The terms “Flogging a dead horse” and “Success is only just around the corner” spring to mind when talking about this concept, articulated by Eric Ries in his New York bestseller “The Lean Startup”.
In your business as well as your everyday life, how do you know when to “give up”? Or, if you do change direction or quit, were you JUST about to make that breakthrough or success you worked so hard for? What if you are achieving moderate success and therefore if you quit it would prove embarrassing or would lose you the moderate income you are used to. What if, on the surface, you are highly successful, but actually you are unhappy, stressed and working 60 hours per week just to keep the ‘success’ going.
When do you Pivot? And when do you Persevere?
What does it mean to pivot? To pivot is to change direction, drop something that isn’t working, and take one area or your whole business in a different direction. Most of the time you would take some of the past version with you. Sometimes you lose the past version altogether.
A great example is a tech company started by Dan Carroll, a well-known name in silicon valley, in 2007. In it’s original form it was called “kaChing” and was a online “fantasy league” for amateur investors, designed to spot good investors. They built a sophisticated system, but customers found the concept confusing and didn’t buy in. The team decided they couldn’t persevere as it existed and decided to celebrate what had been achieved up to this date, but make a pivot. They abandoned the gaming concept and instead focused on creating a platform for amateur investors. On the surface, the pivot seemed quite dramatic, a new company name, new branding and discarding a lot of the system that they had built, but underneath a surprising amount stayed the same. What worked in the system became the core that everything new was built around. The company (now called Wealthfront) is now a leader in the field.
If the team hadn’t had started in the first place they would never have had the knowledge and core system that they then built upon.
Another example in The Lean Startup is the online Voters platform Votizen. It took 4 huge pivots to drag it to the success that founder and CEO David Binetti had visioned, each pivot building on the previous versions successes.
The interesting fact is that, every time he decided to pivot, it took less time than his last pivot. Of the 4 major pivots, the first took 12 months, the second six months, the third took four months and the last pivot took only a month to put into place.
This can be attributed to 2 things. Firstly, the structure and business allowed for a pivot and adapted easier each time. Each change built upon the things that were great about the business and discarded the things that didn’t work. With each pivot there was less to discard and more opportunity to build on what worked.
The second observation is that, the decisions became easier to make, as the decision to pivot had been made previously. The team even brought the ‘pivot or persevere’ concept into their strategic meetings, something that Eric Reis recommends that every business do.
The dictionary’s definition of perseverance is “doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.
A client of mine regularly pivots in her business and on reflection feels that she may have recently made too many. She feels compelled to pivot as she is haunted by the alternative of persevering.
Her dad had a 30-year career working for the same company, with the promise of becoming the first person ever to go from being the apprentice to a director in the 100 year history of the company. After years of blood sweat and tears his final promotion was due. He prepared to become director and enjoy has last years with the company before retiring. The board of directors then decided to promote the boss’s son instead. His hopes, as well as his pride was completely crushed and my client is haunted by the memory of the only time she’d ever seen him break down in tears.
Years of persevering did not bring him to where he wanted to be and the worst thing was that he had no control over the future he’d planned for himself.
What happened to him didn’t have to force him to make a pivot in his life; he could have continued to work for that company. Maybe he might have eventually got the directors role that he was promised. But the pivot he made took his life in a better direction than he could ever have imagined.
An entrepreneur approached him to work as partners. With his engineering background and keen project management skills they start a competing firm. I’m sure you will agree that someone that has been an employee for 30 years starting a business of his own is completely daunting, but he partnered up with the right person. He pivoted at completely the right time, not through choice but nevertheless formed part of the team that, after a couple of pivots of their own, built a company that now turns over in excess of £2million per year. He now has the directorship that he wanted and even better, is working hard for his own company, not someone else’s.
The unplanned pivot was the best thing that could have happened to him. How did this happen? Because his new partner heard that he hadn’t got a promotion and saw it as a perfect time to approach him. This is a perfect example of taking what is good from the previous version and leaving behind what didn’t work, which in his case was the company itself!
How does this translate into our personal success? I’d like you to take these 2 steps, in your personal or business life if you like. Take 10 minutes to think about your answers, write them down and build your findings into your plan for success. Just by being aware, will set your subconscious mind the task of resolving any issues holding you back.
1. Are you a pivot-er or a persevere-er?
Take a moment to think about some pivots and perseverance’s that have led you closer to success, or away from success. Think about how you could have changes your thinking to get a better outcome.
[A classic perseverance is staying in a marriage for too long, out of fear that you will be more unhappy out of it that you are miserable in it!]
I’d like you to think about your life or business, what’s holding you back from that next step of success. What is stopping you? Is it your thinking? What’s the ‘barrier’? Did something spring into your mind while reading this article? That’s probably what your unconscious mind needs to be analysed further.
2. Write down 2 things that are holding you back you right now and then ask yourself the question – Pivot or Persevere?
What we can take from this silicon valley concept:
1. If we want to do something, we need to make a start. Imperfect action will teach you more than no action ever will.
2. It’s not a failure if we have strategically decided to pivot! Start making the changes needed and each time it will be less painful and achieve more in less time.
3. Its ok to pivot and its equally ok to persevere, we just need to know our reasons for doing so.
With more people doing freelance work, working for themselves or working in small business startups, there are more people than ever without an office space in the traditional sense. This means a lot of people have begun working from home, or from cafes and libraries, or whatever suits them. However, what if you are someone who finds a more social atmosphere is the most productive? Many people gain enjoyment from a more traditional office environment, and find it to be the most beneficial way to work easily without the potential distractions of home or a public area.
The term “coworking” was first launched in 1999, by Brian DeKoven. He coined it as a description of an environment that facilitated collaborative work and business meetings. Then, in the same year, one of the first coworking studios opened in New York City, called 42 West 24, although it had been open long before the term became popular. Then, in the UK, the first official coworking space wasn’t opened until January 2005 in London. However, “coworking” only became popular in March 2007, when it was trending on Google Search. Soon afterwards, in October 2007, it was listed as a term on Wikipedia.
Since then, coworking has only expanded in popularity and many offices designed purely for coworking have been founded. It is easy to understand why the demand for coworking spaces has developed so rapidly, as there are many positives to working in such an environment. However, you can’t undertake an organic Google Search of the term without finding a few horror stories about the negatives to coworking. The pros easily outweigh the cons on this one, though.
In starting up your own business, or working for yourself beneficially, it is paramount to create connections and utilise networking in order to succeed. This is one of the main benefits and positives of a coworking environment – everyone you meet and work with is a potential network connection, or even a client for your business. Through coworking, you meet dozens of people simply through working alongside them during your normal day. Whereas, if you were working alone, it would be more difficult to connect with new people and potential clients.
Asides from the networking factor, the people you work with in a coworking space can benefit you and your business in another way. It is proven that working with people who are likeminded and similarly creatively driven would help enhance those skills in you. Ideas people thrive in a situation where you can bounce ideas off others, as it creates a more stimulating environment. Other people and businesses are willing to help you out in a coworking environment, and often an exchange of services can be given. For example, a website designing business may work in the same coworking space as a marketing business, and they could compliment each other by exchanging certain online services.
In a coworking office space, there is an existing sense of community. This creates a certain feeling of belonging, which you wouldn’t necessarily get from working alone or at home. Your coworking colleagues become your friends, as well as associates, which is one of the most enjoyable factors about traditional office work. It also creates the opportunity to still participate in work events, such as Christmas parties or get-togethers.
A particular main feature of working in this refreshing coworking environment is that most coworking spaces are often very forward in their attitudes towards work, and constantly trying to improve and finding new ways to produce results. This means that you will often find coworking organisations that host events and seminars, which are designed to host new ideas and inventions, as well as showcase up and coming business ventures. These events provide you with the opportunity to learn new things and discover interesting projects, which can lead to growth within your own business and create innovative ideas for ways to improve.
Working hard at the Indycube Tondu office!
As with most things, there are downsides – yet, as much as I have asked around for ideas and Google Searched my way through the topic of coworking, there aren’t a lot of cons to create an equal balance to the positives. However, the one recurrent negative to a coworking space seems to be the noise levels, particularly when someone appears to be persistently too loud. Sometimes, if a space is too noisy or crowded, it can become difficult to concentrate and work to the best of your ability. This one works on respect, though; if everyone in the office understood the necessity to keep the noise level at an acceptable level, then there wouldn’t be a problem.
Another potential negative, slightly related to the first point, is that other people can sometimes be a distraction. It is easy to get sidetracked from working by getting involved in conversations with your fellow coworking friends, but that is possible in every job, and you must maintain a level of focus in your work. In a coworking office space, it is possible to listen to music through your headphones, for example, and often the office will have the radio on in the background (at the workers’ discretions).
The only remaining negative I uncovered is the feature of messiness in a coworking environment. This is definitely one of those office complaints in every work area. There are countless jokes online about sarcastic and passive aggressive signs above kitchen sinks, in regards to the doubtless dirty dishes waiting to be washed. This is something that can’t easily be avoided in any work office space situation, as you may often find yourself guilty of slacking off your cleaning duties when there’s work waiting! A factor that’s similar and does relate to coworking spaces, however, is the concern with who provides the general amenities, such as toilet paper, washing up liquid, milk and teabags. Each coworking office space is different, but in general it is the facilitator of the particular space who takes care of those things, but it would be important to check.
Cowork with us today! #epic
Yet, despite those certain points, one of the main positives of a coworking environment is that it creates freedom for you and your business. The hours are far more flexible than in a typical nine-to-five office job, and, if you work for yourself, you can pick certain days to work in the coworking space and other days you can work from home – whatever suits you! The point of a coworking environment is to be flexible and help each business succeed in their individual way.
Ultimately, coworking is all about the people, who become your friends and motivators in your business. The sense of community is paramount, and stimulates your own business growth and improvement. Coworking spaces themselves are all designed with business advancement in mind: the spaces are generally open and designed to enhance productivity in this professional environment. You have the freedom to interact and generate social and professional encounters, or simply choose not to.
Coworking is a far more stimulating environment for freelancers and small businesses, rather than working from home. The interaction and sense of community generates productivity, collaboration and resulting success for everyone involved.
Here at Bright Yellow Creative, we work in a coworking office space as part of a growing business of coworkers called Indycube. There are several workspaces available through Indycube, all throughout South Wales currently. As a Community Interest Company, Indycube is not profit driven, which means you can get ideal, stimulating coworking office space at excellent value! (As little as £10 a day!)
The particular office where Bright Yellow is located is Indycube Tondu, which is perhaps the smallest of the Indycube offices, and actually (handily) located in a pub! The coworking office space is brilliant, and full of interesting, likeminded people who can all exchange ideas and stimulus – as well as partake in a minor cheeky gossip about last night’s television. Indycube Tondu is the ideal creative atmosphere to encourage your business’ growth and success, so if you are interested, then try it out for a day!
You can find all of the necessary information about Indycube Tondu here, as well as information about our fabulous facilitator and Indycube associate anchor, Emma Jones!
You can also find other available Indycube office spaces, on the website here – as well as the official blog, Twitter accounts and news features!
Join our community – Come and cowork with us today!