If you are struggling in any way with your business, I want to share some thoughts that I hope you will find encouraging.
I first read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point” within a month or so of when it came out in 2000. I decided it was time for a second read recently.
Wikipedia gives the following overview of the book:
“Tipping points are “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.” Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term: “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” The book seeks to explain and describe the “mysterious” sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.””
The Tipping Point For Entrepreneurs
Something happened to me today which made me realize there is a definite tipping point for entrepreneurs. This tipping point can be manifested in any number of ways.
I was talking with one of my business partners. We had spent several hours looking at reports compiled by 2 staff members for a long, ongoing project. A lot of data. He lamented to me that it was unfortunate that we have no use for a lot of the research done and it’s too bad we couldn’t turn around and sell it since it would be of use to others.
Within 30 minutes, we figured out a way to package the research. An hour after the initial conversation, we talked again and had figured out a slant on how to target the marketing of it in such a way that there is currently no competition. We spent 5 minutes calculating pricing. We determined that we’d be looking at an income stream of somewhere between $60,000 and $120,000 over the next year for perhaps an extra hour of work between us each week (and a few hours a week of staff support time). We worked out a few ways that would get us the traffic we needed to reach the income objective. Two hours later the site was set-up. After 3 hours of additional work, we were in position to market it.
I’ve always seen myself as someone who creates businesses. Sometimes I build to sell. Sometimes I build to keep. I have helped others create businesses and income streams.
A decade ago I created a similar business to the one set-up today. It took 3 months for that to get launched. A year ago, a business of this scope would take taken from 4 to 6 weeks to roll-out.
What changed? What is different today?
I’d like to say that it was a combination of learning, experience and having resources available. But the real tipping point for me was losing fear and self-doubt. All of the rest of it was there before. Fear and self-doubt caused me to slow down.
The funny thing is – I didn’t even try to do anything to get rid of it. But there was tipping point. A simple thing.
Over a year ago, I had a conversation with assistant. I forget the exact conversation but we were talking about something that had happened to me business-wise. She said to me she never ceases to be amazed in what I’m able to do and joked with me that one day I need to write a book called, “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t.” (Ever the entrepreneur, I acquired DontTellMeICant.com.)
Apparently in the 13 years she’s worked for me, she never saw me as having fear or self-doubt. (I am actually laughing as I write this :))
Everything changed from that moment on.
What is Your Tipping Point?
I think that all entrepreneurs have the potential for reaching a tipping point. It’s where something small – that typically happens in a blink of an eye – that result in whatever it takes is finally in place for you to be all that you can be.
It’s where your experience in whatever role you need to assume in your business, your team, your systems, your marketing efforts – the right combination creates a synergistic effect.
For each business and entrepreneur, this tipping point will come at a different place and different time. Like many of the examples Gladwell shares in “The Tipping Point,” it can often be a single small thing that results in a domino effect.
I think that for most of us, we can’t know what we need exactly to happen to reach the tipping point. I didn’t know. Most entrepreneurs I know of who have reached it didn’t know either. I don’t think it’s something that is directly under our control – at least in most cases.
There are times where self-doubt rears its ugly head for me. I just need to think back to the “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t” conversation and it refocuses me.
P.S. If you’ve read the book and disagree on there being a connection – consider that I’m taking “artistic liberty” in making sense of something. Okay? Thanks!
What do you think? Have you reached the tipping point in your business?