There are six similarities between business and hunting – you need to scout, hunt, kill, clean, cook and eat. When this idea first occurred to me, all I could think of was; “why hasn’t someone already thought of this, or if someone has, why haven’t they shared it yet!” Every time a team member from sales tells me about a lead, I am thinking, “go for the kill!” When my team enjoys a lunch after a executing a particularly challenging project, I imagine sitting around a campfire and eating fresh catch after angling all day. However, before going any further, I would like to note one fundamental difference between business and hunting – hunting isn’t exactly a win-win game, while for any business to succeed in the long run, it truly has to strive for win-win situations. That said, I have ventured to create a list of six uncanny similarities between hunting and business.
In hunting you are searching through the woods for any paw prints, trails, or tell-tale signs of your game. In business, there are people who are great at smelling out leads. These people keep their nose to the ground and their eyes and ears open at all times. Their sharp intellect allows them to connect the dots and be foresighted about finding leads. These people not only focus on next week or next month, but also think 10 – 15 years ahead. Surprisingly, when you talk about “scouting” for leads in your business, it doesn’t always have to be done by a designated department. An intern or your HR personnel could find a lucrative lead, but more often than not, scouting should come naturally to your sales and marketing departments. Also, scouting doesn’t just mean finding a sales lead, it could also mean developing an app or code for future use.
Lay the trap – be it strategically placing a net or positioning yourself for the perfect shot, the hunt is all about being prepared. In hunting, you have to lure your prey in and keep it where you want it to be. While scouting is strategic, hunting is more tactical. In business, this can mean preparing a perfect pitch or creating a thorough proposal. This is where the actual selling happens. Your sales department needs to be on-the-ground, having conversations with potential clients/customers, drawing them in and making sure they stay interested in your offering. Here, your lead becomes a potential client.
Close the deal! Here’s where you pull the trigger and go for the kill. The “kill” in business happens when your potential client becomes a real customer. You need to be quick; as the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot. In business, especially today, there aren’t any sitting ducks. Things move at internet speeds (of the Google Fiber variety) and so should you.
After the kill, you have to remove the fur (field dress) to reveal the meat underneath. If you do not clean in a timely manner, the meat could go bad. In business, you often meet top-level executives while closing on a deal but you may actually need to work with other teams from other parts of the business. Before going on to execute what is on paper, you need to tie loose ends. This could mean sorting out terms and conditions, on-boarding, agreeing on the scope of work or detailing the requirements.
Even if can you scout, hunt, kill and clean perfectly well, what happens if you burn the tenderloin? My guess is that nobody wants to eat it. This is where the actual execution work happens. You need to put together a team to get the job done. Just like cooking is a labor of love, you also need to nurture the relationships with your existing clients to cement it. Cooking in business could either be a long simmer as in the case of most large organizations where you may not be able to move too fast, or it could to be fast fry as with many SMBs. Check on your team to see if they are on track to achieving the agreed upon deliverables. Be open to client feedback and act on any feedback in a timely manner.
Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Carve and savor the meat or share and enjoy the profits. But here’s the catch – everybody in your organization needs to be good at one or more of the five aforementioned activities to be able to eat. You do not want freeloaders draining your profits, without having scouted, hunted, killed, cleaned or cooked.
I have never met a person who is good at all of the five activities of hunting. For instance, a great scout may fall short when it comes to hunting or cleaning. So, as a leader, manage your team in the best possible way and delegate wisely. If you are lucky enough to be working with someone who is good at all the hunting activities, do not let him/her be poached by a competitor.
In both business and hunting, what it really takes to succeed, is to keep your eye on the prize and be resourceful in tackling any unexpected factors that can crop up – for the competition is fierce and if you are not careful, the hunter can become the hunted!!
Edwin has authored 9Lenses Insight to Action:A Social Approach to Business Optimization and Snapshot9 What’s Your Picture?:Accelerate Your Business Performance. Click here to download the first chapter of 9Lenses Insight to Action for free!