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Friday, October 12, 2012

Things are not always as they seem

New Mexico has some amazing areas with scenic views.  One of the areas is Ghost Ranch a location where Georgia O’Keeffe spent time painting and developing her skills.  A Presbyterian organization runs the ranch and they host many different types of retreats, educational events, and courses.  One does not need to be Presbyterian to enjoy the activities. 

During a visit to New Mexico, I took the long dirt road to the ranch and stopped to see the old ranch house on the side.  It seemed to be well preserved and there was nothing at all around the house.  No other buildings, fences, or other structures were visible.  I was amazed at how well preserved the house was and guessed it was due to the dry climate of the region. 

On reaching the main part of the ranch, I entered a gift shop and started a conversation with the attendant.  I learned a bit about the history of the ranch, local areas like Chimney Rock, and hiking trails.  I mentioned the old house and asked who lived there in the past.  To my surprise, the attendant informed me the house was built by a movie studio for the movie “City Slickers”!

The point of this story is that people see and interpret what they see based on a set of facts.  My interpretation based on location and a very old and famous ranch.   Obviously, the house was of similar age and belonged to a previous owner, Wrong! I saw and interpreted based on logic of location and surroundings, but there was info I was missing; i.e.you don’t know what you don’t know”!

Making assumptions in your business is going to happen.  Your assumptions may be based on the best data and logic available.  Moving forward you may never have a problem, but there is always a factor of running into glitches because you did not have a complete set of facts.  The fact that you do not know everything should cause some caution in your thought processes as you develop your plans.  Missing information may affect your business in severe ways.  Having people with significant experiences in areas you are not familiar may allow you to identify likely missed information that would improve and enhance your plans. 

One of the best skills you can learn is to re-examine your proposed path with highly experienced mentors, consultants, advisors, or other people.  The external look may show you missing pieces that will save you time and money.  You spent a lot of energy raising the capital to move forward with your business and you owe those investors the best deliverables and use of the proceeds.  You most likely will learn that 75% of the time your first analysis is correct.  Now learn to guard against the other 25% and enhance your chances for success.