By Andrew Walker, CEO of Shift7
I generally find that my years follow a theme. 2018 was the year of getting my hands dirty and building a foundation.
Everything I did last year, personally and professionally, was about taking risks in the name of setting a foundation to make things smoother in the future. 2018 was both taxing and fun, challenging and exciting. I knew everything I did served a greater purpose, but it was sometimes difficult in the moment.
The most significant challenge I faced last year was facilitating a successful rebrand of Shift7 Digital.
This was a decision that pushed every single person in the company to our limits; we were facing tight deadlines, with new obstacles every day. Ultimately, though, it differentiated us in a saturated industry and was the main reason our company saw so much success last year. The rebrand truly set the foundation for our future success.
We’ve refocused our energy to be entirely on B2B manufacturing clients; we trained our sales team to be hungry, hunting, and delivery-focused. We’ve seen enormous success, ultimately winning 22 new clients, blowing our own expectations out of the water.
This was a risk that, as CEO, challenged me. I am extremely fortunate to have a team that is genuinely excited about the work that we’re doing and the clients we’re working with, but change is scary in any organization. It shifts our stability for a bit. I tasked myself with keeping spirits high during a turbulent time. It paid off; we had an all around awesome ad profitable year, with our Shifters showing a revival of commitment to the brand.
However, as successful as 2018 was, it was difficult because I was being pulled in a thousand different directions. I knew I needed to be extremely hands-on in order to build a solid enough foundation for me to step away.
And now I’m ready to step away.
In 2019, the theme will be FOCUS.
Our entire rebrand was built around our hypothesis that the Manufacturing marketplace is ripe for digital transformation, and going deep on that hypothesis is our emphasis in the business right now. I believe we’re going to go further and attract the right clients by focusing on the one thing we want to be known for: bringing digital transformation to manufacturing. I have no interest in trying to be everything to everyone, and I’m excited to go deep.
I’m also ready to step away from some of my daily responsibilities. I don’t have to be so hands-on anymore, because I have an incredible leadership team. I want to empower others to make the important decisions. Because of the energy we’ve invested into this leadership team, I know they’re more than capable of continuing to drive Shift7 forward. They’re amped about the roles and assignments they have. Personally, I can’t wait to witness what I know will be an explosive year.
I’m ready for an incredible 2019. Are you?