I recently travelled from Austin, TX to Beaver Creek, CO with a few of our Peace, Love and Happiness VIP riders to celebrate Sturgis bike week. Travelling that many miles on a bike, you have a lot of time with your thoughts.... Something I realized during that trip was that being well prepared for a cross country motorcycle trip is a lot like running your business... Here are some of the lessons I've learned...
1. Drive your business like you ride your motorcycle - your own way!
We had chance to get to know some awesome small businesses owners this summer and our time with them were some of the most enjoyable experiences we’ve had. They usually were with the ones with owners or family members still working in them . They all had a similar attitude of "this is who we are and we will give you 100% of our best”. They were perfectly fine being a great company in the middle of nowhere where they could be true to themselves, and making their business a true reflection of who they are.
2. Take your time and do it right... success will come.
On the last road trip we took, we were moving across Colorado . We packed the truck, put a trailer on the back, threw our motorcycles on the trailer and took off. The rear tire on the trailer start acting oddly and started shaking. It got really dicey when we got a blow out coming down the freeway coming into Breckenridge. If it wasn’t for this super awesome garage owner named Kurt who stayed open for us to help fix the tire, we’d be still on the side of the road.
My point is this … We did what it took to get there in one piece. But we didn't do it alone -we had to also rely on the help of others. You will write a business plan, you’ll have the vision and your heart will be full-to-bursting with excitement over your new venture. Keep that alive, but keep your head enough to know that it’s okay to slow down, change plans, or take a detour, you will need to ask for help... as long as it keeps you alive and keeps you moving.
3. Communicate honestly and directly. Be patient. Be loving.
The more you communicate on the road, the better chance you have of finishing your drive. Turn signals kill assumptions, headlights save lives. Driving lanes are bounded by painted lines, creating boundaries that help us all make it home safe. Horns were made for a reason – learn how to sound yours when it is appropriate.
Talk, be patient, and keep loving people... because good business is about good relationships.
4. Prepare. Execute. Review.
As I mentioned before, there was a nasty wobble in the trailer tire.
You’ll run into similar problems in your business. The weight distribution on the trailer, coupled with the super steep mountain passes were just enough to create a dangerous driving scenario. We prepared for our trip, and we made the trek. When we finally arrived at our destination, we reviewed. We asked ourselves
-What went well?
-What went poorly?
-What could I do differently next time?
Regularly reviewing your business is an excellent way to find new opportunities like a new category (like adding UFC) or fix poor ones. Do it regularly.
5. Success isn’t final and failure is not usually fatal.
Your business success record will be a lot like your driving record. You only get a perfect record if you do things well all the time (and never take risks). You’ll make bad decisions in both scenarios. You may even be involved in an accident. As long as you make it out with your life, you have a chance to try again. Pause, reflect, understand why you survived, and ask what was beyond your control. Even in business, our successes are rarely our own and our failures are usually much better outcomes than what may have been. Thank those around you, help others out along the way, and be sure to hug someone when you make it back home.
-Mayhem (aka, Gary Spellman)
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