Leaving my hotel for the trip home after a wonderful four days, I knew what was coming too. Refueling the car, making sure to have plenty of water, reassuring my mind of the emergency kit kept in the trunk because you never know what may happen I set off not knowing yet hoping like the rest of us that it wouldn't be as intense as predicted. Greeted with a welcome to Connecticut also brought on a new normal for what ended up for the majority as an 11-14 day black out.
Debris, enormous tree limbs and orange cones peppered the normally tree-lined neighborhoods of West Hartford, blocking the path to home. High beams on full alert, the alternative was getting back on the highway. Wishing for a blinking yellow street light felt like home but was not meant to be. Pushing forward the next exit brought more of the same. Third time is the victor as I finally see familiar paths to my front door.
Even in pitch dark the full lens of what transpired painted a picture indelibly as with suitcase in hand, cerebral steps across an icy front lawn made for keen awareness of the danger surrounding every move. Painstakingly trying to keep balance. Eerily quiet calm. Not a creature was stirring. Keys in hand the front door opened an oasis truly embraced as home sweet home conjured new breath.
Candles lit and stove on for tea and warmth, accessing began. Not like I waited until hitting the front door but now have can match the reality with the list. The preparation is all in the planning and execution. I lamented. The next morning the rest of my crew from the traveling caravan connected as most powered phones in cars, malls or anyone fortunate enough to have a good generator lent a helping hand to those less fortunate. Well some did anyway.
The anger and ignorance of some gave a pregnant pause as it was now everyone's problem for those failing to be proactive. Extended gas lines, markets turning folks away as failed freezers meant compromised food sources, tying the hands of management and staff. Witnessing individuals, some professionals, who under any other headline would never seemingly find themselves in that position, argued their point of survival over the last sausage link on the planet. I lamented.
Forecasting was key. If you lived in Peru you knew that New England was about to take a hit, yet the element of surprise and entitlement stifled the pleasant air of my town. The same mentality exists with some who think they can run a successful business without forecasting. Without checking the customer climate, not counting the cost, energy and skill of running a business with organization causes failure. Playing into the blame game instead of looking at the man in the mirror. Failure to launch, communicate and move forward with agile spells epic failure.
So many businesses have closed over the last year because a huge portion miscalculated, they failed to keep up with their objectives. Not because the customers dried up. When you take up entrepreneurship you must know what you are getting into. Appreciating good art does not make you an artist any more than the appeal to start a business means you should. We always see one hit wonders, some pan out where the creator or inventor can make millions and walk away, for the majority it becomes ground hog day.
You go by way of the proverbial networking route. Meeting and greeting, passing out cards. Possibly connecting. You formulate lazy eye marketing. Random target focus. Tooling the effervescent email blast to individuals you barely made eye contact with, hoping the words reach the heart and create a relationship in the mind. Come on folks! Back in the day you had to work harder than that to retain a pen pal.
Remember after the 2011 storm, like other weather events, people were practically holding hands in Kumbaya? Sure you do. When the ice cleared and the lights came back on the oh so familiar air of realism hit with a vengeance as warm embraces, paying for other's coffee at the local Starbucks and holding open the polite door began the descent into past tense. Disingenuous acts loom but don't last. Hard sell with a smile is done in case you missed the memo. You'd better giddy up for the bare bones, hit the ground running work that comes with ownership of your actions and reactions to all things business and beyond. We all know when we are treated with civility or with true intent of engagement.
Showing up to the party takes more than meets the eye. But you know this so, so why the drink-wash-repeat method. You know who you are. You make what you think are noteworthy appearances at networking meetings as if you were brought in special to sign autographs. You might seek out new ones but mostly rely on others to spread your good name. I have a not so secret for you: creating and spreading your good name is your primary responsibility, keeping a good name means working for it the rest of your life.
Rid yourself of the temperamental invite. The bait and switch of if you come to my event I'll support yours. This does not work well as availability changes and no one is going to compromise substantial business to attend an event. Be a grown up and handle the idea of sharing events as viable means in offering extended growth instead of bartering for time.Make an effort to really connect, go to other events outside of your comfort zone. This is prime flea market, expo and outdoor show time season. Your business cards should not be bun warmers.
Which reality are you connected to if you believe the only way to advance lies in the hands of what you did yesterday. Your potential and current base can shrink and fade quicker than a bad bleach job. You have to plan for success instead of thinking you deserve it. Sure you deserve it if you worked for it but we all have the same hope of going beyond the line, making it.
Know yourself, know your business and become aware of what works-and this changes often. If you are working on local business do you know what that really is. Are you ready to supply and demand against those aligned in the same model. There is room for all but why do I want to do business with you on any level. Throwing hooks with zero follow through is a ridiculous waste of time.
The goal is to build your business. When it does happen do not resent those who cannot support the same events. You will know their success because you will see and hear about it so stop the hating. Perpetual networking for the eats is a reputation killer and does not gain you any friends. If the first thing you grab for is a drink upon arriving at a networking event may spell a deeper concern needing your attention .
When you receive an invite for an event it is bad form to habitually hold out for the better opportunity. Over time you cancel yourself out of potentially untapped resources not seen by the naked eye. Do not get caught up in the befoolery. http://www.floralgreenspublishing.com/pillar-to-post/keeping-up-appearances. There is no ROI for ignorant's sticker shock and rarely a refund.
It's not all about showing me the money but how you got there. I need to know the story. You should feel very uncomfortable with cookie cutter homogenized effort. Might work for a while not the long haul. Gear up building the right type of materials for your business. Research, research, research. Prepare properly for your atmosphere. Stop the crass competition and infighting which cracks infrastructure. And, if you are showing up to the party to gather information-I see you and I'm just pausing because your forecast is changing before your very eyes.
Preparedness is your business, the way people respond to it is theirs.
Alas, the long 2011 storm's aftermath reiterated hope impacting in kaleidoscope fashion. May it offer life and business lessons while casting a candid cautionary tale.
Until next time~