Ever since I was young, I was a huge proponent of “being prepared’. I think it was especially hammered home as an Eagle Scout — “Be prepared” is the Boy Scout Motto after all. And in Entrepreneurship, I think being prepared can be a game-changer — one that separates the good from the greats.

I learned the importance of being prepared while preparing for and running my Eagle Scout Project — a food and clothing drive with North Fulton Charities. Coordinating with the North Fulton organization, the local Kroger, the many neighborhoods in the Alpharetta area, and of course, with my hardworking Scout volunteers… it was all a pain. No doubt about it.  However, the drive ran so well, we received donations that overflowed one of those trailers you see being towed by monster SUVs.  It was really was, I believe, a rousing success, and it ran so well because of preparation and planning.

As I’m heading into our second year (since launch) of Body Boss, the notion and importance of “being prepared” has never rang more true.  In my effort to keep my blogs going with bullet points, here are a few “be prepared” moments that come to mind…

  • Conferences. Conferences are especially great places to market and sell many products and services.  However, preparation can really set yourself apart and really be a great marketing and sales diving board if done well.  Be prepared to standout from the sea of vendors.

  • Get in the mind of your customers.  Sales is all about understanding needs, right? Well, being prepared in this case means knowing who the buyer is, what’s he/ she looking for, and being prepared to answer the hard questions. Think of it like an interview. Be prepared so the interviewer asks you a question you’re ready for, or to show that you’ve done your own homework.
  • Be ready to pitch at a moment’s notice.  At any given time, there’s a 50-50 chance I have my computer with me, or at least a pen and paper. I also carry a deck of business cards and Body Boss one-pagers. Like the little robot kids at Disney say, “it’s a small world”.  At any moment, you can run into a prospective customer or a valuable partner. I remember once in Denver at a Starbucks (of course), I saw two big guys in athletic apparel walk up and sit down. I casually laid out some Body Boss collateral on the table nearby acting like I was looking at them. It eventually led them to ask about Body Boss. They were entrepreneurs who were former college football players, and one was a coach at a nearby high school. We talked about sales opportunities and other licensing deals.
  • Be prepared for the fight. Being an entrepreneur is tough. I think I’ve mentioned the toll it takes on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Going full-time on one also demands a level of financial preparedness, too. Be ready so when it comes down to do or die time, you’re ready to go full steam ahead and you’ve got the conditioning to push through the ebbs. Entrepreneurship isn’t a sprint… it’s a marathon… made up of sprints. Really.

You can’t prepare for everything. However, if you prepare right, you’re likely able to mitigate the impact should something go wrong. Or, you’ve prepared yourself to seize the moment. One of my favorite quotes to live by is from Roman philosopher Seneca: “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity”.

What are your thoughts about “being prepared”? How has “being prepared” helped your cause either in a startup or otherwise?

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