Let Your Lessons Learned On the Water Help Your Business

Obviously your fishing knowledge will help your business. If you had little to no fishing knowledge, your store would surely be hurting at this point. Who wants to buy fishing tackle from someone who doesn’t fish? That knowledge, though, can do more than just be passed on to customers – use it to help grow your business.

Fishing is a sport, a lifestyle, and a metaphor for life and business. The lessons you have learned from the hours spent on the water can be used to grow your business better than what you’ll find in any business management book. You just have to realize what you have learned and how it can be applied to your store.

The Little Things Matter
Fishing line for the most part is thin and small, yet it can make the difference in how a lure is fished. So too can the knot you tie make the difference on a lure’s action, or if the lure stays on your line. Each piece of your fishing equipment, and how it interacts with each other from the lure, to the knot, to the line, to the rod and reel, matters. If you’re throwing the wrong lure, with too heavy of line tied on improperly, you will have difficulty catching a fish. The same can be said about your store. If you do not take care of the little things and make sure that they matter, you may never catch all of the customers you could. Think of your business like a fishing setup. Your inventory is the lure, your employees the knot, your management staff is the line, your advertising and marketing plans the rod and reel. You are the angler – will you catch your customer limit? Or will you end up empty-handed?

Match The Hatch
Each member of your staff is as different as each species of fish in your local waters. Some are bottom feeders; some are aggressive and like to cause the water to ripple. Your job as their boss, or boss’s boss is to be sure you’re feeding them what they need. You wouldn’t throw a giant billfish lure into a trout stream and expect to catch much would you? While this is extreme, think about how your employees are, and how they like to be treated. Do they need one-on-one attention, or do they prefer to work more independently? Find out what makes each one tick, and what you can do to help him or her be the most effective in his or her job. Match the hatch and watch your employees rise to the top.

Know Your Water
Knowing your local waters is not only necessary to ensure results when you do finally get a chance to go fishing, but is also important in business. Knowing what is going on in your community will help you plan sales and staffing. Knowing how your customers react to holidays, seasonal changes and other shifts that impact their lives will help you sell more when the time is right, and save money when needed. Knowing where fish will be during certain conditions is the same as knowing where customers will be at certain times of the year. The more you know about how both react to changing conditions, the more successful you will be.

Ask for Advice
If there is one thing most anglers have more of than fishing tackle, it is advice. Go to a local body of water and ask a senior angler for some advice and you’ll get more than you’ll ever remember. If you listen though, the really good anglers will never give away their secret spots or techniques. The same is true in business. Ask fellow business owners for advice and be ready to get more than you could ever remember. They too, though, may hold back a trade secret or two. The key to finding that wise angler’s secret fishing spot, or that wise entrepreneur’s secret to success is to sit back and watch. Eventually both will go to their honey hole, you just have to be sure you’re ready to see how they get there and what they do while there.

Be Ethical
Ethics is something most anglers claim to have, but there are always a few bad eggs that ruin the batch. The same is true in business; a few less upstanding individuals make other business owners look bad. Ethics is not what you do when customers are in front of you; it is what you do when no one is looking. Do you keep that extra fish, or fudge a few numbers to pay fewer taxes? Both are wrong, and both carry serious consequences if caught. Be ethical and remember you have to look at yourself in the mirror every day and know what you have or haven’t done.

Be Prepared
If you were ever a scout, you know how true the motto of always being prepared is. In fishing you need to be prepared for that unexpected change in conditions, or what the fish are feeding on, or for a piece of equipment that fails at the wrong time. Business is the same. No one has a crystal ball and can predict what tomorrow will bring. The really good businesses are prepared for whatever comes their way.

Grip and Grin
When you catch a really big one, you want to remember it, and if possible you take a few pictures of it. Not only to brag, but also to help get you through those tough days when you’re stuck inside your store working and not fishing. When you have a great sale, or a great day at work, do the same. Find a way to capture that memory and post it somewhere near your desk. When you’re having a tough day or need inspiration, look at that memory and let it recharge you and get you back to work. Everyone deserves a chance to show off – do yours on and off the water.

These are just seven ways fishing can help you be a better manager and a better owner. Surely you can find other lessons you’ve learned from fishing that can translate into solid business lessons. The next time you need help deciding on a course of action for your store, think of the lessons you’ve learned on the water. Share yours with us on our Facebook page or on our LinkedIn group. It will be interesting to read what your thoughts are.