I’m getting ready for my boating holiday. Friends are visiting from the Canadian prairies and we’re going cruising in Desolation Sound for a week. I can’t wait!
In the meantime, I’m charting our course, setting the waypoints, and planning the fuel and food. I enjoy doing this. I’m a planner by nature. And my future self always appreciates getting a detailed plan with turn-by-turn instructions.
I started boating a few years ago when I moved to Vancouver Island. The scenery and wildlife are stunning, and there are hundreds of islands, bays, and fjords to explore.
There are also countless dangers from tides, rocks and currents. I started learning about these from my first instructor who has the best boating name ever: John Fairweather. John has become a great friend. He’s a huge fan of trip planning and paper charts. He’s on my speed-dial whenever I’m on a boat.
My aspiration (because every boater has one!) is to visit Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. Yes, it seems far-fetched, but it spurs me onward; every year I cruise a little further, and ever year I take a course or two. This autumn: Spanish 101 and diesel engine maintenance.
Of course, I can’t help comparing boat trips to running a business. You knew this was coming, didn’t you? 🙂 There are many similarities and one huge difference: nobody ever tells me that learning and planning aren’t needed for a boating expedition.
Yet this happens all the time in the business world. Planning is pooh-poohed. Fundamentals are ignored. People are encouraged to just “do it”, get out there, make it happen, woo hoo! Startup events all over the world provide energy, enthusiasm and encouragement. Sometimes a well-meaning agency contributes money or space.
And another group of creative, high-energy people jumps off a cliff. What a waste.
I get it. Charting is tiresome. Tide tables are boring. And plotting a course isn’t as fun as having a cold beer with the crew. But running out of fuel or hitting a rock REALLY sucks. So we do these things when we’re the skipper because we’re ultimately responsible.
Just like a business owner.
As you set out on your amazing entrepreneurial adventure be sure to carefully think through the five things below. Already under way? It’s never too late to revisit them; it’s never too late to learn something new; it’s never to late to change your course.
- Make sure somebody wants to buy your offering.
- Price properly.
- Learn cash flow basics.
- Plan, including cash flow projections.
- Track your progress, and adjust as necessary.
And if you need an expert on your speed-dial, call anytime.