Our fourth of July was wonderful! I took the day off to go kayaking with my husband. Back in ‘Business Mode’ today, my mind made this analogy from our adventure, discussing how conducting business is like a downriver kayak trip.
Before setting out, we did some research, some of which was conducted a month ago. We knew where we wanted to begin our trip and where we wanted to stop. We then drove that stretch of river we were interested in and did some scouting so we’d have some idea of what we were getting ourselves into. The important components were aligned perfectly yesterday: the weather, the river level and flow, and the amount of time we had available, so the decision was made to go ahead. If only one of those important components weren’t favorable, our trip would have to have been postponed.
How similar is that to being successful in business? You must research your market to be sure that all things are in place before setting out. In business, as on the river, it could be an un-enjoyable ride at best, and disastrous at worst if you don’t perform your “due diligence”.
Once the decision was made to go for it, we began to prepare. While we know we can’t plan for every eventuality, we are familiar enough with the experience to know the bare minimum that will be needed for success.
While I do like spontaneity in my personal life, I’m more comfortable with planning and preparation in my business. Again, not all things can be anticipated, but if you’ve prepared for the things you can prepare for, you’ll be in a much better position for addressing the unexpected when it crops up-and it will crop up, you can plan on that!
Once we were in the water, it was a matter of making quick decisions with the information we had at the moment. We could usually see a good stretch of water ahead of us, but we never knew exactly what was coming after that. We had to stay flexible and ready to change direction at a moment’s notice as the next stretch of river came into view. Did we always make the right choice? No, but we made adjustments as we went along and that’s what got us downriver in one piece. A few minor mistakes in judgment didn’t ruin the whole trip, and actually added to the excitement. We quickly learned from those errors and made better decisions down the river because of our experience.
In business, and especially in the ever-changing waters of Internet business and marketing, we must remain flexible and make constant adjustments to our plans to stay afloat. We’ll surely find failure if we think we can mold the market to our personal preferences of what will work. We must always be ready to adjust and change with the market flow and the obstacles in our way.
There were many, many obstacles in the river to pick our way around and through. Fortunately, my husband and I travel well together, whether by land, air or water. We’re pretty good at spotting obstacles, deciding quickly how to handle them, following through on those decisions and making adjustments to the rest of trip based on the outcome.
Don’t successful businesses do the same? Find business partners we can trust, being able to foresee anything that could limit our chances of success, basing decisions on previous experience and current input, sticking to our course of action and making adjustments as needed.
Fortunately, we only made one choice that almost dumped our kayak and put us in the river swimming, but we quickly recovered and continued on our way. No time to pull over and calm our quaking nerves, or conduct a lengthy analysis of whose fault it was. We just continued to “go with the flow” and didn’t make the same mistake again.
All told, our trip was thrilling, relaxing and just a lot of fun! It took us out of who we are in our daily lives and we accomplished something we can be proud to have done.
This morning I have a refreshed version of my business philosophy – there are obstacles around every bend that challenge us to overcome and learn from – and there are some smooth stretches allowing us to relax, look around and take pleasure in where we are and how we got there.