Thursday, July 7, 2011

What You Can Learn About Entrepreneurship From World-Class Bikers

Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey."

By Dwain Deville
Ever since writing The Biker's Guide to Business, I get one question more than any other: "Dwain, what the heck do biking and business have in common?"
To me the answer is obvious in that bikers and entrepreneurs are a similarly bold lot. We're independent, strong willed, adventurous, and intolerant of fences. We go for it by harnessing our passion in order to excel.
Both biking and entrepreneurship have inherent risk attached to them. But riding a motorcycle scared is a fast ticket to the hospital - and you darn sure can't run a company scared. Those who know this, the champions, get that it's not about overcoming fear. Instead, it's aboutunderstanding and embracing reasonable and controllable risk.
As an entrepreneur, it is not a question of if you're going to face hard times and challenges, it's a question of when. This article is about how to prepare yourself for the inevitable - five ways to tap into your "inner biker" that will get you through whatever obstacles come your way.
1. Yield
When faced with a business problem, our first inclination is to push harder... to fight back. In my experience, that's the wrong reaction. The first thing you have to do is fully understand whyyou're in that position.
You need to find a way to clear your head of the background noise, including all the advice coming at you from well-intentioned friends and colleagues. You have to take the time to get off the merry-go-round that is business. That may mean finding a quiet place to just sit and think. It may mean hiking, riding a bike or a motorcycle, going boating, or gardening. Whatever works for you.
It is easy to blame a problem on a recent decision. But use this time to dig deeper. Was the problem based on a bad decision made earlier? Did you take your eye off your company's core values? Did you move away from what got you passionate about your business in the first place?
2. Focus
Once you have figured out the source of your problem, it's time to get back in the game. And you must have total focus. You are either all in or you're not. There is no half-steppin' in business.
You must focus on more than just your business goals. You must focus on what you want out of life. Reason being that, in the beginning, your main business goal is simply to survive, often pushing your life goals aside. Over time, you grow and prosper, and your life and business come together to form one long road trip with many exits along the way.
The key is to figure out which exits are the right ones for you to take in order to achieve success. Don't make the mistake of chasing one opportunity after another, simply because they look good. Just because you have a clear and open road doesn't mean it's the right one.

3. Sweat the Small Stuff
Any businessperson can tell you where they are today, and most can paint a rosy picture of where they want to be. But only the winners can also describe the in-between.
When you're on a motorcycle, that's the part of the ride that fills your senses with sights and smells. BUT it is also extremely dangerous if you fail to pay attention to where you're going. Getting to your destination safely depends on your ability to watch out for the potholes between here and there.
In business, it's also about watching out for little things that can get in your way. Successful entrepreneurs know that when navigating the in-between, there should be few if any "Aha!" moments. They take the time to map out their road to success. And they pay particular attention to the small stuff, the little things they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
4. Plan Ahead
Entrepreneurs hate to plan. We've all been through at least one 2- or 3-day strategic planning session that produced a "detailed plan" - only to have it end up on the shelf in a month or two.
But we have to do it. And the process doesn't have to be painful. It doesn't have to take days or weeks. And it doesn't have to result in a huge binder of information sitting there collecting dust.
Instead of trying to plan for months or even years down the road, you need to focus on your immediate strategy - The Tactical Plan. Begin by setting a one-year goal for your company. Then identify the day-to-day, week-to-week, and monthly tactics to get you there.
5. Sharpen Your Skills
In business, you are here but need to be there. And in order to get there, your business has to grow. The only way that this will happen is for you - and your employees - to grow along with it.
There are many ways to promote advanced business skills throughout your company. Consider the fundamental areas of:
  • Professional Development
  • Mentors
  • Workshops/Seminars
Remember that achieving excellence in anything requires passion - and passion can thrive only in an environment where things are accomplished. When you've figured out what it is that drives you, everything else will begin to fall into place. Any and all obstacles you face along the way will be merely learning opportunities on your way to your goal.
Just keep the rubber side down... and enjoy the ride

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Steps Have You Taken Today Toward Reinventing Your Career?

"Action expresses priorities."
Mohandas Gandhi
I don't know how to say this any clearer: Most people are lazy. (Not you, of course. I am talking about other people.) Being lazy is part of human nature. A body at rest, stays at rest... A body in motion, yada, yada, yada...
Anyway, the reason I am bringing this up is that I want to know what you are doing today toward reinventing your career.
I know, you have family commitments... work commitments... people tugging at you. And sometimes you think you don't have enough time to work on your personal goals.
But you know what? It's not true. It's just a matter of making better use of your time.
First off, you have to be clear about what you really want. Are you thinking of venturing out into a completely new career? Or are you thinking of reinventing yourself at your present job and getting more out of what you do?
Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can determine the actions you need to take to make it happen. Nothing will happen unless you take ACTION. But, of course, you have to prioritize those actions. What has to be done immediately... tomorrow... the day after?
Today, for instance, I have to finish work for a client and then work on promotional materials for my new book. The weather is gorgeous. And I'd love to go to the beach. But nnnnnnnnnnnnnno. I will NOT. Going to the beach is not a priority. Getting the work done is.
Prioritizing allows you to get the biggest ROI from your time and resources. In marketing, for example, if I do X and it does not bring me Y or Z (leads or income), I have to change X.
The same applies to your reinvention. If an action you take doesn't pay off the way you expect it to, you have to redirect your efforts to get the results you want.
Whether you are reinventing yourself into a brand-new career or at your present job, the main thing to keep in mind is that you are in charge of your own time and resources. If your reinvention isn't working, you have to re-examine your priorities.
Yes, you will have to make sacrifices in order to move forward with your reinvention. Reinvention takes time. There are steps you have to take. You will have to retool, repackage yourself, and perhaps learn new skills. But if you take small steps each day, you will not get overwhelmed. And you will soon see measurable results.