How to Pivot a Successful Business at €20M ARR?

Louise Barnekow
Photo: Marcus Landström

Past success is not a guarantee for future success. The most successful SaaS companies have in common that they iterate and adjust for the future faster than anyone else. But how exactly do you “pivot” your business? Louise Barnekow, CEO of Mynewsdesk, shares how and why she pivoted a €20M ARR business to become a growth business again.  

At €20M, MyNewsdesk hit a wall, and the company was forced to restart and reboot the whole company. Founded in 2003, MyNewsdesk grew successfully for many years by a combination of product development, broadening its offering, and acquiring other companies. And, primarily, by expanding to new markets. But in 2019, at €20M, growth began to stall. Yikes. So, what do you do when that happens?

“The short answer was to revisit everything. Challenge everything. Kill your darlings. And that was what we did,” says Louise. 

This “reboot” resulted in MyNewsdesk closing down four offices and downscaling the company by 25 percent. Resources were reallocated to product development, to build a strong foundation and product offering: one that was scalable and could be replicated when going into new markets. A new CTO was recruited, and given clear KPIs and objectives like Time to Market, Developer Happiness, and Futur-proofing the platform. Markets were carefully selected, and MyNewsdesk chose to focus on the Nordics and Germany, to prove the profitability and business case. 

Louise’s advice to SaaS companies in need of a reboot:

  • Dare to challenge everything.
  • Start by revisiting and analyzing your product-market fit thoroughly. Who are you targeting? Who’s problems are we solving?
  • Dig into and analyze your customer base. Go back to basics, to really understand your ICP.
  • Identify inconsistencies between your product offering and ICP to eliminate inefficiencies in sales and marketing.
  • Don’t compromise on innovation. Invest in data-engineering and data science. 
  • Use consultants to facilitate change and challenge yourself, but trust inhouse competence to do the work.
  • Invest in your culture.