By Maurie Cashman
O + P = R. Perhaps I am coining a new phrase (wouldn’t that be something?). The equation is Opportunity plus Preparation equals Results (O + P = R). This is really just an interpretation of the old axiom, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I don’t happen to believe in luck, which is why I am able to remain a Chicago Cubs fan after 47 years. If you rely on luck to win, you are very likely to be disappointed.
I have heard another old axiom repeatedly over the years: “I’d rather be lucky than good.” My perspective on that is that luck did not play a role in the ball going between Leon Durham’s legs in the deciding game of the NLCS against the Padres, luck had nothing to do with Steve Bartman snatching the foul ball from Moises Alou leading to a defensive meltdown against the Marlins in the 2003 NLCS series. A lack of preparation is what led to those teams’ losses.
The same can be said if you depend on luck in your business. Preparation includes assembling a strong group of advisors today so that you can utilize the power of the network to take advantage of opportunities when the present themselves or to know in advance how you will react to events when they occur, and they will.
Planning vs Reacting
Planning after an event occurs is not planning, it is reacting. There is an axiom often used that I believe is thought provoking. It is E + R = O, Event + Reaction = Outcome. I believe that there is much truth in this in dealing with day-day issues and problems and in not over-reacting to events, creating bigger problems.
However, if you are reacting to events without preparing yourself in advance with the support of a network of strong advisors, then I would argue that you are simply putting out fires. You may be doing that very effectively, but you will not be prepared to handle large events when they present themselves. Like the Chicago Cubs, if not properly prepared, you may not be able to put out the fire.
The Power of a Network
The power of a network is something that I have come to recognize slowly over the course of my career. In my early days I prided myself on being an independent thinker and many of my early successes came from going against the current to create solutions to problems that were blocked by the status quo. However, I have come to realize that leveraging that creativeness by working with others who are experts in their field in a trusting relationship brings far greater results for our collective clients.
Last week we talked about surrounding yourself with advisors who listen to your needs and desires before formulating and providing you with their opinion of what you should do. It is equally important that you have a networked group of advisors. The power of this network is to bring different perspectives which, when synthesized into an overall plan, will create for you an ownership transition plan that will achieve your final objectives and goals.
I am not an attorney, tax accountant or CPA, insurance expert or financial planner. While I know something about each of those areas, I believe that I am a generalist whose primary skill set lies in working with business owners and their expert advisors to create, negotiate and execute the best ownership transition plans available. I cannot, and do not, attempt to do that alone. Instead, I prefer to use the power of a network of like-minded advisors.
Create a strong support network
When you’ve fallen on hard times, it’s easy to let yourself become weighed down with negative thoughts. Erik Wilson, founder and CEO of Pozify, urged fellow entrepreneurs not to let this happen. One way to pull yourself out of a negative mind-set is to connect with people who push you to be your best, most confident self.
“Surround yourself with people who want to be with you and who help you stay accountable, authentic, honest, happy and open-minded,” Wilson said. “Seek people who push you to constantly keep growing and evolving.”
If you prepare in advance with the help of a strong network of advisors, you will greatly increase your odds a successful transition of the ownership of your business on your terms, rather than reacting to an event and having a succession event on someone else’s terms.
© 2016 Aspen Grove Investments, Inc.