“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford
Amen to that quote! I have never heard a story of an entrepreneur, a business owner, a professional athlete…Anyone that has achieved any level of success, that didn’t begin with some mistakes; a failure. We all have fails and losses – no one has a zero in the “L” column…Unless they haven’t truly started, or they’re in denial.
The story of Go-Go Babyz is no different. We have plenty of losses, plenty of fails, and plenty of falls. Our story is not just a rise and fall and a rise again. It’s more like a drive through the rolling hills. Plenty of climbs, turns, bumps, drops, ups, and downs. It’s not always as pleasant as a drive through the hills, however. Sure, there was some great scenery along the way, but when you are consumed with how to pull through and get out of the hole or you are worrying how you will make the mortgage this month or pay for groceries, your child’s camp or birthday party…You don’t always notice the wildflowers blooming in the hills on the side of the road.
The good news is we always found the off-ramp before we totally crashed. We did have a few fender benders along the way, but we made it off. It might not have been the exit we were aiming for, but you know what they say…”any port in a storm”. And, maybe the crashes were a bit more than fender benders, but who’s keeping score?
I am actually. If I don’t pay attention to the crashes, how can I learn from them and prevent them from happening again? That is how I get back up – I find the lesson in the losses, the crashes, and the falls. Let me be the first to admit – I don’t always get it the first time! I wish I could say I learned my lesson after each fail, but I don’t. Yes, I learned from each one, but some of them I needed to repeat for it to really sink in. I guess you could say I needed some extra crash courses to really drive the lesson home – puns fully intended.
One very important lesson I have learned through my experience in business is that there is usually a quiet time leading up to the fall, “the calm before the storm.” Its light the silence before the thunder after lightning strikes, you know it is coming but it still makes you jump. Only in business, the crash of thunder doesn’t usually come as fast. Everything seems to be going along just fine; things are looking good, feeling good. Sales are growing, the business is expanding…and complacency starts to kick in. I seem to have a barometer that measures the health of the business. When things are good, it sends a signal to my transmission to downshift. Sometimes into neutral and that is not good because then I am just coasting, idling. A friend of mine has a saying….”If I’m coasting too long, I’m going downhill.” How right he is.
When I get complacent, the business slows and becomes vulnerable. We aren’t on offense or defense; we are just sitting on the bench. The sideline is nowhere to be if you want to succeed. Success doesn’t happen on the sideline, you have to get in the game. Of course, this is just my story; others might not have the calm before the storm. They might not become complacent – but this is my story, my lesson. This is one of the ones that took a few classes to get right…lesson learned, hopefully.
The worst fall that went down like this was the one described in the previous part. So, if you just hopped on now, I suggest going back to part 1 – they are all pretty short.
Next time, I’ll get into the next big rise of the fallen…
Owner – Operator, & Dad