One of the first things novice motorcyclists learn is, “You go where you look.” A basic concept, for sure, but one that is ignored with surprising frequency. Worried about that guardrail up ahead? Stop staring or you may become more closely acquainted with it than you’d like. Hence the proliferation of helmet laws in most states, thank goodness.
The same thinking applies to business these days. We’re not advocating burying your head in the sand (10 million open jobs and no one to fill them! The Delta variant! Climate change!), but obsess over the negatives and you may find your bottom line headed in the same direction — without a helmet law to protect you from your own tunnel vision.
A better approach?
Try looking through the turn, to borrow another riding metaphor. What challenges and rewards lay just beyond your current line of sight? Maybe it’s the opportunity to partner up with someone on a new revenue stream, exploit a niche market, or benchmark your employee benefits to make sure they’re up to par.
Think of it as the motorcyclist’s version of the law of attraction. You may not find a shiny new Ducati in your driveway, but you’ll be in much better shape business-wise when the new normal becomes straight-up normal.
Now that we think about it, several other riding concepts are also applicable to the business world. A few that come to mind:
Going slow takes much greater skill than going fast. Motorcycle cops are among the most talented and disciplined riders you’ll ever meet. Take a look at this skills course video and you’ll see what we mean.
Any dope can hop on a bike (or start a business, for that matter) and go from 0-100MPH in seconds — burning cash on a pricey office, logoed tchotchkes and a fancy website without doing the hard work first. Slow down and iron out fundamentals like your target audience, buyer personas, supply chain, time to market and projected inventory levels before investing in the glitz and glamour.
The right gear can be a lifesaver. No self-respecting rider goes for a spin in shorts and flip-flops. That’s the fastest route to a bad case of road rash…or worse.
In business, the right technology is the equivalent of protective gear. It makes the ride safer, more efficient and much more enjoyable. Instead of the logoed tchotchkes mentioned above, you’re much better off investing in integrated technology that cuts down on repetitive tasks, automates the day-to-day and helps shield your business from risk.
Leaning in makes things happen. On a motorcycle, steering the handlebars isn’t the primary method of changing direction. Rather, the rider’s weight and angle of lean serve as the main steering inputs.
The lesson here? Doing something half-assed won’t get you to where you want to be. Thinking of rolling out a new service offering? Invest a solid day (or two) to outline the pros and cons, conduct a SWOT analysis, conduct some top-level competitive research and document the necessary next steps for pulling the trigger.
Never stop learning. Observe any MSF rider course and you may be surprised to find students of all ages and skill levels. Why? There’s always something new to learn or a skill to refine. And where else can you intentionally ride over two-by-fours and have fun doing it?
Business owners who rest on their laurels generally don’t last too long. If you’ve been in business for a significant length of time, it’s likely because you kept up with your craft. Think about it: 15 years ago, content marketing wasn’t even a thing. You couldn’t get an iPhone on any network but AT&T. And Pluto was still a planet.
Not the biker type? That’s OK — they’re not for everyone. But the lessons certainly are. Dress the part, know when to lean in and when to slow down, and embrace learning opportunities every chance you get.