By Nathan Dean
Fighter pilots have an awesome responsibility. It takes a unique person to become one. The personality style usually includes large doses of self-confidence, a can-do attitude, high self-esteem and a willingness to face and overcome challenges. Defeat is not an option, for they know it could mean their death.
Successful small business owners have similar characteristics. They are entrepreneurial, self-confident, motivated, and willing to risk failure. Defeat is not an option for them either, because it means the death of their business.
What does a successful small business owner have in common with a “fighter pilot”? Both of them have discovered the winning success formula.
Plan before doing anything. Develop a plan or process for how you will succeed, including contingencies for unanticipated events or situations.
Test before implementation. Check out your resources and put your project or new product through a test-run (pilot program).
Understand the extent of your resources. Fighter pilots know what they need, how much they need and when they will need to replace things. Take time to thoroughly evaluate the quantity and quality of the resources you will need.
Build in some “wiggle” room. Expect that your plans will change in route. Be prepared to respond quickly and make course corrections as necessary.
Train…train…train. Fighter pilots train before a fight. They know they are capable of winning. Small business owners must engage in lifelong learning and skill enhancement. It’s not enough to be skilled at what you do, you must develop a competitive edge to your skills, and constantly look for ways to increase them.
Assess the competition. Perform a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Determine your areas of vulnerability and develop plans to overcome them.
Know your own capabilities. Like the fighter pilot, the successful small business owner must be capable of winning. Consider your potential, competence and aptitude for success. Ask yourself if you want to win; then prepare to do so.