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3 Ways Hurricane Irma and Entrepreneurship Are Extremely Similar

I’m writing this as I listen to Hurricane Irma roar outside my home.  We still have power, air conditioning, and protection.  We've been fortunate and blessed so far.  Inches outside our concrete walls and impact resistant windows, it's a different world.

My experience since hunkering down yesterday has varied.  Interestingly enough, it’s a lot like entrepreneurship.  Check out these 3 similarities between our Hurricane Irma experience (so far) and running my online marketing and e-learning site building business.

Similarity #1 –Prepare as Best You Can Given the Information Provided

I was born 5 miles from where I live today.  Hurricanes and storm prep are a part of life.  When Irma, brewing 1,500 miles away, was forecast to hit us earlier in the week, my family and I IMMEDIATELY sprang to action.  The weather centers made it clear, “This is NOT your average storm.”  There was no fooling around, especially since our community clearly remembers Hurricane Andrew and the devastation 25 years back.

But this is NOT what we always do.  Hurricane Matthew last year interrupted a trip of mine.  I flew back early from a conference I was attending in Arizona.  When I arrived at home, my family and I watched the forecasts. We didn’t immediately put up storm shutters (which is a ton of work given the shutters we have).

  • We also didn’t panic.
  • We didn't take it lightly.
  • We did NOT put up storm shutters.
  • Matthew ended up being a non-event.

For Irma, I went into action testing out the storm shutters I had never used before (we’re in a new place).  I got help and after a dozen visits to Home Depot, I protected our home best I could.  We bought the hurricane supplies (which included too much Cuban food), water in case we lose power  post storm, flashlights, etc.

Running my business is not that different.  I have analyzed my ideal customer. What do they want?  How do they think?  What sort of language, presentations, approaches, etc. is best for reaching them?

I have prepared by writing content, recording videos, publishing social media content.  I have built and configured online marketing and social media campaigns.  I have a well trained team and systems in place for delivering our customer solutions.

You absolutely must do the research and do the work necessary prep work to make sure you are as ready as possible to meet your market's demand.

Similarity #2 – Wait and Enjoy the Good Times

Once you are prepared, you have to gain perspective.  Obsessive workaholic tendencies will make a mess of your life.

We insisted on having my wife’s parents join us for this storm.  My wife’s cousin with their 4 year old daughter, Mia, joined us.  My daughter friend, that’s new in town, didn’t want to spend a hurricane alone.  My wife’s best childhood friend visiting from Puerto Rico was stuck here.

So yesterday we are fully prepared…waiting.  And I mean waiting a long time.  Irma has been the slowest moving storm I've ever experienced.

Running a business is a lot like that.  You’ve done the prep work.  You’ve put the necessary systems in place.  Then you wait.  A customer that says they were going to close right away is delayed.  A project you planned to complete in a few weeks requires a hold because some dependency didn't come through.  So you have to wait and you can't really do much to speed things up.

If you’re a churchgoer like I am, you may have heard the expression, “God, give me patience and please hurry up.”  It doesn’t work that way.

Business cannot be all out work.  It has it’s ups and downs.  There are times when you have no choice but to block out your personal life because your business needs it.  There are other time when we can actually take it easy.  We have a tendency NOT to slow down because we are so:

  • driven,
  • panicked,
  • worried, or
  • obsessed with our fear of failure.

That typically leads us to neglect our loved ones.

Yesterday as we waited for this Irma to show up, we spent a lot of time talking.  We've had several meals together.  Mia and I walked the dog when the weather permitted, and get this, we chatted with neighbors a few blocks over.  I've never done that before.  We played Monopoly with the players spanning 5 decades in age.  We worked on puzzles.

When does that ever happen?

As much as I want my business to succeed, I most want my life to succeed.  Missing out on times with the people we know and love is a mistake.

Similarity #3 – Analyze the Results and Adjust

As I watch these now tropical storm force winds hit our house, I am watching the results of hard work.  We prepared for this storm.  The windows are protected.  No one will starve.  (Believe me.  We have enough food to keep us for weeks.)

However, we may have a mishap.  We did prepare for the worse, but something can still happen.  Our roof may leak.  We may have a branch from our neighbor's massive tree fly in our direction.  We could have a car in our driveway get hit by a palm tree.  (We have a ton of palms that shouldn’t fall down in a storm, but you never know.)

The unexpected will happen and our job is to respond.

So we need to stay alert and monitor what’s happening carefully.  And when something requires you respond, you respond the best you can given all your prep work.

Hope this helps!!