I was speaking to Andrew Still from James Dow Office Supplies in Inverness a few days ago. You know the one, “Your Office Designed and Delivered” or, alternatively “Putting Lead in Your Pencil”. Anyway, he had been having a few days off and had gone fishing with the kids. They caught some herring, and his contribution was to unhook them. The fish were presented to various grandparents. Personally, I would have cooked and eaten them myself.
Still, this did remind me of an incident about 20 years ago on a hot sunny Sunday afternoon. I thought I would take my horse down to the beach. The water was halfway up his legs when we started galloping. There was water cascading down over my helmet. Glorious!
The beach was about half a mile long and on the return leg, in slightly shallower water. I saw something floating. It was a flounder that presumably had been stunned during the first gallop. This flounder was about the size of a hand, but I took it home, and as luck would have it, there were the grandparents. The grandmother took control, prepared the flounder, grilled it and four of us had about half a forkful each. It’s times like these, non sensical though they may be, that make some of our most precious memories. Unplanned and unscripted.
When you are in business, you have so many emotion linked experiences that you tend to forget them, until something triggers a memory. Some are good and some not so good. You know what they say in business, you either win or you learn.
I think I should have learned a lot by now but Helen does not seem to think so.
And then there are those times when everything is running just fine and you start to relax. One thing I have learned over the years is that if everything is going fine, you just haven’t found out what is going wrong yet. There is always something or someone waiting to try to catch you out. It seems to be that this is the way it is in business. It is as though some strange unseen being is watching, biding its time to spring some nasty surprise on you. No point worrying about it. Hopefully, you have the systems in place to catch it before it escalates into a crisis.
Now, I can hear some of you saying that this is not true, you are on top of your game, that you are in total control of your business and there are never any unwelcome surprises. Might I suggest that this could be because you are not pushing hard enough. If you are growing and developing and operating at the edge, there will always be problems along the way for you to resolve, some expected and some not expected.
Anyway, if you do get a nasty surprise and need some help or advice, you know where to find us.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership