Following the Leader

Posted on April 14, 2014 by ATB Chartered Accountants

Here I am again, trying to find similarities between my two greatest passions in my life, aside from my beautiful wife and daughters.

Those of you who have had the time to get to know me may have picked up a few things about my life and what I really love doing. One of them is riding motorbikes, and another is helping business people start thinking about their business and ways in which they can shape it to take them where they want to go in life.

Obviously riding a motor bike is not something that you just pick up and do well from the get go, it takes plenty of time in the saddle, and plenty of scares along the way. I can tell you quite honestly I have had times when I hadn’t planned a corner, or not allowed for road conditions and the sensation is one that I do not want to repeat. The reality is that learning to ride a bike is similar to learning how to run a business. You can’t possibly expect to start a business and not make any mistakes or get any scares along the way. The important thing not only in business but in everything we do is to ensure that we learn from our mistakes and hopefully make choices or decisions which will minimise the scare factor in our lives.

There have been times while riding a bike that I have not gone into a corner at the best spot; this ultimately resulted in me fumbling through it shaky and not really confident where I would come out. It’s pretty horrifying when you can see your error is going to take you really close to the double lines, and even scarier when you cross those lines; where it is only pure luck that you make it through it unscathed.

Like anything in the world, practice makes perfect, and if not perfect it certainly gives you a fighting chance at getting better at whatever it might be you are practising. With motorbike riding the way to speed up your learning is to follow a rider who is better than you are. You look at where they position themselves coming into a corner and watch for when they hit the gas. Doing this and adding an element of insanity you can push yourself to get through the corner far quicker and surprisingly enough with far more confidence than doing it alone. (A strong word of warning: make sure you are convinced that the person you are going to follow is in fact a better rider and not someone with a death wish).

So as a business owner, we should be looking at what successful business people are doing around us, and see if we can apply some of what they do well into our own business. There is a lot to be learnt from someone who has already made the mistakes, learned from these and moved forward. Keep in mind that following someone may not necessarily take you to where you want to go.

Always keep in mind what your final destination is, and know when it is time to make your own way.

By Jim Vass

This article is provided as general information only and does not consider your specific situation, objectives or needs. It does not represent accounting advice upon which any person may act. Implementation and suitability requires a detailed analysis of your specific circumstances.