We did it!

After all the preparation, we hiked the French Alps – from Megève, near Switzerland, to Menton, on the French Riviera. During The Hike, I had many hours for ‘daily contemplation.’ I noticed how much hiking is like building a business. I’d like to share a few of those thoughts with you.

Aim high/dream big! When I set The Hike as my goal, I was reaching well beyond my comfort zone and boundaries. But with the right plan, the right guide, and the right equipment, anything is possible. Then, to execute it’s just one foot in front of the other. You can do it, whatever ‘it’ is.

Have a plan and set the right pace! If you’re just “going for a walk,” you can often get by without a guide, maps, or training. Anything else, you’ll need to map out where you’re going (and how). Sit down with an expert and set a pace that won’t leave you gasping for air – yet will keep you moving toward your goals (Our new colleague, Sanford Friedman, can help.)

Use the best equipment possible! One of our fellow hikers had a borrowed backpack with 2 mismatched shoulder straps, no hip belt, etc. Within 2 hours on our first day, she was already in trouble. How about your business? Are your contracts cobbled together from a previous employer? If you’re in it for the duration, get something that fits you right and will last.

Get an experienced guide! If you’re just starting out, whether mountaineering or in business, it’s paramount to have the right expert by your side. A guide will help develop your approach strategy – corporation or LLC, brand protection, risk management, etc. Listen to and use experts!

Have short-term goals! Each day, we knew where we were going, and what we might see at two hours out, at four hours, and so on. We didn’t just aim for the hut at the end of the day. It is important to have intermediate goals to maintain a sense of accomplishment, otherwise your hike might turn into a death march.

Anticipate bad weather! We walked into many a fog bank and rain on days that started sunny. Do your contracts and your business strategy cover you in good times – and also anticipate stormy weather?

“Everyone” can walk, so hiking should be a piece of cake – right? I have heard clients say the same about agreements – “contracts are all alike”, “anyone” can make a contract, “we’ll just write it in Plain English”, or “borrow” pieces from someone else. Often, what “everyone knows” is just not true. If these thoughts have crossed your mind, please do check out Contracts 101 and find out for yourself that “Plain English” is not always what it seems.