Fishing for Business ……. or what it takes to win business in the recession

Those of you who read my blog may recall that recently I was reintroduced to the joys of fishing by my brother… he thought I needed distracting. I used to do it as a youngster and have periodically picked it up again over the years; I never needed too much of an excuse to sit by a river or a lake. I must be getting philosophical in my old age because I was sitting by the lake and reflecting that there were many similarities between angling and business, some more obvious than others. One thing they have in common is that if you aren’t enjoying what you are doing you are far less likely to be successful than someone who is.

Before you go fishing you need to decide that kind of fish you wish to catch. Clearly you will find salmon, sharks and carp in very different places and you firstly need to get yourself to the places they hang out. Next you will need to take the appropriate kit; a fly rod and waders for salmon, a fishing boat and something very tough for sharks. Of course you can try just going to the local pond and throwing in a worm on the end of a safety pin but the chances are that you won’t be as successful as the person who has prepared and planned.

Assuming you have done your research and gone somewhere that you are likely to catch your chosen fish, and brought the right gear with you, you still need to survey the water. A lot can be learnt from simple observation. Where is everyone else fishing? What kit and bait are they using? What are the conditions like? And, most importantly, what can you see? The colour of the water, the movement of the wind, the lay of the land, movement in the water, bubbles and rings all tell you things that will help you succeed.

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”  John Buchan

So let’s assume that you have done all of this preparation and set up in the best spot available on the day, you will still need to use the right bait. What kind of things are your fish looking for? What do they need? What would excite them? Sometimes mixing something exotic with your bait like garam masala can be just what it takes, but get too weird and you’ll get no interest. The bait needs to be presented in just the right way. Some fish are bottom feeders so there is no point in trying to get them on the surface, others are the opposite. So the right bait for the right fish offered just the way they like it is the recipe for success.

The next trick anglers use is ground bait. This is free food offered to attract fish to feed where the angler is fishing. The bait is then presented amidst all this cloud of nutrition. What things of value can you offer free that will attract your clients to you, which will let them know that you have the good stuff?

Time of day and weather also make a big difference and affect the behaviour of the fish; if your timing isn’t right then you are unlikely to succeed.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day”

If you have wandered by a river bank recently you will see that modern anglers seem to need a trolley just to take all their gear, multiple rods and reels, tents, beds, mats, nets and God knows what else! The point about this is that they are using technology to help them and are prepared to try many different methods to catch their fish which require different kit. The other side of this is you can be very successful with a much more simple approach and not hiding behind all your systems and technology. There is no substitute for knowledge and experience.

If the fish aren’t biting despite your best efforts then you need to do something different, go somewhere different; you must adapt and learn.

“There’s no taking trout with dry breeches.” Miguel de Cervantes

I wish you success in your ventures. Fishermen wish each other “Tight Lines” rather than “Good Luck” as they feel it is all down to skill, experience and preparation. Maybe business is not so different… And remember.. “Carpe Diem” doesn’t mean “fish of the day”!

© I-Change Oct 2010

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