This is a guest post by Ryan Currie. Running a small business is an experience in patience. Sometimes learning the lessons that make you a better entrepreneur come at a heavy price. If you have a love of travel, however, you can draw from those experiences to help you better manage your small business.
Here are seven travel analogies that can apply to your small business and help you keep the right perspective:
1. Boarding a plane without an itinerary is like launching a startup without a business plan.
Can an unplanned trip be lots of fun? Of course! Can it also result in tons of undue stress, difficult situations, and after-the-fact corrections? Yes. If you’re thinking of, or even in the early stages of, starting a business you need to sit down and come up with a plan, complete with goals, objectives, and means of action or you’re asking for trouble.
2. Ignoring your responsibility to network is like never leaving an all-inclusive resort.
Your small business needs you to network. Not only should you be utilizing social media to talk to customers and industry professionals you should actively be reaching out to competitors, too. Sure it’s nice to live in the comfort of your air conditioned room with 8 on-site restaurants, but what are you missing by not getting out there to explore?
3. Refusing to delegate is the same as relying on a Hawaii travel agent to plan your trip to Morocco.
You’ve got to learn when to take on things yourself and when it makes sense to delegate. Certain things such as legal advice and accounting services are best left to the professionals if you don’t have those skill sets or you could be in for a world of hurt.
4. Hiring too quickly because you need staff is like drinking the water in a third-world destination.
You need warm bodies to man the phones and stock the shelves, but at what cost? Maybe the first one or two quick-hires work out okay, but eventually you’re probably going to get burned. A small business is only as good as its employees, so choose wisely.
5. Not taking the time to talk to your target market is like being in a new country and eating at McDonalds.
Is it scary to get off the beaten path and listen to the locals? Of course it is! But the best travel insights come from experiences that push you, and the same is true in business. Don’t be so afraid of criticism you refuse to talk to your customers.
6. Not meeting your customers on their level is like traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language without a tour guide.
As a business owner you have to know where to speak to your constituents. If they’re on Facebook, be on Facebook! If they like to meet you in person, go to their office. There’s only so much communicating you can do with hand signals and grunts and the same goes for mismatched forms of outreach.
7.Too many cooks in your business “kitchen” is like boarding a cruise ship with eight full-sized suitcases.
When starting a business you have to be willing to streamline, even if it means getting rid of people, turning down venture capital investors, or rethinking the entire business plan. Be nimble and flexible and let your business grow the way it wants.
Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.