Entrepreneurship is like an endurance sport, requiring not just skill but also grit and unwavering perseverance. In this episode, Kiley Peters is joined by Steven Pivnik, an entrepreneur, Ironman athlete and freshly-minted author. Together, they dive into the valuable lessons Steven shares from his entrepreneurial and endurance sport experiences.
Over 26 years, Steven’s business expanded to include 200 employees across 12 countries. After exiting, Steven shares some of his biggest lessons. Steven emphasizes the importance of seizing opportunities in business, sharing how an initially unexciting project evolved into a major revenue stream. He stresses the importance of staying alert and willing to take risks in the ever-changing landscape of entrepreneurship.
A crucial element of Steven's business philosophy is the integration of enjoyment in the work environment. He believes that maintaining a fun, positive atmosphere is key to long-term business success, enhancing customer satisfaction and strengthening team dynamics. Reflecting on his business strategy, Steven advocates focusing on recurring revenue and the value of experienced advisors. He also touches on the importance of being open to outside investment and the tough decisions required for business growth.
Steven's book, "Built to Finish: How to Go the Distance in Business and in Life," delves into the synergy between the persistence needed in both endurance sports and business. Sharing personal experiences, he offers actionable strategies for success in these challenging arenas. His key message to entrepreneurs is to embrace fun, seize opportunities, and surround themselves with knowledgeable professionals for sustained success.
“We always shied away from bringing on outside capital. We were very proud that we were bootstrapped and didn't have to give away any equity to other investors. So it ended up working out well, because when I finally had the exit, I got to keep 100 percent. I mean, except for the employee stock options and other folks that got compensated. There weren't any investors that got a piece of that pie. So that worked out well at the end. But had there been professional investors in the company earlier on, we would have grown faster and we would have realized exit a lot quicker than 26 years. Again, no regrets, but just a lesson.” (12:03 | Steven Pivnik)
“Most founders think they know it all. Nobody can run this business better than I can. That is not true. There are people that are out there that have a track record and the experience of accomplishing exactly what you want accomplished. So it may be very expensive, but he or she is worth their weight in gold.” (15:10 | Steven Pivnik)
“When you have the right people in the right role, it's amazing how much smoother things become.” (17:31 | Steven Pivnik)