5 Lessons for Small Businesses Inspired by Driving in a Colorado Snowstorm

One of the many benefits to living in Colorado is our proximity to the mountains. I-70 leads cars up and through the mountains to numerous winter playgrounds. When the pavement is dry, driving on I-70 requires little skill, but add a snowstorm to the mix and you will see the best and the worst of mountain driving.

On a recent trip home from our cabin, I was inspired on the drive and realized just how similar good winter mountain driving is to good small business practices. Here are some of the lessons small businesses can draw from winter driving in Colorado:

SnowstormSlow and steady wins the race

A really good snowstorm on I-70 usually means our trip home from the cabin will take about an hour longer. It can be tempting to throw the car in four wheel drive and just step on the gas. However, I frequently see the cars that fly past me in a ditch further up the road. As a small business, it can be tempting to push into every market you can, release products that could use a little more work and overextend yourself and your employees.

The Lesson: Just like the cars in the ditch in I-70, your small business could struggle or even fail if you push too hard and too fast. Keep your pace steady to make it to the finish line.

Don’t slam on the brakes

One really good indication you are following an inexperienced winter driver is revealed by their brake lights. Slamming on the brakes on snow and ice will throw your car into a slide or a spin and put everyone around you in danger. When the going gets tough as a small business, simply slamming on the brakes can do more harm than good. Instead, slow your pace and seek out help from a trusted advisor, investor or friend to determine your course of action.

The Lesson: Cars who slam on the brakes on ice and snow are often thrown into a spin. When times are challenging for your business, slow down and take stock of the situation before coming to a stop.

Tailgating is dangerous

Tailgating is generally not a good driving practice, but in winter driving conditions it is a big no-no. When you tail a car in snow, your visibility is reduced further because of the blowing snow from their vehicle and you can’t see dangers ahead of the car in front of you. Some small businesses try to draft on other businesses success. While it can work for a while, it limits your view of the landscape of the marketplace and keeps you behind your competition.

The Lesson: Tailgating during winter driving reduces your visibility and puts your vehicle in danger. Following other businesses practices too closely limits your view of the market and narrows your range of influence.

Winter RoadThe big guys will clear the way

One of the highlights if winter driving for my son is seeing the huge CDOT plow trucks working in teams to clear the road. They work to reduce the snowpack on the road, add gravel for grip and salt to aid in melting the snow. Like my vehicle compared to a CDOT plow truck, small businesses are smaller. Larger companies have more resources, employees and capital. Give them a chance to clear the road ahead and make your move in areas they leave behind.

The Lesson: Plow trucks clear the road and make it safer for winter drivers. Allow bigger companies to pave the way in the marketplace and find your niche in what they leave untouched.

Having the right company in the car makes all the difference

On my drives home from the mountains of Colorado, I am usually accompanied by my family and occasionally some good friends. When our drive is slowed by a snowstorm, I don’t dread the additional hour of driving because I know my company will entertain me with conversation, music and games. I also trust them to watch out for dangerous sections as we plod home. Small businesses don’t have very many employees and having the wrong ones can make your business a miserable place to work. When your small business hires the right people who are at your company for the right reasons, work becomes an enjoyable place to go and your small business succeeds.

The Lesson: When I am accompanied by family and good friends, the winter drive is much more fun and comfortable. Hiring people who are passionate about your company and care to see it succeed will put you on a path to long term growth and success.

While you navigate your road as a small business, keep these lessons in mind to keep your company on the right road.

Do you have any lessons you would add?

About Audrey Howes

Audrey has been an active member of the Swiftpage team since September 2009. Audrey manages Social Media and special projects with her marketing know-how and design expertise. When she’s not working you are likely to find her enjoying time with her family in the mountains near Steamboat, going for a run, reading a good book, being goofy with her kids, or savoring a latte in a local coffee shop.

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