Today I want to have a little fun by taking a metaphor way too far. What’s the metaphor? Well, we’re going to pretend that building your business is a long-distance road trip and I’m going to give you some invaluable advice that will help you make the most of either situation.
Okay, so let’s jump right in. Tip #1 is that you must recognize up front that this journey will take some time. You haven’t hopped on a direct flight, you’re driving, so don’t expect to get from Florida to California in a few short hours. When you’re building your business, you have to realize that it’s going to take time – probably a lot more time than you originally thought – and be prepared to power through it. If you’re the kid in the back seat going, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” incessantly, you’re going to ruin the trip for everyone. Always keep your destination in focus, but don’t expect to arrive there 2 minutes after you start driving.
Along those same lines, Tip #2 is that you must be prepared for detours. If you’re on a road trip, there will be bathroom breaks, and you’ll have to stop and get gas, and you’ll probably visit a few interesting sights along the way, and you’ll also probably take a few wrong turns here and there and add a bunch of extra hours to your trip. That’s just how it goes on a road trip and the same is true in entrepreneurship – you’ll take some wrong turns, you’ll nearly run out of gas, and you’ll waste some time looking at shiny objects. Just keep powering on though, and you’ll eventually reach your destination.
Tip #3 is find the balance between the plan and your reality. You wouldn’t try to drive across the country without ever looking at a map and you shouldn’t start building a business without a plan. But you also shouldn’t be so attached to the plan that you can’t adapt. If there is road work or a major traffic jam, your GPS will reroute you and you should probably do what it says. If there is a big market shift or technology advancement or new competitor that affects your business and its growth strategy, it’s up to you to reroute yourself.
Finally, remember to enjoy the trip itself. A road trip is an adventure in itself and is about more than just reaching the destination – if that’s all you wanted you should have just flown – so you should enjoy the travel. When you’re building your business, yes, you want to keep your goals front and center, but you also want to remember to enjoy being an entrepreneur now and be thankful for all of the benefits owning your own business brings you. You don’t have to wait until you sell your company for $100 million dollars to be glad you chose entrepreneurship. Start enjoying the journey now.