I enjoy watching the show “Deadliest Catch” on the Discovery channel. I confess, I’ve watched it since the beginning and thanks to DVR, I’ve never missed an episode. Just the other night a quote by the late Phil Harris, Captain of the Cornelia Marie, was shared by his son, Josh Harris, that really struck me:
“Stick and stay and make it pay.” – Captain Phil Harris, Cornelia Marie
Josh Harris was referring to one of his father’s best, albeit hardest, crabbing spots. The quote means to stay with it; don’t leave too early. I find this is so true for so many business owners, including crab fisherman who own their own fishing vessels. This year I’ve been working on a weekly newsletter to help business owners grow their businesses and watching the unsubscribes with genuine curiosity: who is leaving too soon? Have those I have been watching unsubscribe missed that every business owner needs to be willing to “stick and stay” with their businesses long enough to make them pay out and receive the benefits of having a business they love. Growing your business doesn’t happen overnight, just like crab pots don’t always fill with crab overnight. I’ve seen pots pulled with no crab, with the wrong type of crab and with what they call “riders” – so many crabs they can’t all get into the pot.
Growing your business takes planning ahead
I believe it is possible for every business owner to have a business and life they love, but I know success can seem elusive and here in California the small business failure rate is higher than the national average and was found to be first in the nation in a 2015 study for the highest failure rate for small businesses in their first two years. When starting a business, planning for growth is important, but having infrastructure in place to avoid failure is necessary, too. Business owners need to have the resources and strategies ready to “stick and stay and make it pay.” Here in San Luis Obispo, we have a lot of agricultural businesses with the wine industry and if a crop doesn’t produce, a business could lose everything before they even begin, which is why I encourage owners to really think ahead and plan so that they can stick with it. Your business plan should include a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C in case things go wrong or simply take longer to produce results (it takes 3 years from planting a grapevine to first harvest). Not enough crabs in your pot on the first day will mean you still have to pay your employees, fuel expenses and business overhead – did you plan for that? A business that plans ahead can stick with it!
Growing your business means sticking through doubt
Before reaching success, business owners will go through the Cycle of Change with their business and pass between optimism and pessimism, balance and overwhelm. Only those who push through will produce results and have a business they love. This is where I believe what is sourcing the unsubscribes I am seeing and I think Josh Harris was talking his way through his quandary to the camera. He was really addressing should he stay, or should he go since they were not filling their crab pots. New businesses begin with certainty that they will succeed, but doubt sets in and this is the make or break point where the fallout occurs. If you can stick and stay… hope returns which will bring back confidence and satisfaction as you can “make it pay” by bringing your business to a place where it becomes profitable (by the way, Josh Harris repositioned his pots on his father’s crabbing site and began pulling “stuffed” pots).
I don’t believe the statistic that 3 of every 4 businesses in California “fails” in their first two years. I think some simply don’t get the help they need and then they don’t stick and stay long enough to allow their business the time it takes to become profitable.