Elev-8 Performance: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!
In our previous blog, two founding members of business performance experts Elev-8 told the story of how their company came to life during one of the most uncertain periods in British business history – the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here, Miranda Cain and Rob Clarke discuss the mindset required to make bold business moves such as theirs, and their top tips for achieving success against the odds.
Ben Clarke, Elev-8 Performance’s Director of Growth, had been told that launching a brand-new business when others were facing a future of uncertainty, or even closure, was reckless and impossible.
But doubters and detractors didn’t account for the power of having the right team of people in place, and for the eight professionals behind Elev-8 Performance, the conditions were just right.
“Back last year, the responses from other businesses to what we were doing often leaned towards incredulity,” explains Rob
“Looking at what we’ve done with seemingly no previous experience, we’ve managed to learn and be agile in our thinking, but I wouldn’t necessarily have felt safe to do that with a different group of people.”
Miranda Cain, Elev-8’s Managing Director, was also keen to ensure that any rocky start due to the trying times facing the entire world be mitigated by having a clear vision of what they wanted for the business and the individuals behind it.
“Quantity over quality was always something that jarred with us in our previous roles, so we agreed this was not about building a multi-million-pound enterprise – but a business that would sustain us financially."
“Financial stability is a key goal, but only in as much as it allows us to get back to living a good quality of life and not working 80 hours a week.”
“One of the big things for us, while launching in the middle of the pandemic, was to resist the urge that many organisations caved into, which was ‘just go broader’. That often results in a massive diversification of offering.
“There’s a huge risk, particularly for a new business, that you can be seen as a jack-of-all-trades. Then, when you’re talking to a target client, they don’t know what it is you do because you haven’t shown any deep credibility in any areas.
“One of the things we did was to say: OK – what do we genuinely believe we do better than anyone else, and where does our previous experience give us an edge over competitors?”
So what other advice would the Elev-8 Performance pair offer in terms of starting a successful company – not just during difficult periods, but in general?
For Miranda, a key point is not to “coast” when you think the company is in good shape. “You can have a really good week, then the next you get a disappointing piece of news. So it’s up and down, and it’s going to be that way for a while. You have to realise and accept it.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway! One of our values is about bravery – I don’t think anything worth having comes easily.
“There’s not a day in the week when you’re not faced with some sort of challenge, and your mindset is key. If you see that challenge as insurmountable – then you’re right, it will be.
“But if you look at the same challenge, and think: right, how are we going to navigate this because failure isn’t an option – then your mindset largely determines the outcome. Otherwise, you’ll always find a way to talk yourself out of doing it.”
Rob, meanwhile, warns strongly against living with the regret of your decisions.
“All the pragmatic reasons about why you shouldn’t try something new get muted when you say, ‘but I really want to give it a go’. A phrase I appreciate is ‘we’re not saving lives, so what’s the worst that could happen?’.
“I know that the worst-case scenario isn’t the end of the world. I’ve seen the end of the world before, in my personal life, and a business giving it a go and not working out, well, that wouldn’t be it.”