MANAGING A BUSINESS is a lot like downhill skiing. If you are skilled and have the right equipment you enjoy the rush of racing to the finish. When you hit that goal you feel slightly exhausted yet exhilarated and eagerly anticipate the next run. Of course there are many factors that will impact your business much in the same way there are factors that will impact your ability to navigate the black diamond slopes and reach your goal.
What kind of environment are you operating in? Are the conditions ideal or are the slopes a little icy and you need to sharpen your edge before you even start? Will it be slushy and slow, or light powder and sunny? If you are in a downhill race, who is your competition and do these conditions favor them? Understanding the outside factors that impact your performance will help you to prepare so that you bring the right equipment for a safe and successful run. The same rules apply in business – is the economy in a downturn and will that hurt your business? Or maybe there is a change in legislature that will benefit you? Evaluating the environment allows you to plan for a successful run.
You wouldn’t show up to the slopes without your skis, similarly you need to ensure that you have what it takes to start, run and finish your task at hand. Be prepared for the expected and the unexpected. Are you wearing a ski jacket, goggles and gloves to protect you from hypothermia? Do you have the resources available to ensure your success, even if you hit a bump along the way? Would you ski without a lifeline (mobile device or GPS tracker)? Having an exit strategy in case of an emergency will give you an edge, and if you need to use it, then you will survive for another run.
Work smarter, not harder. When you start your run you take the lift or a gondola to the top, taking advantage of the technology available to you. You don’t think about how your skis cut the powder or about the trail they are leaving, nor do you consider the gears and mechanics of the lift. Replacing old technology with new technology that supports what you are doing without having to think about how it is it is doing it will get you to the top and to your goal faster. You do not always have to have the newest, best equipment as long as it is competitive and aids you in your goal. Any technology that hinders you because it breaks down or just isn’t as fast as your competition will be an unnecessary distraction keeping you from reaching your goals.
Staying on top of trends in the industry is like staying in shape. The more you know the better your strength and performance. If you have never skied before you would not start on a triple black diamond. Know your limits and build your skills to gain confidence and ability. Start with achievable goals and build from there, and once you get really good you will realize that just because you are going fast doesn’t mean you are out of control.