Kevin Bell

Pivot Your Business Like Slack Did

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Kevin Bell

I was sitting at my desk at work, with a thousand yard stare into my computer.

You know that look when someone is looking at something but not actually looking at something. That’s the thousand yard stare.

I had just had the realization that the business model we had poured so much time, energy and money into, was not the model we needed to use.

It was on a Monday morning that this became extremely clear to me.

I was standing in the middle of a park that I had just driven 45 min to with two extremely excited little girls ready to play and make memories with their dad… and I was no more 25% present during that whole time.

I was putting out fires and bending over backwards for a client that had yet to pay anything and was being extremely high maintenance.

I had even told my team before hand that I couldn’t make the Zoom meeting…

But there I was on my phone walking around the park to find the best service, while talking loud enough yo be heard over the giggles of joy in the background from the kids at the park. Two of them being mine… I hoped…

“I should probably keep my eyes on them” I thought.

It was at this very moment when I realized that everyone in my company AND my home was suffering from the business model I had built.

My team had to deal with Mr. High Maintenance, I had to deal with him, and my kids by default had to deal with him. Not directly of course, instead, they just got 1/4 of their dad for the morning.

I appeared to be “there”, but I really wasn’t. Lots of “uh-huh”, “good job babe” and the classic “wow! You’re amazing…” but nothing with any substance.

I was ashamed of myself, but too busy to even feel it at that time.

So there I was, sitting at my computer the next day racking my brain on what the pivot needed to look like.

I kept mulling over and over in my head a quote that I had just listened to John Lee Dumas say, as he quoted Einstein

“Strive not to be a success, but to be of value”.

But what value? How? What’s missing? How can we ADD TO the market and not TAKE ADVANTAGE OF the market??

Then, in the midst the swirling thoughts in my head like the dude from A Beautiful Mind, it hit me.

I literally had goosebumps with the thought.

It became clear in that very moment where the value could be added.

I began writing it down feverishly.

More and more poured out into my notes. I could barely stand it!

I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up thinking about it. I knew we needed to change things up.

The IDEA itself isn’t what’s important here.

But the PIVOT is.

There is a lot that can be said about knowing when to change things up.

To realize WHEN things just aren’t working as they need to be and something has to give.

It’s hard to wrap your mind around straying from the path you’ve been on. Maybe even a path that you’ve made some good money on.

But is this the RIGHT path at this time?

Often times we get tunnel vision and locked into the end result that we have wanted from the very beginning.

And while we want to be focused and not chase shiny objects — as founders, owners, CEOs, we need to be agile and open minded to the possibility of our next steps being ones we didn’t initially plan.

Take the business communication platform Slack, for example; they originally began as an online multiplayer gaming company. Ultimately that wasn’t successful and was being shut down.

In an effort to save the company, they pivoted by marketing the internal system they had been using as a team to communicate in the development of the project. And Slack as we know it, was born.

The pivot you need to make might be right in front of your face like it was with Slack.

It might be a system you have in place to source leads, or even a specifically designed Excel sheet that acts as your internal CRM.

It might be the SOPs that you have developed over time for your recruiting, hiring or training process. OR even the team itself is it’s own business that you could hire out.

Other times, however, you might have to dig a little bit deeper to find that pivot.

You might actually have to turn your entire business model upside down.

Instead of B2C maybe you need to be B2B.

The point I’m trying to make here is that your longevity and success are partially dependent on your ability to keep an open mind for opportunities of when and where you’ll need to pivot.

When you finally feel like you’ve “arrived” or reached that magical success level you want, it will look nothing like you imagine today. But that shouldn’t stop you. It’ll be worth it.

#Success #business building #entrepreneur #entrepreneur brain dump