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Riding Business Waves

I had been pondering the growing mortgage crisis and how it was affecting our entire economy. I was trying to process stories I had heard of huge banks trying to retrieve a penny on the dollar for their investments in credit cards, lines of credit, and more. What sort of impact would the fall of housing prices and the construction downturn have on the custom AV installation market?

Taking a sip from my Starbucks cup, my head spun around to see a dozen classic Ford GTs pull out onto Pacific Coast Highway. It was a summer afternoon in March as my wife and I walked along the beach at Zuma. The beach has a way of making me forget about these types of worries. The crashing waves can clear my thoughts and put me in touch with a sense of timelessness.

Out on the ocean I saw a group of surfers sitting quietly on their boards. As we continued to walk along, the sea was very calm. While I felt the serenity of the sea, these surfers must have felt it a hundreds time more as they sat there patiently waiting for a wave.

It seemed like a totally boring waste of time to sit there on their boards, which were going nowhere. In our lives and in our businesses, we can learn a lot from these surfers.

Surfer Wisdom

Sitting there so still, those surfers understood something about the power of the ocean and how it flows. These students of the sea were at peace with the waves that were always coming, but always changing.

Surfers know that good waves come in sets. All of a sudden a bunch of waves will start to roll in, and they will mount up and skillfully ride in. Business is like that. Surfers know that at the right place and time some great waves will be coming and it is their job to be there and be ready to ride.

Maybe your company is having a slow time right now with the current economy. Maybe your ocean looks flat and there are no swells in sight. If you want your business to ride the coming waves, you have to be prepared. The surfers can show you how to be ready.

Preparation is the first step. Surfers must acquire the equipment, skills, and physical strength needed for surfing. These levels vary with the size of the waves they ride.
Use any spare time to bolster your teams surfing skills. Get the latest boards, get some new lessons, and prepare yourself to be a more skillful rider and to get ready to ride bigger waves.

Once that is accomplished, the primary work of the surfer is positioning himself where the right waves are. A lot of work goes into being at the right place at the right time.

Whats Your Goal?

Study the surf at the beaches in your area. Are you waiting for a six-foot wave? A lot of beaches can offer that. But if you expect to ride a 20-foot wave, you need to setup somewhere else, like Hawaiis north shore. You should constantly prepare your company to ride bigger waves (bigger jobs). How do the surf conditions line up with your skills? Be warned that riding those big waves without enough experience can kill you.

Next, you need to know which parts of the beach are best for surfing. Some spots may have good waves, but might be overcrowded with 50 guys already there. Take extra time to scout for innovative new spots that are not overcrowded with competition.
Surfers refer to calendars that tell them the tide conditions. They constantly keep tabs on wind and weather conditions, because unless everything is right there wont be good waves to ride. When the conditions are right, all the preparation and planning is well worth it.

In our businesses, we need to be constantly studying, training and positioning for bigger waves. We can break down the process for business to two main steps: Preparation and Positioning.

Driving along the Pacific coast, I see guys floating on their boards at dawn and I see them floating at sundown. They have made a personal commitment to be there in position for the next set of waves.

The reward they seek is to stand tall and harness the raw power of an awesome wave that they love. The reward that we seek is to ride the wave of sales and success installing some awesome home theaters in this business that we love.
I wish you long rides on big waves.