10 Things that Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Kiteboarding


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This year, I spent two months kiteboarding in Brazil. In addition to helping me to improve my skills on the water, the experience taught me several important business lessons.

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10 Things that Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Kiteboarding

  1. 1. 10 Things that Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Kiteboarding Nathan Manning Twitter: @nathanmanningLinkedIn: bit.ly/nathanmanning
  2. 2. A lack ofpreparation willget you hurt• Success in kiteboarding and in business requires a respect for the fundementals• Take the time upfront to define your strategy, plan for emergencies, and check your equipment• This is the only way that you can enjoy the ride safely
  3. 3. But, don’t wait forperfect informationto get started• Don’t wait for «Perfect conditions»• Once you learn the fundamentals and do your safety checks, get in the water and start learning• Success in both fields comes from trying new things, getting feedback, and applying learning to improving
  4. 4. Experience ismore importantthan equipment• You don’t need the latest or most expensive equipment to get started• Do whatever it takes to get in the water as soon as you can and let your equipment grow with you
  5. 5. Don’t blame thewind, adjust to it• In business and in kiteboarding it is easy to blame outside cirsumstances for our failures• Most of the time, poor planning is to blame• Learn to read the winds of your market and you will find yourself harnessing them rather than fighting them
  6. 6. Overreactionscause crashes• Beginning kiteboarders often react to a loss of control by pulling back on the bar sharply, which only makes the situation worse• Learn to relax and observe when unforseen circumstances threaten your business• A quiet dip in the water won’t ruin your business... but overreacting at the wrong time might
  7. 7. Harness the wind;don’t be blindlypulled by it• Immediate feedback and response is key to controling your kite or your business• You can’t plan every movement in advance, but, you can ensure that you have systems in place to give you ongoing information• Follow your strategy, but, stay flexible
  8. 8. Always have abackup plan (or 3)• Kiteboarders have a multi-stage emergency response plan• Make sure that you proactively identify the biggest risks to your business and determine how you will respond if they occur• Sort your risks into categories of severity and have a response for each
  9. 9. Make lots of smallmistakes to avoidthe big ones• Mistakes are critically important to learning any new skill... including entrepreneurship and kiteboarding• But, that doesn’t mean that all mistakes are created equal• Know your limits and take a step-by- step approach to your business• Measure everything and build a learning culture
  10. 10. Don’t go it alone• Even the most advanced kiteboarders are wise to ask a friend to launch and land their kite• Build a team of trusted partners and advisors who can help you to succeed• Learn to delegate so that you can focus on charting your company’s course
  11. 11. Remember whyyou are doing this• The road to mastery, in kiteboarding and in business, is a long one• Look for sources of inspiration (friends and mentors) that keep you motivated• In business and in kiteboarding, if you focus on your love of the sport, the rest will take care of itself
  12. 12. Nathan Manning Twitter: @nathanmanningLinkedIn: bit.ly/nathanmanning