How to Unlock Hidden Opportunities

Success is often staring you right in the face. You might need a different point of view to find it.

IMG_0131 copyIn professional sports, coaches work to unlock every athlete’s hidden potential.

The goal is simple: Put every team member in the best position to perform at the highest level. Finding the most effective techniques, however, often requires a different vantage point.

[Also on Longitudes: Necessity is the Mother of Innovation]

How my business came to life

As a professional tennis coach, I discovered a centuries-old technique that helps smaller players compete with much-larger athletes. The technique taps into the body’s natural rhythm by using a figure-eight motion found throughout nature, from a baby crawling to a hummingbird’s wing pattern.

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I struggled with how to take my business to the next level.

I applied the method to my tennis students and invented the 8-Board, a simple training tool that enables an athlete to develop their body’s natural figure-eight motion. The technique has proven so successful that professional golfers, baseball players, skiers and snowboarders now use it.

I received patents for the figure-eight body motion in athletic settings, as well as the 8-Board’s ball-bearing design. Despite the product’s enormous potential and our demonstrated success, getting my business off the ground was a monumental undertaking.

Like many entrepreneurs, my family’s finances were strained and my time was stretched to the limit. It seemed like UPS drivers were picking up more of our products for delivery every day. Sales were strong, but the business wasn’t sustainable.

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Your business also has tremendous opportunities waiting to be unlocked.

I struggled with how to take my business to the next level. Much like the athletes I coached, I needed the insights and intuition of someone who could unlock my hidden potential. The solution was right in front of me.

[Also on Longitudes: Why Customer Service Begins With Empathy]

How my business survived and thrived 

We had already sold 8-Boards to doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors for physical and occupational therapy. Because I was so focused on sales, I missed the opportunity to transform the company from a niche training product to a global wellness solution.

That aha moment came from one of my customers. Omar Noorzai, a human resources executive, saw my system as an opportunity to efficiently improve employee wellness for office workers. He was quite familiar with wellness challenges in sedentary office environments.

InOfficeAccording to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death globally. It causes an estimated 3.2 million deaths a year. The Annals of Internal Medicine found that “hazard ratios associated with sedentary time and outcomes were generally more pronounced at lower levels of physical activity than at higher levels.”

Omar realized that some of my product’s benefits, though immaterial to professional athletes, were ideal for office settings. Enhanced circulation, for example, won’t improve a tennis player’s serve, but it certainly helps the office worker behind a keyboard eight hours a day.

Omar believed in the opportunity so much that he bought the company, rebranded the product and began selling it to a broader audience. His approach streamlined our sales and distribution process and tightened our supply chain. He positioned the company for the future while giving me the work-life balance that my wife and I desired.

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If you’re solely focused on day-to-day operations, you might miss out on new prospects.

Succeeding as an entrepreneur is dependent upon many factors. Among the most important is unlocking the hidden potential of your product and your management team.

By approaching the business from different perspectives, we transferred a natural rhythm found throughout nature into a product benefitting professional athletes and desk-bound office workers around the world.

Your business also has tremendous opportunities waiting to be unlocked. If you’re solely focused on day-to-day operations, though, you might miss out on new prospects.

Take time to step back and consult with a close group of experts whom you trust – even if they aren’t in your industry. Challenge everybody, including yourself, to look at your business with a fresh perspective and unlock your company’s hidden potential. You might be surprised with what you find.

Such a mindset was the difference between my business never getting off the ground versus growing beyond my wildest dreams. goldbrown2


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Jack Broudy is a professional tennis coach and the senior sports advisor to OMBEE stand-up desks. He holds several device and method patents for balance, coordination and flexibility. Click here to read about The Infinity Movement:

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Reprinted with permission of Longitudes, the UPS blog devoted to the trends shaping the global economy.