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Are You Doing These 3 Things? (If Not, Your Business Will Die)

March 28, 2014

Mann GulchOn August 5,1949 there was a fire in Helena National Forest in Montana. A team of 15 smokejumpers parachuted into the area to fight the fire

As the team approached the fire to begin fighting it, unexpected high winds caused the fire to suddenly expand, cutting off the men’s route and forcing them back uphill and a “blow-up” of the fire covered 3000 acres in 10 minutes, claiming the lives of 12 of the smokejumpers.

Three of the smokejumpers survived.

One of them, foreman Wagner Dodge did so by setting a escape fire to lie in, so that the main fire would burn around him and his crew. With the fire he was fighting less than a hundred yards behind, he took a match and set fire to the grass just before him and his men.

Two other survivors managed to escape through a crevice in a rock ridge, even though going in they had no idea if it actually went through to the other side or would be a blind trap due to the dense smoke of the fire.

Could Your Business Survive?

I’m telling you this story, because it has three big things you must do if you want your business to last…

1. Understand That Conditions Change – When these guys went into the fire, it was behaving a certain way, but as the team begin its work, unexpected high winds caused the fire to suddenly expand. This cut off the men’s initial route and plan of action.

This is how all industries work, especially with technology moving for quickly.

What is happening right now in your industry likely won’t be happening (at least in the same way) very long.

And when things do change…

2. You Must Be Flexible – Every man in the smokejumper crew went into the situation with a heavy gear. When the situation changed, Dodge ordered his to throw away their packs and tools. Only some did.

Tools work in certain situations, but not others. And when you’re in a situation where the tools you have won’t work, they’ll slow you down.

Too often, we also find one thing that works and stick with it, even when it has diminishing (and ultimately zero) effectiveness.

Business is changing all the time. You need to change with it.

Be flexible.

3. Take Chances – Like the two smokejumpers who managed to escape through a crevice in a rock ridge, you also need to take chances. The full path is almost never clear and sometimes rolling the dice is the best option you’ve got.

When you take chances, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But if you sit still and don’t do anything, you will always lose, because everything around you is changing.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

When you’re having success, it’s easy to think it will never end. But everything ends.

To have longterm success, you must constantly be reinventing yourself and the way you do business.

The good news is that new opportunity is constantly popping up and when you take into account the three things above, you’ll be in a great position to take advantage of it.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Friday, I give tips on how to build the foundation needed to have a successful business and platformSee other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for me to cover something specific, let me know via Twitter.

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