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Business Tip of the Week

Lessons From a Historic Snow

This time last year we experienced the single biggest snowstorm of my lifetime in the DC Metro area which gave me plenty of time to think and reflect.  As I was steadfastly digging out my very long driveway, I realized there were many business lessons to be learned:
  1. Preparation matters – I knew the storm was coming and so I prepared.  I truly had everything I needed to last in a comfortable fashion and was even ready for a power outage that never happened.  Does that mean next time I won’t fill up the bathtub with water and get the flashlights ready?  Certainly not, next time I will use this experience as a checklist for how to properly prepare.  Do you have an emergency preparation checklist for your business?
  2. Done is better than perfect – My driveway is approximately 150 feet long with a Y at the top so you can turn around and maneuver, and then there is the sidewalk.  During a normal amount of snow, I would clear every inch of that driveway and sidewalk.  Very quickly, really with the first shovelful, I realized that would be unrealistic.  I dug the sidewalk path just wide enough to walk down and the driveway just wide enough to drive down.  Yes, it’s a little inconvenient that I have to back the car all the way up the driveway, but at least I can get in and out.  What are you not getting done in your business because you are trying to make it perfect?  Wouldn’t done be better than not done?
  3. Have a contingency plan – Things don’t always go the way we plan, so you need contingency plans.  Did I buy enough firewood?  My neighbor has tons, so I asked if it would be OK for me to take some should I run out.  I am only one person, but I pulled out all three of my snow shovels in case people were willing to help me, but didn’t have a shovel.  I had containers ready to move my food out into the snow should the power fail.  What contingency plans do you have in your business?
  4. Course correction may be necessary – my neighbor started digging toward me from the far end of my driveway and we noticed, at times, that we weren’t fully lined up to meet in the middle.  We simply paid attention and made slight alterations to our course when needed.  Are you paying attention to what is coming your way so you can correct course when necessary?
  5. Goals require milestones and rewards – I never would have made it if I set out thinking I could just shovel down that driveway.  I knew where I needed to go and I set up milestones along the way.  Each time I reached a milestone I rewarded myself.  When my neighbor and I completed the task we spent the rest of the afternoon sledding a having a blast – a reward for a job well done.  What are your milestones and how do you reward yourself?
Hopefully, you and your business are fully operational now that the storm has passed.  Hopefully, you learnt some great lessons.  Have a great week!

Business Tip of the Week

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