I’ve pivoted my company before, but nothing like what I am currently going through. When I started my marketing agency, it was a service-provider. Years later, it pivoted into a consulting agency. Now, I’m in the middle of another pivot — transitioning into a brand umbrella.
So, I’ve gone from providing online marketing services to other businesses, to consulting with in-house marketing teams, to now creating e-commerce brands and marketing them exclusively. While it’s exciting, it’s also put me in an extremely overwhelming position — dealing with multiple ventures, all of which need my time and focus.
I’ve met a lot of great people in the marketing world, and have a circle of agency owners that I communicate with on a regular basis. We discuss industry news, strategies and just life in general. One of my contacts who knows what I’m doing and how I’ve been operating with a higher stress level than normal, offered to connect me with someone he felt could be a good mentor.
Lindsay Rosenwald currently serves as the CEO of Fortress Biotech, along with being involved in several other companies and projects. Rosenwald has had a previous company acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $1 billion-dollars, as well, so I welcomed the opportunity to connect with him.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve picked Rosenwald’s brain and expressed my concerns related to spreading myself too thin and putting too many projects on my plate. There are five points that Rosenwald stressed, and I’ve highlighted them below, as they apply to any situation involving more than one business venture.
1. Truly love the projects you are involved with.
One thing really stood out during my talks with Rosenwald: his emphasis on truly loving what you do. Now, entrepreneurs hear this a lot, but it has merit.
When you are juggling several different ventures, you need to have a genuine love for each, or you will neglect the ones that aren’t true passion projects. It’s almost like a relationship — without love, it begins to crumble and becomes a complete waste of time.
2. Make productivity a top priority as you have limited time daily for each venture.
Managing multiple business ventures is a lot like juggling balls — if you slow down and lose momentum, you eventually drop the ball. One thing that Rosenwald stressed was the true value of the time we have each day.
It doesn’t matter if you are a new entrepreneur attempting to bootstrap your first company or a seasoned pro with multiple seven-figures businesses in your portfolio. We all get 24-hours in each day and not a second more.
My biggest concern going into my latest pivot is how I’m going to effectively oversee the development, manufacturing, marketing and fulfillment of multiple consumer brands. Being as productive as possible and optimizing my workday will give me the most quality time to devote to each brand.
3. Build the strongest team to operate seamlessly in your absence.
Rosenwald credits his team at Fortress Biotech for the company’s success, and really engraved in my head the importance of putting the strongest people in each position, across every brand. There was no sugarcoating it — he said no matter how great each venture’s potential was, a weak team would ensure its failure.
One of the most eye opening aspects about the team’s importance was in respect to an acquisition. Rosenwald suggested that I do whatever it took to assemble the right people after learning 5-year plan, explaining that the team in place is a major deciding factor when a company is considering pulling the trigger on an acquisition play. It can make or break the deal.
When your ventures can operate without you present, their values are ten-fold.
4. Evaluate the time and energy commitment before adding a new business venture.
Entrepreneurs are a very confident bunch, and often think they can bite off more than they can chew. I was guilty of this in the beginning, and I wasn’t successful because I was trying to do too much.
Now, I have a good understanding of what I can and cannot realistically take on, and you really need to evaluate every opportunity on a case-by-case basis, as they all have varying levels of commitment requirements in terms of energy and time.
Rosenwald showed me that I need to slow down in order to get to my end goal faster. I have more than a dozen consumer brands past the early development stage, but if I went 100 percent forward with each one at the same time, it would be a complete disaster. There’s just no way I could effectively distribute my time between them all.
5. Always understand the worst-case scenario when entertaining partnerships or joint-ventures.
New business ventures often come with co-founders, partnerships or a joint-venture arrangement. It sounds good in the beginning, but if something goes wrong, you need to be fully aware of what can and will happen in a worst-case scenario.
In my situation, I was approached by a manufacturer that presented what appeared to be a very attractive deal, which would see us partner up on the creation of a new consumer brand. It all sounded great until Rosenwald knocked me back to reality and pointed out all of the potential hiccups that could cause the relationship to become not so happy.
You have to always think about the what-ifs — while not certain, they are possible. After really understanding the worst-case scenarios, it made me revert to my initial stance — only creating brands that are 100 percent owned by the company.