Frodo’s Journey

  1. The task is primarily yours. In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo must complete the task that is primarily his (i.e. to destroy the ring at Mount Doom). In the same vein, building your business vision and marketing your print shop is a job that is primarily in your hands. If you don’t take the time or make the effort, no one else will feel it is that important.
  2. You will benefit from the help of those around you. Throughout Frodo’s journey he was supported and assisted by many people along the way. Many entrepreneurs and managers generally avoid asking for help with the result that they labour under a ‘I can do it better or faster myself’ complex. Who do you need to ask for help so that you can concentrate on your strengths and be more successful than you are now?
  3. The path always opened up and usually not before it was needed. In his journey, there were many times when Frodo and his companions narrowly escaped doom and destruction. But at the last minute a path would open up that would lead them to safety. When marketing your business, it’s often the same way. You can see where you need to go but the path may not open up for you until the last possible moment. You need to stay the course and trust that all is unfolding just perfectly – even when it doesn’t look that way in any particular moment.
  4. Persistence pays off. There were many times Frodo probably wondered, “Why me?” and several times where he was too tired to think about going any further. But he did, motivated by his vision and sense of responsibility. Where in your business can you be more persistent and more responsible to your vision? How could this give you the energy to move ahead?
  5. Pay attention to signs along the way. Throughout the adventure, there were hints and clues about what might happen next. If you pay attention, the same holds true for your business. When you pay attention to the clues and hints along the way, you are more prepared for any unexpected turn of events. Pay particular attention to outcomes that are significantly different than you anticipated.
  6. Take advantage of the rest stops. It was very important during our hero’s quest – and as a business owner – to take periodic rest stops in order to refresh and refuel. When you find yourself in a slow business period, use that time to reorganize and put support systems in place. Use these rest stops to your advantage.
  7. Recognize that everything comes together in due time. Sometimes business owners feel impatient when their business is not growing as fast or profitably as expected. However, building a business has a certain rhythm and pattern. When you work within the pattern, rather than fighting against it, you will feel calmer and more confident. For Frodo, he needed to travel a great distance to get to Mount Doom and he needed to ‘put in his time’ in order to complete the quest. For example, he had to first travel to meet Galadriel otherwise he couldn’t have moved through the part of the journey when he met with Shelob. Remember that all of your efforts are coming together even if they seem like random tangents to your path.
  8. Learn as much as you can along the way. Frodo learned about various lands by paying attention to the people he met along the way. He was able to gain assistance and loyalty because he took the time to learn from everyone he met. The most successful business owners are the ones who continually make the time to learn and take this learning to propel them even further.
  9. Be flexible but stay the course. There were several times when Frodo needed to change his plans in order to appropriately respond to events as they unfolded. Similarly, business owners need to be flexible in their planning so they can take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. Market conditions are constantly changing which require flexibility to accommodate.
  10. Success may sometimes look or feel different than you expected. Each of the main characters in the Lord of the Rings pursued a different path once the journey was completed. Each had a different life trajectory after playing their role in the adventure. Business success may look different than what you expected and may therefore require some adjustments. For example, you might have great success with a new marketing approach and then have some glitches in fulfilling the orders. Success doesn’t come without lasting change.

As you move forward with your business, examine it from differing viewpoints and you’ll find new perspectives that may give you clues on what to do next. Write down your answers to these ten questions:

  • What action can you take now that you know must be taken?
  • Who can provide the help and support you need to grow your business?
  • Where do you see paths and opportunities opening that will lead you along your journey?
  • In what areas can you be persistent, even in the face of adversity?
  • What can you learn from the information unfolding around you?
  • How can you utilize your rest stops to maximum advantage?
  • Where do you see the patterns of your business unfolding as it should?
  • What can you learn from those you meet?
  • Where can you be more flexible while keeping your vision intact?
  • How will you celebrate your successes and move onto a new playing field?

Follow these steps, and you will manifest a positive outcome in your quest for small business success.