As Bison Mat, we do our best to make business personal; to make it more about the people than anything else. It's not always easy to do, and we're not apologetic about our desire to make money...lots and lots of money.
But...business is personal.
We try to always remember that we're in the business of helping people do better work; of helping companies perform better and helping businesses dream bigger. We try to go out of our way to make another person's day run a little bit smoother. Sometimes it's done simply by helping connect them with a new customer or a good idea. Sometimes we're not sure how it's done.
Owning a business isn’t something that can be done effectively with a part-time effort. Any business owner will tell you that success comes down to doing what you have to do to make things happen. This reality has us working odd and long hours on everything from accounts payable to production, R&D, and sales. We’re spending our days repairing equipment, resolving supply chain hiccups, shooting videos, editing our website, and sweeping shop floors. The work we do — the effort we put in — directly impacts us on a day-to-day basis.
But it’s not all about us.
The effort we put in matters. But so do the relationships we invest in.
The people we work alongside, the people we learn from, and the partnerships we form all drastically impact and influence our potential for success. The people we are surrounded by determine a lot about the habits we form, the values we keep, and the trajectory we set. They shape our views of success and the systems, standards, and metrics we implement to measure it.
Learning from the Best
There are a million adages related to the value of business strategy. There are a million sources for business expertise, professional coaching, and leadership development. There are a million books to read, TED Talks to listen to, and entrepreneurs to meet. But none of these resources, opportunities, or people can supplant the value of experience. None can replace the wisdom that comes to someone when they’ve epically failed at something, learned from their mistakes, and corrected their course.
Only the experienced are equipped with hindsight.
You can’t have hindsight without having time and experience behind you. But you can have wisdom if your eyes and ears are open to the right people. That’s why we’ve determined to surround ourselves with people who see the world with a bigger perspective than ours. We want to learn from those who have learned from their own mistakes or short-sighted decisions. We want to ask people with experience the kinds of questions that they didn't know to ask. We want to watch and learn from those who have already watched and learned. And in doing that, we want to learn through a sort of professional osmosis what others have learned through their own experience.
Defining Success for Ourselves and Our Partners
In working hard to build partnerships and relationships with the right people, we are learning more and more that owning a business isn’t a pass/fail. And the more people we meet and the more relationships we invest in, the more we see this reiterated.
Success isn't determined by whether or not we fail. It’s not a question of whether we’ll make wrong decisions or whether we’ll have set backs. Those are inevitable. Instead, it's what we do at each step of our journey. Our ability to learn and to course-correct will make good and bad experiences alike move us toward success.
At Bison Mat, we believe that much of our ability to succeed will be in direct relation to our willingness to surround ourselves with people smarter than ourselves; people with more experience; people who are willing to invest in us and our professional and personal development; people who understand that succeeding in business isn't a pass/fail test, but a commitment to doing what needs to be done.
We’ll only be able to establish ourselves as a standard for quality if we surround ourselves with quality. And that's why business is personal. Because it's about more than the product we sell or brand we build. It's about the people we work with, for, and alongside. Business is personal because people are personal. At least that's what we believe...and it's why we do what we do.