When I started Broadband Solutions, my roadmap was clear. I wanted to build a company that would connect every single person and every community in Australia through broadband technology. It made sense, and it made me passionate, and I dedicated myself to that goal. The problem with being that laser focused on solving one problem is that you have to avoid limiting or boxing yourself in. A startup cannot ever afford to be too immovable, because when challenges or obstacles appear, if you’re fixed on an endpoint, you won’t be able to stay agile, shift, change and survive. That’s a dangerous position.
For us, the moment where a pivot, an evolution in strategy and a change in direction became crucial was the introduction of the NBN and how that re-organised the landscape of our industry. As soon as that happened, we were in an all-new competition, in a vertical that was colliding with government policy and infrastructure, and with a market that was becoming frustrated, saturated and unable to make buying decisions that could benefit customers, or enable our ongoing growth.
I want to talk about the changes I’ve made to take Broadband Solutions from a simple Internet service provider to a technology company.
We pivoted our product, not our mission.
That goal of connecting people? It’s still at the core of what we do. We haven’t abandoned it just because we’ve moved on in our product approach. When we create or take on a new service or offering, we only do it if it meets that purpose. Whether it’s in our cloud technology or our PBX solutions, it’s still central to our DNA. The problem that some startups encounter when they pivot is that they try to do something completely different to the reason they started in the first place, and they don’t stay true to their mission; it means that neither their customers, their staff or their investors are able to remain aligned with their journey. That’s always dangerous. If you can’t maintain the narrative of your company, you are always going to lose out in the long run.
We looked to what was next, instead of staying with what we knew.
Cloud technology revolutionised tech. And I can say that from personal experience, because we’ve seen the shift first hand over the past fifteen years of Broadband Solutions life. When we first started, there was no such thing as the cloud. We had actual physical servers that ran everything, and it was as clunky and difficult as you can imagine. When everything shifted and the cloud became the next level tech enabler, we didn’t just use it – we pivoted to embrace it as a company, to make it available to our customers and to integrate it with our product suite. Our ongoing ability to pivot hasn’t just been to maintain product market fit, it’s been to stay on the cutting edge of technology.
We are prepared to pivot again and again. Nothing is ever set in stone.
We didn’t pivot once in our history, dust off our hands and say we’re finished. And you shouldn’t either. The point of being ready to pivot is that you can make the shift over and over again as its needed, to stay afloat and keep on thriving. You should always be looking ahead and monitoring your market, industry and field so that you can see the next shifts as they happen and know in advance how you can respond. The goal is to always be able to pivot to disruption, rather than being disrupted.
If we hadn’t made the decision to change our product focus at each point that we identified a pivot need and opportunity, it would have been the death of the company. Years later, that hasn’t happened, and I attribute our success to our ability to always adapt. I couldn’t sit here and describe to you what Broadband Solutions will look like as a company in 5 years’ time, or 10 years’ time. But I can tell you that regardless of the products and services we create, we’ll still be finding ways to build connections, and we’ll be doing it in a way that aligns with every tech and vertical change we see along the way. It’s how we work.
Sam Bashiry is the founder of Broadband Solutions and the host of podcast, From Thousands to Millions. Sam started Broadband Solutions in 2005 with $1000 in savings and a second hand router. The company is now in its fifteenth year with turnover close to $30 million.