to keep evolving your idea. Respond to customer feedback frequently -- even after you hit the sweet spot where your passion and the marketplace meet.

Have you tweaked or even switched your business idea? Leave a comment and share how you changed it.

Carol Tice

Owner of Make a Living Writing

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at

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