FlipMyFunnel Post

The Opportunities Hidden Behind Every Crisis

What do you do when things go bad?

Try saying: “Good!”

Every crisis hides an opportunity, you just need to find it. 

So says Brett Hagler, CEO at New Story, a charity whose mission is to pioneer solutions to end global homelessness.

Make something people want

Brett:  There’s a phrase we learned at Y Combinator, which is very simple, but it’s “make something people want.”

And I felt there was a demographic of people like myself that wanted a more modern version of a charity that would take more risk that would be more innovative as a nonprofit. 

As a charity, we couldn’t find any that were really doing that in our sector. 

So, that’s why we felt it was worth taking a swing and starting and I think that’s why we got traction was because we really saw a gap in the market for that. And that’s why we got off to a pretty good start.

“In a downturn, you have to be incredibly resilient and relevant.

A problem that I saw and felt was: 

When people give, they don’t really know what percent actually goes to the need, right?

We’ve all probably felt that. It’s how life actually goes. But what do you do about that? 

Well, we created a model. It’s very simple. 

When you give our promises that every single penny goes towards helping a family and then all of the opposite effects and the back end costs are covered by private group of donors that we call the builders.

It’s only about 55 of them and then for the thousands of other donors, 100% of what they give will go directly towards helping a family in desperate need.

Do things that don’t scale

Brett: There’s another module that we were taught at Y Combinator, which is:

“In the early days, do things that don’t scale.

Do things that don’t scale: it’s very counterintuitive to what we hear because we think, we have an idea, let’s figure out a scalable solution and voila!

But what you actually need to do is just try to figure out some way to test it. And you can hack around many different ways to do that. 

Then if it works, then you can, of course, scale it.

Constraints create creativity (opportunity in crisis)

Brett: The last thing I want people to say is “I’m glad the pandemic is here,” because nobody in the world feels that. 

But it’s more of a mental reset: There are things happening from a macro perspective that we simply cannot control. 

And so, and there’s going to be things that happen at your company that you’re not you don’t have authority to control, right? 

Maybe your budget gets cut if you’re running a department. And so what you would do in that circumstance is: You wouldn’t pout; you wouldn’t complain. You instead would say… 

“Good! Now I have to be more resourceful. Constraints will create creativity for me.”

“You have to really believe that there’s opportunity; you’ve got to really own that.”

That’s how a lot of the next-generation big ideas come from.

You have to create these moments where you’re thinking outside the box, and you can redirect the resources, the talent and the ingenuity that you have on your team towards something else. 

And this now gives everybody the excuse to reset, to zoom out and to probably do some things that they wouldn’t have license to do — whether that’s from the Board of Directors, their boss’s or the CEO. 

No, you are now allowed. And actually, you must be different and you must innovate.

Some of the best ideas, companies or departments inside an organization will be proven with these new initiatives that are being created.

We’re all going to see it over the next couple of months, and it’s going to be by those leaders that that pushed us to do it.

Crisis is an opportunity

Nobody wants a pandemic or the uncertainty of today’s world. 

But now that it’s here, we need to find the opportunities it presents. 

And that’s not to say we are going to rush out and capitalize on the crisis. It just means, like Brett said, we have a chance to do things differently. 

If your big event is canceled — good! Now you can find new ways to use that money! 

It’s a question of framing and not giving up because things aren’t going the way you want them to. 

Now is not a time to be meek at all. 

It’s a time to move fast and find opportunities where you can.

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