OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
The legendary Scottish poet Robbie Burns wrote, in old Scots Brogue, “The best laid schemes o’ mice ‘n men, gang aft a-gley.” The Scots brogue was the British equivalent of Cajun French. In English we’ve translated it as, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Burns frequently wrote about innocent country creatures. Especially the way their lives can be impacted by the forces of our world - without them even being aware of our existence. By extension, Burns was talking about us. How we, like the innocent creatures of the countryside, go about our lives with the best of intentions but somehow – and we don’t necessarily know why – things just don’t turn out how we planned.
When that happens in business we’ve invented an upbeat word for it. Pivot. For example, if you’re selling widgets to companies that dig oil wells and the oil business collapses, you might want to pivot and figure out a way to sell those widgets to companies that dig swimming pools. That kind of pivot is pretty straight forward.
Aileen's guests on today’s show are dealing with pivoting businesses in ways in which there are no simple answers. No well-worn paths to tread. And very little wisdom to follow.
Tyler Woerner started his company in 2007. He called it Pixelbrush. It was a website company that designed, built and maintained websites. By 2016, Tyler had learned that he had actually started, and was trying to run, three companies. It turns out that website design, website building, and website maintenance are three very different businesses. And when you get successful, they require three very different types of people to run them.
So Tyler pivoted. Now Pixelbrush is three different companies. Daysite. Eight Hats. And a new alignment with an existing company, Bizzuka.
Christiaan Mader is a talented Lafayette-based writer and journalist. You’ve probably read Christiaan’s work in IND Magazine and in A-Biz.
2017 had already been a big year for Christiaan. He won the Louisiana Press Association’s Freedom of Information Award - the highest prize that the association confers - and he was named Managing Editor of a new magazine called The Current. Then, later in 2017, the company that owned IND magazine, Abiz, and The Current went out of business. Leaving Christiaan more or less pivoting in the wind.
Being a print journalist in the 21st Century is not for the faint of heart.