In my twenties, I spent some time in Bend, Oregon. During this time, I learned to fly fish and spent a lot of time on East and Paulina Lakes south of town. One of my favorite times to fish was late May and early June because there was a mayfly hatch going on almost every day.

At this time of the year, tens of thousands of mayflies leave their burrows in the bottom of the lake and head to the surface. Once they make it to the surface, they shed their exoskeleton and have to wait for their wings to dry before they can fly. Well, during this time, they encounter a threat from hungry Rainbow Trout. The trout can gorge themselves on the mayflies, and this becomes a wonderful feeding and growth opportunity for them.

If you spend any time on these two lakes, you will notice several Osprey (or fish-hawk) nests. It just so happens that their eggs have recently hatched, and their hatchlings need to eat. Osprey are one of the most efficient predators on Rainbow Trout. The trout are now very vulnerable to Osprey attacks when they are feeding on the mayflies. So now the feeding opportunity has turned in to a game of life and death (the ultimate risk/reward). The trout are also very vulnerable to anglers who have at least some fly fishing skills.

You may be asking yourself now, Mike, how does this affect my business?

This is very simple when we look at it. Mother Nature has put together a series of events in which some species thrive, while others face a myriad of threats, but all of the species need to co-exist in order for each to be successful. And these events are very predictable. These types of events are also very predictable in our business once we study them to see how they ebb and flow.

When was the last time you inventoried all of your business’ threats and opportunities?

What companies are involved in both your threats and opportunities? Have you evaluated how can you form strategic partnerships with them to either capitalize more efficiently on the opportunity or lessen your exposure to the threat?

In business, we need to embrace the threats because they keep us on our toes and force us to become better in order to avoid them, and this assists us in becoming better at seizing the opportunities as well.