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I've been meaning to write this article for a long time and it's only in the midst of the Covid-19 Crisis that I have managed to sit down and get pen to paper. It's an article that I thought would be tricky to write, however - as the title suggests, the mountains taught me that sometimes the biggest hills can feel huge and unsurmountable until you actually take the first step. Here are some business ideas that I feel the mountains gave me: 

Commit 

A half hearted effort or a non-committed step on a small gritstone pebble can be sure to send you hurtling down the crag at exceptional speeds, the story....commit! The harder you push the sticky rubber of your rock shoes on a ripple of gritstone, the more likely you are to stick. Exactly the same in business. If you put everything behind what you are doing and believe you can do it, things seem to align. 

Keep a dynamic plan and your options open 

Rightly or wrongly, I rarely leave the house with a precise plan, I have some ideas about the sort of things I want to do or achieve - but keep my options open. I tend to think more about what success looks like and go from there. It's essential to keep your options open - now if someone rings and wants something that may not be what we usually do, perhaps learn how to do it or see how else you can help them. As quoted by Rick standing in his pants by the door at Upper Valley Road prior to a trip out to Alaska: 

 "Rule 1, Come back, Rule 2, Come back friends. Rule 3, Have a good time" 

Do your research 

Every outing doesn't need to feel like a first ascent, you're more likely to succeed if you know what's coming. In business, research your competitors and connect with your customers Let the stars align Don't do routes in bad conditions with the wrong climbing buddy in bad weather, you'll have a really crap time. Go to the cafe, wait for the stars to align, then go enjoy the process. In a business context, you need to align the needs of the customer with what you have to offer, ensure they both line up, if they don't don't waste money trying. 

Simplify 

I'm sure we can all remember our first days in the hills with overladen packs, carrying all the 'essentials' for when we get benighted, only to find that you got benighted because you carried all the essentials (some exceptions - I do remember carrying a box of red wine up the Frendo Spur with Chris Pope, we decided to take it slow so that we could have a planned bivvy and watch the Bastille Day fireworks). The message here is to simplify your business processes, trim down what you offer to make life easier for the customer and for you. 

The top isn't even half way 

We have all heard the saying that the summit is only half way. I'm pretty sure it isn't. It's often only a third. In fact, getting down can be a complete arse. Byron and I once spent what felt like a lifetime down climbing the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey - it took forever and felt horribly dangerous the whole way - would it have been easier to carry on over the whole Peuterey integral?! It certainly would have been more fun. So when you think you are winning in business, remember that your not at the top - unfortunately you often can't see the bottom either - as we have been reminded this week with the Covid-19 Crisis seeing many businesses in a complete nightmare scenario! 

If you can't do it, learn it 

It appears that I'm now in charge of the marketing at Pure Outdoor. How did that happen? I have (had?) absolutely no idea what I am doing, but I'm learning as fast as I can. Sometimes things don't go to plan in the mountains and you have to learn, improvise and adapt to the environment, it makes you a better climber/mountaineer.

Survive the first 2 years 

Learn by doing and get lots of mileage up, as safely as possible. In both the mountains and business, you learn so much in the crucial first few years. Please just ensure you are doing this safely and are in the long game! 
"There are old climbers and there are bold climbers, there are no old, bold climbers" 

In the words of Byron. Be bold, be rewarded 

I'd like to finish this article with a quote (from the side of my mate Byron's mug that he got from work). Be bold, be rewarded. It's true for life and work and I do believe that you have to step outside of the safety net to find the best bits. I hope this has been a bit of fun to read, it's been a bit of fun to write and a great opportunity to look back over hundreds of climbing trips over the years!

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