Don't Make Yourself Comfortable Remember your pals in high school--the ones who wrote "Don't ever change!" in your yearbook? For your business' sake, forget them.
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When Peter Carlisle first started representing athletes in hissports law practice back in 1995, things were fairlystraightforward. With a focus on sports like baseball and soccer,the Portland, Maine, entrepreneur and attorney just didn't givemuch thought to anything nontraditional. But when droves of Gen Ykids around the country started trading in their bats and cleatsfor snowboards and skateboards, Carlisle couldn't ignore theopportunity: "I figured that within a relatively short periodof time, I could establish a pretty secure position within this newand burgeoning industry."
Indeed, a little research on Carlisle's part revealed thatGen Y's spending power and influence on music and sports-andthe potential for growth within those sectors-was far greater thanhe could have imagined. And with the door wide open for thoseentrepreneurs representing extreme athletes, Carlisle took thelead: In 1997 (a year after snowboarding became an official Olympicsport), he abandoned his law practice in favor of sports managementand began recruiting extreme athletes, and Carlisle SportsManagement emerged.
Carlisle's story might be unique, but his philosophy oughtnot be. In other words, the old "If it ain't broke, whyfix it?" maxim just doesn't fly when it comes to owning abusiness. If you hope to grow beyond breaking even-or even beyondbeing somewhat profitable-don't get too content with yourcurrent business model. Smart entrepreneurs constantly evaluatetheir company's direction, looking for new ways to generaterevenue and capitalize on emerging markets before the competitionknows what hit it.