Joe recently took on the 3 peaks in 3 days challenge, which involved climbing the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales over three days.
On his return, he mentioned that being on the mountains gave him plenty of time to think, and a prominent thought was the similarities between climbing a mountain and building a business.
Here’s Joe’s advice for getting started – either as an entrepreneur or an adventurer – or both!:
- Know your destination
To climb a mountain you need to know where you are going to start and where you are going to finish, otherwise how can you ever expect to get there? That’s why, from the outset, you need a clear, tangible, timely goal for your business. This allows you to measure your progress, just like a GPS or tracker would while you are up on the mountain.
- Know your why
Knowing why you want to do something is equally – if not more – important as the what, otherwise your trip to the summit is likely to leave you feeling unfulfilled.
- Planning is essential
A structured plan allows you to get your timing right. On Joe’s expedition, it was clear that there were right and wrong times to climb, with a stringent plan to navigate each section at the right time. Identifying peaks and troughs due to factors such as seasonality is a similar concept to building a cash flow forecast for your business.
- Gather the right equipment
Having the right kit makes a huge difference. During Joe’s trip, the team experienced all kinds of weather conditions so those summer shorts were just as vital as their waterproofs to give them the best chance of making it all the way to the top. In business terms, think of this as getting set with all the right equipment and systems to allow you to run your business smoothly.
- Risk vs reward
Should you invest in that unproven but potentially ground-breaking technology, or extend your comfort zone to branch out into a new location? These decisions are just like contemplating whether to take the steeper – but more dangerous and risky – option on the mountain. Sometimes you need professional advice before you take the next step.
- Pitfalls are vast
One of the mountains threatened a drop of over 100 feet very close to the summit. A scary scenario – one slip and that’s it! But, due to proper preparation and planning, and with the aid of an experienced guide, Joe and the team were safe from danger. In business, it’s possible to find yourself in a situation where one event could have huge significant consequences for your business. So it is vital that you regularly assess your risks through planning, budgeting and having insurance policies in place, to ensure your business doesn’t enter freefall mode.
- Teamwork vs isolation
Joe undertook the challenge with his girlfriend and as part of a larger group; the camaraderie and team spirit ensured that everyone stuck together and nobody was left behind. Being a business owner is a lonely place and it is important to surround yourself with like-minded people you can turn to when times are tough or things are not going to plan. You can never underestimate the value of having the right staff who buy into your dream and can reverberate the businesses values throughout the organisation and beyond.
It’s not all similarities though. One area where climbing a mountain and metaphorically climbing a business mountain differ greatly is that, while you have a lot of thinking time up on the mountain, business owners very rarely have time to sit undisturbed and think about their business and its strategic direction – let alone start making steps to action their ideas.
At Nordens Strategic, the time we spend working with clients covers a mixture of expert advice and approaches leading to more successful businesses and happier business owners and directors. One of our most valuable activities is a no holds barred brainstorm. We become the sounding board for their brilliant ideas and then work together to create a plan to transform those ideas into something tangible -which allows us to watch enthusiastically from base camp while our clients take their businesses all the way to the summit.
To find out more about our specialist strategic business planning service, take a look at the Nordens Strategic website or call us on 020 8530 0720.