Do you play games? 

Board games? 

I do.  

Did you know that about me?  I like many different types of games.  I play most games the same way.  I want to know the objective, how the game is scored, and the guidelines.  Then as I play, I start to develop a process or strategy to play the game.  I do the best I can.  

If you think about it, entrepreneurship is a bit like playing board games.  Let’s use a simple childhood game like snakes and ladders.  

In this game, we role die and move on the board.  Depending on where we land, we can move up a ladder and get ahead quickly, or we might land on a snake and sliiiiiidddddeeeee down.   The objective is to get to the top of the board first.  Scoring is simple—the first player to the top wins.  The guidelines are simple, too—only one roll per turn.  The opportunity to roll rotates around the players.  If you land on a ladder, climb if you land on a snake, slide.  

Don’t you wish life and business were this simple? 

I digress.     

In my business, I roll and take a chance on a blog post, a social media post, a lead magnet, a talk, a new course, etc.  All of these are actions I take to move up the board.

Sometimes, I get a win/ladder.  Like an unexpected opportunity.  A post that does better than expected,  a great decision, or a good hire.  

Other times, I get a loss/snake, which pulls me down.  This could be a launch delay or a software solution that doesn’t work.  It could be a bad review. 

The ladders and the snakes can be big or small.  They can happen within minutes.  Sometimes we can recover quickly.  Other times it takes longer.  

Sometimes we land on something that seems like an obstacle but can turn into a benefit.  Such as a small snake that lets you land on a giant ladder.

The objective is to keep going up the board to grow and serve as many people as possible.  Perhaps each square of the board can be representative of another person served. 

I play most games the same way too.  I’m sure it says a lot about me.  I like to enjoy the game.  I want it to last a while.  I want the other players to enjoy the game too.  Therefore, I play nice.  I don’t decimate people.  But when I get to the top, I play to win.

My goal is to smooth out the bumps and to create smaller ladders and smaller snakes.  Sure, I’d like to avoid the snakes altogether, but life happens, and sometimes the snakes end up creating amazing opportunities.  To prevent the snakes entirely would mean doing nothing.  That is not what the life of an entrepreneur is all about. 

I will take action.  I will continue to move forward.  Even knowing that I will come across the snakes.  My goal is to hit the snake and recover quickly.

My plan, my processes, and my systems are how  I smooth out the bumps.  I also take advantage of the ladders when they come and ride out the snakes when they hit.  

My plans keep me focused, on track, and on task.  They also help me re-plan and modify quickly when the snakes get in the way.   My processes and systems all me to keep everything moving even when the unexpected bump happens or allow me to delegate to take on a fantastic opportunity. 

My plans, processes, and systems are like insurance for my business. 

I love what I do.  So I won’t stop playing the game.  I accept that sometimes I’ll move along the board when I throw the dice, other times I’ll climb a ladder, and sometimes I’ll find a snake.  I also know that I have built some amazing safety nets.  

What do you do to smooth out the bumps? What are your safety nets?   

Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill