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Finding Your Sweet Spot

May 16th, 2018

By Casey Cavell

Many of you are probably much like me. I once thought my path would lead in one direction only to find out that there was a much more fulfilling detour. In fact, you may be in a similar position now, staring at crossroads wondering what to do.

As I write this article in May 2018, a decade has passed since I decided to leave the game of baseball. It was my dream to play in the big leagues, making a living playing the game. I loved it, I was good at it, and I knew it was possible to make money doing it. Unfortunately, my work ethic outmatched my God-given talent, and making a career in the game wasn’t in the cards.

After playing for two years at NAIA powerhouse Goshen College (I call it the Florida State of the north…joking), I attempted to complete my degree at Purdue University; however, I didn’t have any interest in the classes that I was taking. During this time, though, I read a great book called Good to Great.

In Chapter five, the book discusses a thing called the “hedgehog concept.” If you feel you might not be operating in your sweet spot, a place that you love to work in, I encourage you to read that particular chapter. In it, the author states that the key things you need to find in your profession are:

  • What you are deeply passionate about
  • What you can be the best in the world at
  • What drives your economic engine

The key to business, maybe even life, is trying to operate in your hedgehog concept. If you can find a way to operate and spend 70% of your time working on your hedgehog concept, you will enjoy your life and career to the fullest extent.
What’s Your Hedgehog?

Let me share with you how I ended up answering my questions in hopes of getting you to answer yours.

  1. What are you deeply passionate about?

If you could wake up and just do one thing, what do you love doing? It is something that when you are doing it, it does not feel like work. That is what you are truly passionate about.

For me, it was about building things, creating things, and fixing things. That’s what I loved doing. Anything that I could build, make or improve, I wanted to do it. Also, I loved solving problems to make things happen (getting stuff done) and was passionate about helping others get the most out of whatever it was they were passionate about.

Even though I knew what I passionate about, without answering the next couple questions, it was hard to form any conclusions.

  1. What can you be the best in the world at?

What can you be the best at? If you looked at all the three questions, you have to answer to find your sweet spot; baseball was my first pick. I was passionate about it, wanted to be the best in the world, and knew I could make money doing it.

However, the moment I knew I couldn’t be the best in the world at it, I had to move on and find something else. Then, I had to figure out what I did want to be the best in the world at.

This statement might sound pretty shallow, but early on in my career, I was making enough money to live the lifestyle I saw others that I admired living, having the time and resources (money included) to live a life that allowed me to pursue things outside of my profession that I enjoyed.

When I looked at people that were able to do that, I saw that most of the time they owned or ran companies, leaders in business, and, in my case, people who turned around businesses that were struggling. So that’s what I decided to do, I decided to be the best person in the world at turning around underperforming businesses.

Even if turning around underperforming business was what I wanted to be the best at, and if it was something that I was deeply passionate about, I had to answer that question. Because if you want to be the best in the world at it, you need to be passionate about it. Why? It takes a lot of work, and if you are not passionate about it, you are going to burn out.

  1. What drives your economic engine?

Now, if you are passionate about it, want to be the best in the world at, but you can’t make money doing it (what drives your economic engine), it might be tough. Money at the end of the day isn’t the answer. It won’t make you happy, but it can allow you to pursue things you enjoy and gives you the ability to allow others to do the same.

Then, I needed to know if fixing problems/creating things, along with turning around underperforming businesses would drive my economic engine and allow me to pursue my other passions. So, I studied other people who had successfully benefited from becoming the best in the world at helping small businesses operate better, and realized that I could make money doing it.

My Hedgehog Concept

1. I am deeply passionate about helping small businesses get healthy and gain traction.

2. I won’t say I am the best, but our company is striving to be one of the best companies at providing small business owners with operational strategies to accelerate growth, run efficiently and create margin.

3. We have been fortunate to be financially successful by following our proven process.

We use an operating system in all the companies we work with called the Entrepreneurial Operating System®. Recently, I had a chance to meet the company’s founder, and he explained their model, what he called the EOS life. Here is how he explained it:

  1. Doing what I love
  2. With People I love
  3. Making an Impact
  4. Being Compensated Appropriately
  5. Time for Other Passions

If you look at each of those five items, they are pretty close to the hedgehog concept.

Finding Strengths and Weaknesses

For several years, our company focused on buying, then, fixing underperforming real estate businesses. We focused on apartment buildings and self-storage facilities that often lacked the systems, processes, and people to fulfill the business potential. Often, we were buying a business that was operating at 50-60% of their potential.

I walked into these businesses and was able to identify the problems that existed and provide solutions to those problems. Solutions that when implemented would result in additional revenue, minimized expenses, and increased value.

We found that our operational model identified six key areas where businesses must have strengths in to be successful. By finding out which areas needed help, we could then implement strategic plans to correct those issues and execute it.

The Six Key Components

If your business is strong in each of these six key components, it will be healthy:

  1. Vision
  2. Data
  3. Process
  4. People
  5. Issues
  6. Traction

A Success Story

After successfully tackling the real estate space, I wanted to find a business that I could make not only successful but also significant. In 2011, I invested in an underperforming all-sports academy in Atlanta, Ga. The academy was struggling to fulfill the vision, process, and people components.

On day one, we created a compelling vision that others wanted to follow. Next, we made sure we had the right people on the bus and that they were in the right seat, doing what they loved and were gifted at.

To make sure that we could be the best at the services the business provided, we picked a verify specific niche, only baseball and softball. Then, we became the best in, what I would say, the world at providing top-notch instruction to baseball and softball players in Atlanta. Our first location was a multi-million dollar operation, and after a couple of years, we expanded to a total of five locations in the metro-Atlanta area.

It was a great business that was not only successful but also significant because we built up leaders in the organization who served our customers and community. Each week, we held Bible studies and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with customers and staff.

Plus, we were able to help professional baseball players transition from a professional playing career to becoming a business professional that still allowed them to be involved in the game of baseball.

It was a great business that left an impact that would far outlast this work.

What Now

I am still involved in the baseball and softball academies as a minority owner; however, I have transitioned my passion to serving small businesses that generate $1 million to $4 million in revenue. Why? I know how tough it is to run businesses that are in that niche. When the systems you need are nonexistent, it is hard to keep great people in the organization and balance family life and personal life outside of the business.

Thankfully, when one of my companies was in that range, I brought on a strategic partner to help me scale the business. That move allowed me to build a company that allowed me to operate fully in my hedgehog concept. I was able to wake up each day and focus on what I did best, and I simply delegated the rest.

The challenge that I see with some business owners is that they are so busy working in their business that they can’t work on it. That’s what our company does now. We help liberate Visionary entrepreneurs who are at a point where they realize they need someone’s help to break through the ceiling that’s holding them back.

It has been a blessing to have been operating in my hedgehog concept for nearly a decade. Our business is both a service and a ministry so that we have a lasting impact with significance. I am passionate about helping other entrepreneurs succeed, and at Legacy 4:12 we put people first, doing our best to serve them.

What’s Next for You

Find your hedgehog concept!

Answer these questions first.

  1. What are you deeply passionate about?
  1. What can you be the best in the world at?
  1. What drives your economic engine?

Feel free to reach out and contact me at Casey@Legacy412.com as I am more than happy to add value to you any way that I can.

To connect with Casey on LinkedIn, click here.

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