I just returned from an overnight hiking/camping outing with my son’s Boy Scout Troop to somewhere in NE Alabama. Yesterday, everything was great: weather, timing, hike in, lunch on the trail. Then it started raining, and hasn’t stopped. The last hike we did was Blood Mountain on January 3, when it was 38* and raining, with 40mph winds at the top of the mountain. But we knew going in that’s what the weather would be.
This time, going in, we knew what the weather could be. It could be rain, so preparing for the worst, we brought rain gear and, as usual, put everything that we needed to stay dry (read “everything) in sealed bags in our packs.
That got me thinking: why do we take so much care to prepare for the worst for a 2 day/1 night hike, but we think everything will go peachy on a winter day or a sales demo or investor pitch or starting a new business? We should prepare for the worst by doing these things, at the very least.
- Always bring a copy of your slide deck on a thumb drive, have it saved to Google Drive / Dropbox, and bring a printed copy.
- Memorize your pitch going into any pitch meeting. Memorize it, so you can do it without the slides.
- Assume that your internet connection will fail when doing a LIVE demo of a software product. Assume you won’t have internet, and be prepared to walk the prospect through the demo on their side, without your side.
- Have an exit plan for your startup. Of course, we all want to exit on the high side, but you must have a plan for when things go sideways, because 9 out of 10 times, that’s what happens.
You never know when it will rain, but you almost always know that it might rain, so bring your rain gear, and keep everything that needs to stay dry in a sealed bag, which means everything.