90 Degrees South Latitude “The Road Not Taken”
By Greg Henderson, Founder & Co-Publisher
Southern Oregon Business Journal
Today, October 25, 2019 it’s -42C at the South Pole. For the next week the wind will blow constantly at between 16 and 21 km/h. The temperature will hardly change. It’s winter there which means its about 20 degrees colder than in summer. The elevation is 9,300 feet at the South Pole, on the highest of all the continents. There are no countries in Antarctica, which is probably okay since there is officially no population there either.
Inspiration comes to and from amazing places. Some are unexpected while others require persistent searching.
Aaron Linsdau was nearing thirty when he suggested to friends that he was dreaming of hiking to the South Pole. One by one they said he was crazy, nuts or temporarily insane. He pushed on asking people he knew what they thought of his dream. The responses were all the same until he announced his idea to his mother. She cried. She was scared and knew she couldn’t talk him out of it.
And then Aaron approached his always supportive encouragement, his 83 year old grandfather. “You know that is something I couldn’t even dream of doing at my age. If you’re going to hike to the South Pole, you need to get it done while you’re still young.” So, the work began. That was the encouragement he was waiting for.
Aaron says, “Sometimes its better not to tell the people in your life. It can weigh on you when your focus has to be at 100%. Your mind will take you to places you thought you had long forgotten.” Losing your focus in Antarctica can kill you.
For ten years Aaron Linsdau studied, researched and trained for this event no one in his right mind would consider. He pulled a sled across Yellowstone Park in the coldest part of winter, and turned around and pulled it back again. He pulled a tire endlessly up and down trails, over sidewalks and across fields. Conditioning would be the difference between living and dying.
This would be a trek of 600 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, nearly ninety days in all, pulling a 300 pound sled of supplies through days of howling wind in -30 degree weather, unable to see through whiteout conditions, and hoping he and his two sleds could hold together for three months.
An altogether impressive guy, Aaron is an inspiration to all. In his book, “Antarctic Tears” he describes the process of preparation and the ordeal of the execution of his plan. What to eat (a cube of butter every day?) to replace the 6,000 calories he was burning in the expedition pulling sleds ten miles every day. It was an heroic adventure. https://www.ncexped.com/
Not unlike the preparation we urge entrepreneurs to use in the Start Up Business mode, preplanning will likely prevent unexpected challenges along the way. Half of new businesses don’t make it through the first year, 80% rarely make it to five years. In retrospect, most who have been through it say that business closures could have been avoided if they had made better plans.
There are some, like Trudy Logan, who persevere through the challenges of eighteen hour days, not enough customers and in need of help that doesn’t need supervision. Trudy has always worked in the restaurant business. Seven years ago she said she would never do it again. Until in November of 2012, she did.
“I am such a risk taker,” says Trudy. “Sometimes I don’t even know how this business works.” www.alongcametrudy.com
“So, I gather you don’t have a business plan?”
“Oh, gosh. Never.” She admitted, and then thought for a second or two before saying, “I got on this horse and I don’t know how to get off.”
Note: Location, location, location – the top three requirements of a successful retail business.
“In back of Bi-Mart in no man’s land. Oh. My gosh… we have a really big parking lot. It needs a lot of repair but there’s lots of room to park.”
The question had to come out, “How do you make it work?”
Her hand pats her heart, “It comes from here.”
“These are my kids. They know they can count on me. Kera is my rock. She’s been with me since she was 18 years old. She followed me from The Pump Café in Springfield. That was 18 years ago.”
“I just keep lovin’ on people and they give it back to me.”
“Change is a good thing. Everything’s not black and white. I learned to let employees participate. It’s a team.
Aaron Linsdau told me there are only three things that can happen to your business 1) It fails, 2) You fail, or 3) You sell it. If you’re not going to have a business plan make it a Side Gig, test it out for a few hours a day for a few weeks or months to find out if it will work. If you decide to move ahead ask yourself, “Is there an exit plan?”
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.”