Recently I attended a fishing seminar hosted by Saltwater Sportsman Magazine and my friend, George Poveromo. In fishing, like business, it is a smart idea to learn as much as you can from the experts. I love to learn and then see how I can add my own personal twist to what I have learned.
In the seminar, George had several local guides there to teach us the secrets to catch trophy sea trout and redfish on Texas Gulf coast. My two favorite presenters were James Plaag and my friend Sally Black. Both are local legends and both know how to keep things simple. Just like in business, simplicity leads to success and complexity leads to chaos in fishing and James and Sally kept things simple.
One of the main reasons the professional fishing guides are better that this than the rest of us is very simple. They fish more than we do. They are on the water over 200 days per year and we are not. Most of us weekend anglers are lucky to fish 20 to 30 days per year. So Repetition is one thing that makes those 20% more successful. If you have ever read anything by Malcolm Gladwell, you will know that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. The professionals have those 10,000 hours plus under their belts.
The second key to angler success is Patterns. If you are on the water every day you will be able to predict how the fish react due to the conditions. In business you should be able to predict how your customers will react to your advertising and marketing. That is, if you measure how they react to it! Recently I met a lovely young lady who was doing some advertising for a local car wash. She was attending several networking events each week and handing out coupons for a free carwash. I asked her how she knew what coupons came from which event, and she had no idea. So how could she track the pattern? There was no way. I had her grab all of her coupons back and then she wrote a code on the back. Now if that coupon comes back, she knows exactly where it came from and she can start to track what advertising was driving clients to her business.
The last key that I learned from James and Sally was you have to have a Contingency Plan. We have all heard the famous quote “the best laid plans of mice and men”. Well in fishing and business, that is so true. For some reason the weatherman is never right, the wind blows when it’s not supposed too, and it rains when it is supposed to be sunny. Your client is supposed to show for a meeting and for some reason they forget. If you do not have a backup plan your time is wasted. These backup plans can save the day and lead to more success than you have ever thought possible.