Are you a business owner that loves a challenge? 💪

Perfect.. You have come to the right place!

We may not be able to travel right now, given the ‘C word’. But we can reminisce right? A couple of years ago I completed the most challenging and impactful adventure of my life.🛫

The Kokoda Trail 🌄 94 gruelling kilometers in extreme weather conditions through the Owen Stanely Range of Papua New Guinea.  This is not the only trek we have completed, but it was the most impactful. 😮

While I sit back and think about all the travel I won’t be doing this year, I thought it might be timely to talk about the 10 parallels between trekking in the wild and running a business!

Why draw such parallels? Business owners naturally love a challenge.  Right? And they love to make a positive impact. 

Trekking does both!

If your entrepreneurial spirit has you yearning for a challenge of a different type – consider a trek! Do it the right way and you can inject much needed cash into the homes of village people less fortunate 🏠

Me and my daughter ⭐

While trekking will be off the to-do list for quite a while now, thanks to the C-word. Here are 10 parallels to get you thinking about what your next challenge may be…

1// Preparation – months in advance and use experts

Yep. Months. The conception of a business idea or the purchase of a business takes months of preparation.  Research. Number Crunching. Planning. Commitment. Guts. 

Trekking is no different.  You need to research, plan, commit and yes, you need to have the guts to do it. 💪🤯

You need experts to help you out along the way. 

In business you need professionals, accountants, business coaches, financial advisors, legal advisors and so much more for any number of reasons! 🤓

In trekking, you need your personal trainer.  Need to lose weight – do it. Need to get stronger – do it.  Need better cardio fitness – do it. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

2// Rely on others

In business you must surround yourself with quality people.  Whether they are outsourced advisors, your team or your broader network. 

Quality people will take up your slack.  Boost you in your areas of weakness.🏋️‍♀️

On the trek.  Don’t mess around here.  Use a quality travel company with a proven track record.  Pay a little more if you need. This is not something to skimp on. 

Hire a porter if the opportunity is there.  Unless you are a super fit Iron Man or Women who sees carrying their own gear as a part of the challenge – don’t do it!  🤸‍♂️🤸‍♀️

You’ll enjoy the experience so much more without the extra 15 kilos on your back.  And besides, hiring a local villager to carry your back gives him money to feed his family.  There is not a lot of employment opportunity out there in the hills.🌄

My porter, Jonbi & his family 🧡

3// Differentiate yourself

If everyone is selling twisties don’t sell twisties. 

If everyone is selling coca-cola, make sure yours is colder. 

4// Plan your cashflow

There ain’t no ATM’s in the hills 🏧

Plan your cash requirements carefully.  Small denominations only. 💰

In business, hopefully you have daily access to your money!  The pain of your money drying up on the track really hurts! When you find that vendor who does have the cold coca-cola and your cash reserves have dried up…

When the cash dries up in business – it hurts a lot more.  😫

Ever had to decide between a loan repayment or a wages bill?  Ever had to decide between the tax man or the electricity bill? 

5// Goals and Milestones

In business we have goals.  Maybe weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. We break them down into milestones. 

For me, my daily written MIA’s (Most Important Actions) are my milestones.  They are what gets me where I want to be. Each time I tick one of those daily tasks off – I’m a step closer and it feels great. 🙌

In the world of trekking.  It’s one step at a time – literally.  When it was really tough going. I would count 10 steps at a time in my head.  Each 10 was a milestone. 

The major milestones each day were all centred around food and rest. Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner.

Ahh, the joy when you can see a campsite coming at you! ⛺

6// Uncertainty causes stress

The Wall.  We got word that one of our days was a trek in an area known as The Wall.  It caused stress and mild panic throughout the group – the thought of climbing this ‘Wall’. 🧱

It was unknown.  Which day would it be here? How bad was it really?  It was the unknown that caused the stress.  In the end – the wall wasn’t as bad as the picture in our minds.  It was tough, but we were prepared. We had no need to worry.

Much like the unknown of heading into an unexpected challenge in business.  

Losing a big client, a swift change in your industry, a cashflow problem that creeps up on you and slaps you in the face. 😲

It causes stress, mild panic, sleepless nights.  And it all comes from the unknown. 

The best solution?  Know more. Be more prepared. Be fit (financially and physically) and you can deal with any challenge. 💪

7// Get out of your comfort zone

If you want to get anywhere in your business, at some point you’ll need to step out of your comfort zone! 😅

Get sweaty at the thought of speaking in public?  Keep putting off the sales call to that potential client to seal the deal?  Need to sack an employee but you can’t stomach the confrontation? Need to have ‘the talk’ with your spouse about the lack of cash in your business?

Whatever your issue is – take a deep breath and just do it!  You can’t advance without discomfort.

Trekking is no different. 🥾

When your only option for a shower is an open hillside trickle of water with trekkers walking past – not much fun.  Or bathing in a breathtakingly cold river – you just have to take a deep breath and jump in! 🥶

8// Got to do the unfun stuff

Yep, you will need to use the bathroom on your trek, and I use the term bathroom loosely. 🚽 This is one of the unfun things in trekking. 🚾

The unfun things in business?  There is plenty! Paperwork, tax obligations, dealing with poor quality employees or clients. 😫

You just have to deal with this stuff. Regularly.  Don’t deal with it regularly and things get messy quickly.

 9// Be prepared for the unexpected

I’m a safety girl! 💃 Pretty Women style – be prepared for the unexpected!

Trekking – Essential Items:: Insurance. First Aid. 😷 Spare Dry Socks. 🧦

Business – Essential Items:: Insurance.  Cashflow Forecasts. 📉 Cash Buffers. 💰

10// Celebrate your wins

When you hit your goals, let your hair down!  Let the important people know about it. Whether it’s a fancy bottle of bubbles you keep in the rack for special occasions or a weekend away with someone special, you need to celebrate your wins.🥂

We celebrated our Kokoda win with cheers, tears, hot dogs & cold beer!  And it was the best. 🍺

Me and my Dad – we did it! 🍺

Business is tough.  Trekking is tough. 

But they both come with their rewards. 

Jen Waterson