What can fishing teach you about succeeding in small business?
One of Australia’s favourite pastimes has a lot more in common with small business than you think! Who would have thought that wetting a line could keep us cool, calm and collected in our pursuit to grow an aspiring small business?
Preparation, Patience, Persistence & Peers
When you plan a fishing trip or just a day down the river, you don’t simply turn up with a rod, reel and hope you catch some fish. You need to prepare. Have a plan around your location, what type of fish you’ll be chasing, if you’ll be using bait or lures, etc. You’ll need to pack water, landing nets and the right tools in the tackle bag and so on. Just like starting or planning to grow your small business, preparation is the key.
Waiting hours for a bite can be frustrating, so can waiting weeks without a new customer, so be patient, understand it can be a hard slog in the early days so having realistic expectations is important. Just because you haven’t caught any fish in the first few hours of your trip doesn’t mean it’s all over. Persistence in small business is important, try new things, see what works, what doesn’t, etc
If I’m struggling chasing a specific species of fish or not having much success in a particular stream or river, I turn to my peers. I ask my friends or fishing partners for some advice or insight. The same applies in your profession. Talk to your peers, partners or like-minded small business owners who are on the same journey as you – and are willing to share – some will, some wont, but ideas collaboration is a powerful thing!
Burley the water – it will attract all types of fish – is this what you want?
Using burley when bait fishing is throwing bait, fish bits or other smelly concoctions in the water to attract the fish. You will normally attract more fish to the area. You will attract a variety of different species, however, not just the ones you want. Be careful of doing this in your small business. This is particularly important if you have a target market, or specific type of customer or client you want to work with or enjoy servicing most. Think about your ideal customer, what they look like, what their values are, what stage of life they are in and think about what best aligns with your service offering, product or values and culture.
Quality over quantity
Having more lines in the water doesn’t mean you will necessarily catch more fish. Just like your business, doing more for the sake of doing more won’t automatically yield good results. You need to consider refining your approach and do more of the things that will specifically relate to what you are trying to achieve.
For example: If you want tech savvy, smart phone connected GEN Y customers to visit your online store, a mass mail out via snail mail is not the right approach. An email / social media campaign is better aligned to their behaviours. Sometimes less is more, if it’s done with the right energy and intent. Fishing with the wrong bait, or wrong lure on, doing more and more of the things that don’t work is just counterproductive. If the species of fish you are targeting feed off the bottom of the water and you’re swimming your lure near the top, it just won’t work.
What big budget?
All the gear – no idea. Sound familiar? As an angler, you can have all the latest gear, top rods and reels, expensive boats, sounders and other technology, but it doesn’t mean it’ll catch you more fish. Like small business, you need to know what you are actually doing, how to find the fish, how to catch them and be passionate about what you are doing. Although it can assist to some extent, expensive gear is not a substitute for this. You can catch them from the land, from the sand or with a basic setup. Who knows, your next biggest customer might be very close to home!
Likewise a big budget doesn’t mean you are guaranteed great results on a campaign or advertising. Applying your know-how, authenticity and some smart and fresh approaches to how and when you are targeting your ideal customers will go a long way. You do not need a big budget to draw in more customers. Giving them flawless service and an exceptional experience – every time – is a low cost way to get repeat customers (and their friends). This comes from your culture and costs nothing if it is cultivated properly.
When it all comes together...
Prime condition Australian Bass released to swim another day