In both business technology and fly fishing, there are five rules for success. Get these simple things right in IT and you'll free up time to focus on what matters, like growing your business... or making the perfect catch on the perfect day.
I come from a family where fishing was an important part of our recreational life and bonding between father and son. I started fly fishing when I was fourteen, as I was new to town and didn’t know many people, but there was a creek that ran close by our house that gave me the opportunity to slip away and be a kid for a few hours. I’d wanted a fly rod, so I saved up the $15, visited a local store, and made the big investment that would change my life.
I’d spend hours in the street in front of our house casting, learning 10-and-2-O’clock, a roll cast, and lastly, how to mend my line. The last part, I discovered quickly, is often more important than the cast itself, as it lets the fly fisherman adjust to the current and the changing conditions that the river presents.
Fast forward six years, and I found myself working with my first computer, implementing a manufacturing resource planning system for an energy-related company after having worked on the shop floor and with the engineering and accounting departments. It was an interesting time, taking what I knew about our manufacturing practices, materials and engineering requirements, and accounting practices, learning about information technology, and moving data from paper-based, manual systems into a more modern and efficient way of doing business. This was a strategic as well as tactical change, made to allow us to move on from the old school of general knowledge stores in the form of personal knowledge and experience and progress into the new world of technology. Along the way, we created a set of best practices that would sustain the business beyond the careers of the original principals and provide business continuity and job security for their people.
Over the years, my involvement in information technology expanded and changed. I found myself working with major corporations on large multi-year, multi-million-dollar projects that were complex and transformative. These companies saw information technology as essential to their survival due to changes in regulatory requirements, competition, and the increasing complexity and sophistication of their target markets. Technology was their way of “mending the line” as it would allow them to focus on the important things and adapt to changes in design, supply chains, and the security necessary to protect the significant investments in other areas of their business, including their people.
In parallel with my professional career, my love of fly fishing also grew, and I’ve had the opportunity to fish saltwater in Alaska and the Gulf; tailwaters in my own and neighboring states; and lakes and big waters in Oregon, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, and many other states. Each presented its own unique challenges and rewards, and I’ve had some great guides that made all the difference.
Here are five lessons I’ve learned that always apply to each new fishing situation:
- Learn to read your environment. Always spend some time to get to know where you’re fishing. Each body of water is unique, and even then, conditions can change quickly. Learn to read and be aware of the conditions you find yourself in (I said this twice for emphasis).
- Match the hatch. The hatch is the term used for the aquatic and terrestrial foodstuffs that fish live on. You can’t ignore that which sustains what you are seeking. You must have a means of achieving your goals.
- Have the right equipment. Good waders and boots keep you dry, warm, and on solid footing. There’s nothing as miserable as being cold and wet when the fish are biting, or losing a hook set because you were stumbling across a gravel bed. Your rod, reel, and line should be adequate to achieve your objectives and minimize risk. Catching a forty-pound salmon on a five-weight rod can be done, but I would not recommend it if you’ve traveled 2,000 miles and paid for the privilege.
- Fly fishing has risks. These can be as minimal as spending time and money just to have the fishing be off to stepping into a hole you can’t see and finding yourself swept away in a dangerous current. Minimize your risks to maximize the reward. Fishing with the right people who watch out for each other can make all the difference, and the people you fish with are more important than the equipment you use.
- Always, always, always mend your line. This requires attention. The drift of your line across the variables of current can “drag” your fly, creating an unnatural presentation that no self-respecting fish would take. A mend allows you to adjust to a more natural presentation, a better take, and a natural hook set.
And so it is with information technology. The best managed service providers are guides that can make all the difference. They can help you to:
- Read the environment. IT needs vary depending on your industry, goals, and your business structure. A good MSP will take these factors into account to help you adopt the right technology for your specific needs.
- Understand what sustainability is for you. Your MSP should help you plan for and adopt the right technologies to meet your goals so that the technologies you use will help you move the needle to grow your company.
- Get the best equipment to match your objectives. Do you have a five-year plan that keeps your hardware optimized and reduces costs? Your MSP should work with you to create a technology lifecycle plan that reflects not just your budget but also your long-term outlook for growth, projects, products, and personnel.
- Minimize risk. Cybercriminals are always looking for a bite. It’s not a matter of if you will be attacked, but when. To protect your data, you need a multi-layered defense that includes a robust backup and restoration component.
- Adapt to “the current.” Inevitably, your business will encounter changes in IT strategy and tactics in the years to come. Your MSP can help you react with agility, so you can quickly adapt and “mend your line” so that you can stay relevant and competitive as conditions change.
When you have a proactive IT partner that both manages the small details and oversees the big picture of your technology, this frees you up to focus on what matters. You can get your work done, empower your people, and put your time and energy into living your best life, whatever that means for you. So, when it comes to landing that lunker (trout, promotion, or just some extra quality time away from work), remember the same five principles that make for a great day on the water can make for a great day at work and allow you to make the most of your workday and your free time!
I hope to meet you in our offices someday. If we’re lucky, maybe we can sneak out and wet a line after work!
In the meantime, when you’re ready to hear about how JMARK can help you create a technology plan to reduce risk and increase the velocity of your business, get in touch on our contact page here, or call 844-44-JMARK.