Business and Fishing the 3 P’s: Patience, Presentation, Preparation

Attention: We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to announce a tweetup happening next Tuesday August 21, 2012. Lori Widmer and myself will have a dialogue about Google Plus and the forum she co-founded for writers and creatives. The conversation begins at 6:30 ET and 3:30 PT by using the hash tags #allaboutgoogle+ and #aboutwritingsquared. Mark your calendars and join us next Tuesday on Twitter. Now back to the blog post.  

Wilson River Steelhead

Lessons I learn on the river apply to many facets of my life. Today, I compare business writing to my favorite pastime.

Patience

In order to be a good fishermen you must have patience. I have experienced numerous days where I will wait hours for that one bite. It’s tempting to leave a spot and go looking for fish, but if you have confidence in what you’re doing it will be just a matter of time for that strike to happen. The same is true in business. Much of the content I write today will not produce cash flow for weeks or months. I need to have confidence in what I’m offering and that my offer is right for the situation. I strive to make it easy for my targeted customer to find me. However, they must need what I’m offering, and reality dictates that won’t happen often. Within a given day hundreds or even thousands of fish will swim by your bait, but 99% won’t be interested. A successful day of Salmon or Steelhead fishing only requires one or two bites. A 25lb fish goes a long way in feeding my family. So is the case with customers. Land the right ones and your table is full. In our instant gratification society waiting is not something were use to, and possibly this is why studies show less young people are taking up the sport of fishing.

Presentation

There are numerous considerations and multiple combinations in choosing the correct lure and presentation for Salmon and Steelhead fishing. To the untrained eye it often looks simple. When I take a friend out for the first time they usually don’t realize all that goes into my decision process. Water temperature, light conditions, depth, current, weather, and tidal changes are just a few of the things to consider. When someone does something well the presentation just flows. As a business owner it is extremely important you’re making the

Webinar on August 28th

right presentation. I witness too many companies put out content for content sake. They do not consider their target audience and what factors could put them in a buying mood. If the content isn’t reaching the correct audience or is written poorly it won’t attract any customers. The old saying, “10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish” has some merit. There are many people who fish for Salmon and Steelhead days on end with nary a bite. It can be very frustrating and it is why I recommend that a newbie go with someone experienced to learn the ropes. Business owners would do well with the same advice for their content management. What my friend notices is a pole handed to him and cast to a certain spot. Often he will say, “that was easy” or “man we were lucky”. Frankly, luck and ease doesn’t play into the equation and neither should it for your business.

Preparation

The night before a fishing trip you will find me on the Internet studying the latest river levels, barometric pressure and water temperatures. Based on that information I will tie up numerous rigs, color combinations and lure sizes. I always prepare more than necessary and have a wide variety available. My days to go to the river are limited and I want have the best possible outcome. The same goes for business, because there is limited opportunity to interact with future customers. Your competition is literally at everyone’s fingertips, and our ability to change our minds with a simple click make it imperative that you do your homework. When you hire someone to write content make sure to provide complete data on your ideal customer. Extensive preparation will give you the best opportunity to land the big one.

Does this analogy make sense to you? What are your hobbies? Can you make a similar analogy? Leave me a comment below.

Friends and Business Mix

Make Friends

graphic provided by clker.com

You’ve Got to Have Friends

Going off the advice of Bette Midler, it is important to have friends. Not just the ones that come over for a beer or a game of cards. You need business friends as well. Friends give you support, point you in the right direction, and encourage you. Many business owners have a desire to go it alone, but that is a mistake. Your business friends are an important commodity and lead to success. Some of these friends will be clients, others will be colleagues, but regardless they are great resources and people you can count on.

 Find a Place to Hang

Where do you find business friends? Business associations and chambers of commerce are a good place to start. Nearly every town has some. Also, there are numerous online forums where like-minded individuals are plentiful. I belong to a forum titled About Writing Squared that is set-up for freelancers and creatives. I have cultivated many relationships there. You can post a question and get timely responses with friendly advice. Just like face-to-face relationships you get what you put into it. The more you contribute to the community the more the community gives back to you. Take a moment to introduce your self, share some personal interests, and background information, and soon you become part of a community.

 Not Just Income

Another opportunity to make friendships is with your clients. Trust you’ve built in a working relationship can transfer into other arenas. One of my first clients helped me with daily business operations, because we were friends. I have sought his advice on bookkeeping, corporation versus sole proprietorship, and home office set-up. Our working relationship began with me writing a press release for his business and went from there. I recommend his products whenever possible and he sends referrals my way. The line becomes fuzzy when you are “working” for a friend, but if you are upfront and have open communication I believe those circumstances will be adverted. I’m not suggesting that you must have clients over for your daughter’s third birthday party, but it is a possibility. What I do recommend is considering the relationship, and the benefits of having a client as a friend and not just a sale. Being open to the idea leads to long-term success in business, along with a loyal clientele.

 Reach Out to Those You Admire

One of the greatest attributes of today’s connected world is the ability to talk with anyone, anywhere in the world. Even ten years ago I would not be able to interact with the writers I do today. Through social media you can learn directly from those you admire. Many industry leaders hold webinars, podcasts or host their own blog. These media outlets give you insight and opportunity to connect with them. Take some time to respond to updates or announcements and you may receive a direct response from those you admire. I am very happy to say that I have several friendships with writers I admire greatly. They are very forthcoming with advice or tools to make my job easier. Take a chance to make connections and watch your business prosper.

Business friendships are a valuable asset and lead to greater success. I suggest you look for ways to forge more of them. Please leave a comment about the importance of friends in your business.