Yukon Palmer on How To Bounce Back Stronger in Business
Yukon Palmer is President of FieldLogix and knows what it takes to face challenges in business and bounce back stronger. He took some time out to share his insights with The Industry Leaders.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your journey as an entrepreneur, focusing particularly on your experiences with setbacks and challenges? How has this shaped your understanding and mastery of resilience in business?
I started FieldLogix back during the economic recession of 2002. I've navigated the company through the recession of 2008, the COVID pandemic, the "great resignation" and the economic turbulence of 2020 to 2023. I've learned that it is important to make adjustments to the current economic environment as quickly as possible. I've also learned how important it is to refocus our business development efforts on industries that are less likely to be negatively impacted by economic challenges.
In the world of entrepreneurship, failure is often seen as a stepping stone rather than a dead-end. How do you perceive failure, and can you share an instance where a failure led to an unexpected growth or success in your business?
Failure is always a learning opportunity if you are able to survive it. Back in 2006, we were reselling a partner's software. The software was popular, but the equipment component of the software was unreliable. We were required to spend a considerable amount of money repairing the malfunctioning equipment. Because of this issue, we decided to build our own software, which led to significant revenue growth within a year of its launch.
What strategies have you employed to cultivate a culture of resilience within your organization? How have these strategies made your team more adaptable and innovative, especially during trying times?
Open communication is important to maintaining a culture of resilience. I constantly keep our team apprised of any macroeconomic issues that may impact their work. We also ask our team members to help us identify any potential cost savings opportunities. Open communication and involving our team members in identifying the solutions has always helped to make our team more adaptive and innovative. I also constantly repeat my vision to the team to help us focus the positive outcome of our efforts.
You've spoken about bouncing back from failure, but I'm curious to know if there is a methodology you follow to analyze what went wrong and how to correct it. Could you describe your process for assessing and learning from mistakes?
Often, when we encountered failures, they were due to issues that occurred outside of our control and without warning. While assessing these issues, I've determined that we may have minimized the impact of the failures by being more financially conservative. However, in the startup world, if you are financially conservative, you run the risk of becoming stagnant. Therefore, each time that we've experienced a failure, I've learned to do my best to navigate our company back from the failure, regardless of how challenging it was.
Many entrepreneurs fear failure to the point that it paralyzes them. How do you balance taking calculated risks with the fear of failure? What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs who struggle with this?
Taking any action is better than taking no action at all. I would suggest that any entrepreneur pre-plans a way back from a potential failure should it occur when they have taken risks. They must also believe that they have the ability to overcome any failures that they experience.
Sometimes, resilience requires knowing when to pivot or even walk away from an idea. How do you recognize the difference between a challenge that requires persistence and a situation that necessitates a change in direction?
Knowing when to pivot comes down to the amount of time that has passed since pursuing an initiative. When planning the initiative, milestones and timelines should be established. If the milestones are not met several times in a row, then the initiative should be reassessed to determine whether it makes sense to terminate the idea.
The global economic landscape is always changing, and recent years have seen some extraordinary disruptions. How have you adapted your business to overcome unexpected global challenges? What were the key factors in your successful navigation of these waters?
We just kept fighting through the economic disruptions that have occurred over the past few years. Persisting through the disruptions, while making necessary financial adjustments has enabled us to survive during these challenging times.
Resilience in the face of failure is often linked to personal growth as well. How have your business experiences shaped you personally? Can you share a moment where your professional resilience translated into a personal transformation?
I've encountered numerous business challenges since starting the company. Overcoming these challenges has made me less fearful of failure and made me mentally stronger. My ability to persist through difficulties has given me the strength to overcome challenges in my personal life as well. This includes a health scare with my wife that required me to maintain a positive attitude as we were working our way through it.