Article 35: Where’s Your Roadmap Taking You?
Let me start off by saying that many who will read this article will identify with it and/or consider calling the local authorities because the message will hit so close to home they may believe that I have either been stalking them, opening their mail or like any good FBI agent doing some type of unauthorized background check. Well rest assured, my friends, that none of the above has happened to anyone specifically but rather the information I’m going to share occurs far too often to most of us.
I’d like to start the article off with a simple analogy and then build from there. Most of us have taken some type of road trip whether it was in college, when money was in short supply, or a family vacation, when suitcase logistics made the family car the best option. In either case we all took the same first step – establish some type of a plan regarding how we were going to get from point A to point B. In fact, I’ll bring this closer to home and use the specifics of traveling from St. Louis, MO to Destin, FL. Personally I have made this journey more times than my odometer would care to share but inevitably it always started with some type of directional mapping. Over the years I have taken many, many different routes in my quest to find the most direct and time friendly charted course so that I could hear the ocean that much sooner.
My route choices have come from personal investigation, Internet search engines, people I know, strangers I have met who also made the journey or relatives who were also seeking the Holy Grail of beach life. What I have found is that everyone had their reasons for choosing their specific route and none appeared to be a clear winner so once a year for the past 10 years I to see if a clear cut winner existed. Time and time again I would discover that each path had specific benefits but ultimately they would not pass the expedient or time saving test. Each year, each new route seemed to only get me closer to becoming the Lewis and Clark of the STL to Destin expedition. It wasn’t until I combined my information with that of my brother-in-law that a clear choice was established.
Ok, now that you have that analogy in your head let me now apply it to what I see time and time again with business owners. Each one starts off their business venture with some type of plan. They range from the very detailed, elaborate all the way down to bare basic. Each one appears that it will get them to their destination, in the sense that they are heading in the correct direction, but all need course corrections to get them there in the most expedient and time saving way possible. The detailed plan group has most of the roads marked; they have time allotments and waypoints charted to know if they are still on track. The less detailed work from more of a shoot from the hip type mentality with less structure, broad concepts and more generic plans.
Now going back to the FL analogy both groups will arrive in the State of FL but the more detailed plan will definitely be the most expedient. The problem that those with the most detailed plan have is that more times than not they use the plan as the blue print to success and refuse to make course correction when road blocks (competition), detours (economy) or unplanned obstacles (increased expenses) enter their path. Most will plow through without seeking outside council on the best way to proceed. They get so convinced that they know more than anyone else that they are like a bull in a china shop and push through and count the destruction costs later. Now this group will arrive at their destination, Destin, FL, but by the time they get there they are worn out, financial drained and distraught that they never fully get to relax and enjoy their arrival (sound of the ocean or the sand beneath their feet). This group needs to check their pride at the door and listen to others who can get them through these unexpected course corrections. If they do then they will arrive rested, refreshed and able to enjoy the journey they have traveled.
Our second group, with the less than detailed plan comes from a group of people who run by a different philosophy. Their plan is simple. They need to arrive in FL so traveling from STL they figure all they need to do is just head South/East. They do not know which roads they specifically will be taking although they are sure that major interstates do head in the correct direction. They are not sure when they will arrive because they have no set schedule. They do not even know if they will have enough money for gas/food to make the journey because there is no budget planning. One of their main obstacles is themselves. More than likely they have chosen this plan because they either have some sort of fallback plan or they choose to shoot first and ask questions later. It isn’t a deal breaker if they don’t arrive in the correct city, Destin, because they hit the correct state. The excitement of the trip has them all pumped up but after about 6 weeks they realize the sales aren’t coming in, cash reserve is getting low, and expenses continue to increase. Now they begin scrambling to come up with a plan B. As we all know running behind any curve is a proposition which can lead to poor future decisions. Now that isn’t the case for all who do not have a detailed plan but the mindset is very similar.
Here is the point. No matter which option you have chosen to get to this point in your business endeavor you must allow other people to speak into your life so that you can make course corrections which will help you achieve your goals while saving you time and money. There are times when we all have to swallow our pride, guys, and pull over and ask for course correction directions. For some, ladies, this is easier than for others but the bottom line is once we speak with someone who has been where we are trying to go we end up getting to our destinations faster and having more time to play once we arrive.
Get yourself out of the way, seek wisdom from those who possess it and you will enjoy the ocean/beach that much sooner!
Jeffrey A. Mohr – Founder