Be tenacious and pivot


There’s a big difference between successful business owners, and those who ‘make do’ or fail.

And it all comes down to two things…

The ability to pivot and be tenacious in the face of defeat.

Like the natural world, the business world thrives on survival of the fittest. Being able to adapt to your environment is one of the biggest skillsets you can develop if you want to thrive in the ever- changing business world.

I’ve had over 25 different business in my past, from scooters to buffet restaurants, and it’s the ability to pivot and be tenacious that has lead me to the area in my life I am at now. I run TeeLaunch.com, a successful DTG printer that is consistently growing…

… But it’s not always been that way.

I started my DTG life with the business plan of selling t-shirts to music artists for merchandise that they could sell at their concerts.
So I went on my way, bought a Kornit machine (not a cheap start up expense) and thought this is going to be easy.

First month I sold 300 shirts, nothing to write home about, but it was only 1 month in, I knew it would take some time.

Then the second month passed… then the third.

Before I knew what had hit me, I was a year in… heavily in the red and leaking money quicker then I could fix it with little to no prospects on the line. The group of people that ‘claimed’ they could sell tons of merch if only given the chance and a ‘little credit’ were no where to be found.

So what did I do?

I used my experience from my previous businesses, and pivoted.

We turned our attention to being contract printers for e-commerce websites. Little by little we landed more and more accounts, nothing huge, maybe a couple hundreds shirts a day.

Finally, we got to break even and could afford to hire some employees to GROW the business rather than just ‘surviving’.

But it was rough, super small margins, and with only 3 big customers losing one would put me back in the red.

I didn’t want that. With the competition in the marketplace, resting my whole business on 3 people that could jump ship at any time didn’t seem appealing to me (Or smart)

… So we pivoted again. We saw the potential in Shopify, a new eCommerce start up on the scene.
So we were tenacious and spent every dollar we had left in savings and commissioned the teelaunch app for the Shopify marketplace. It took 2 months, and it launched.

The results were as following;

Day 1 25 shirts sold
Week 1 350 shirts sold

Quicker than I thought possible, people started downloading the app and selling shirts like crazy. After 6 months we now have 1000s of customers and have sold thousands of shirts and are continuing to grow at an amazing rate.

And it’s all down to those two Pivots and the ability to be tenacious in the face of defeat.
After thousands of dollars of losses we could have cut our losses and moved on… but if we had, I wouldn’t have the successful business I am running today that is serving thousands of customers and providing jobs for hundreds of people.

So if there are just two bits of advice I could give you in this short blog post.

Be tenacious – Taking EDUCATED risks is good. That’s our job as an entrepreneur and when it works, it works REALLY well.

Pivot – Rather than cutting your losses and moving on.. PIVOT. There are 1001 different ways to run your business and just because the one you’re using now is failing… doesn’t mean the others will.

As always,

 To YOUR success,

Christopher Hamze