Yesterday as I was enjoying reading my book on a flight to London for a meeting with a client, I picked up on how confident the pilot sounded when announcing our altitude, speed and how he could tell us where we were and how long before we land. He sounded so as a matter of fact and I started to Imagine being in the cockpit with him, surrounded by dials, gages, lights and switches; wondering how he kept track of all the information he is fed at any given moment and why so many sources of information in the first place?
Then I remember reading somewhere that the pilot has to make constant adjustment to the direction and speed as the aeroplane is actually off course a large percentage of its journey. The weather conditions, wind & turbulences constantly throw the plane off route but using the information he can bring us back on route again and again and of course he has a couple of qualified and experienced people on his team who help him throughout.
It occurred to me that running a business is not so unlike flying a plane. We take off aiming in the general direction of our goal and need to make constant changes to our strategy to satisfy our customers as their needs change, reacting to what the market and competitors are doing to name but a few.
However unlike the pilot most small business owners have not gone through years of training to run a business, nor have they many systems in place to give them accurate timely information. Most of them are alone in the cockpit ignoring parts of the business they don’t like or fully understand, missing so much vital information no wonder they end up off route, with limited fuel trying to keep the business going at all costs, wondering how they got into this situation. It can all get very stressful and the possibility of failure begin to fill their mind.
How different would their experience be if they had some simple systems in place and help on hand to get timely feed back so they can act fast and get back on course, saving time & money and avoiding potential disaster.
The reality is that far too many entrepreneurs take off with only a vague idea as to their destination; chartering territories never encountered before and inevitably loose their sense of direction, usually without enough fuel on board. After all they are just trying to get away from a job they had and taking off in the business plane seems like a good escape plan. Totally unprepared but the sense of adventure & encouragement by a few friends seems to fuel their ego enough to take off.
They are usually intelligent, hardworking people with a great idea so some manage to make it as they learn quickly en route but they are putting themselves, their investment , their health, their family and all the other people on board (staff, customers, suppliers, investors etc.) in danger.
The truth is that it does not have to be that hard, a clear vision, more preparation, putting simple information systems in place and getting affordable expert help that is available can go a long way to help avoid a bumpy ride.
So fasten your seat belt and have a pleasant flight.