Being an entrepreneur in rural Nebraska can be tough. Not because Nebraska has suffered overly in the face of the economic downturn, but simply because customers can be few and far between in the outback.
Coming from a small town in the heart of the Great Plains, I have to take quite a bit of good natured ribbing for being an unapologetic fan of the Discovery Channel's show Deadliest Catch. Now, however, I have a perfect example of why this television show is worth watching. As I've said before, crab fishing in the Bering Sea is a long way from Nebraska. But I definitely see similarities between the tough, hard working characters on a crab boat and the hardy farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs who call Nebraska home.
Five Things Deadliest Catch Teaches Small Business Owners
I watch TV.
Most of it sucks.
Deadliest Catch does not.
Part of its appeal is not so much the drama of fishing on the Bering Sea but riding along with Sig and Jonathan and the rest of the guys and watching them lead, manage and operate their small businesses.
Here are five key things I take away:
1. Know Who You Are.
You hear it time and time again but it bears repeating. If you are not crystal clear about what you do and why you are doing it, no one else will be. Most of the Deadliest Catch guys are second or third generation fisherman. It’s not like they have identity issues. But for many of us forging a new path, we sometimes question if it is the right one. Don’t. Be bold. Build a boat and launch it. It’s the only way to get collaborators and customers on board.
2. Fish for Crab. Don’t Herd Cats.
Know your market. And don’t waste time going up and down different channels and pockets of opportunity you THINK will pan out. Find your freakin’ crab. Know everything about them. And make sure they are keepers. You want big fat crab, not kitties. Kitties are solo and hide and want to be left alone. You want customers that are part of a tribe, hanging out together, waiting to be scooped up and…well…not eaten….but you know.
3. It’s Gonna Get Rough Sometimes.
It’s not easy. 90% of businesses are gone in five years. It’s usually money or poor planning or not knowing #1 or #2. No matter what you do it is going to take a herculean effort to break into calm waters where MAYBE one day you can coast for awhile. And as soon as you do, another boat passes you by or a storm kicks up and you’re right back in it. It ain’t easy, I know firsthand, but dammit, you just have to power through.
4. Form a Band of Brothers.
Gotta have a crew. Even if you are running solo, you need to have a group of peers you can meet with to bounce ideas off of and hold you accountable. Otherwise you’ll start to feel sorry for yourself because the crazy idea you had isn’t quite working out. Well guess what? That idea was crazy. And you didn’t know it because you kept it all locked up in your head. Get out there. Get some partners. Collaborate. Help people. It will all come back.
5. There Has To be a Big Payoff.
Come on. I mean why are you busting your ass? It’s no fun if you’re not building something that will take you somewhere. Somthing that excites you because it opens the door to other possibilities. Dream big or go home. Watch Jonathan when the Time Bandit is on crab. He’s like a kid. THAT’S when it gets fun. That’s when your hard work pays off. Because you’ve done #1-4 and now there’s a reward. Go out and do the same. Get yours. You deserve it.What did I tell you? Is this a great show or what? You can see it every Tuesday night at 8pm (Central Time) on the Discovery Channel. And just about every other night of the week in reruns.