If we take the risk on the icy street or in business, we will face ditches

By JJ Rosen February 4, 2024
If we take the risk on the icy street or in business, we will face ditches

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean.

I crept up the driveway and cautiously looked both ways.

The coast was clear.

As I slowly made my way on to our snow covered street, I was careful to keep an equal distance between the wide but shallow ditch on my right and the narrow but deep ditch on my left.  They both looked treacherous.

With no one else on the road, my strategy was simple: drive slowly, stay in the middle, and avoid the ditches at all costs.

Making my way down our hilly street I noticed several of my neighbors’ cars were already stuck.  Two were on my left, in the wide shallow ditch that appeared to have gently slid off the road. And one was in the narrow but deep ditch on my right, that looked to have a decent amount of damage.

To avoid joining them, I kept my focus on staying in the middle, careful to avoid the pitfalls that threatened on both sides.  It wasn’t easy, but I was holding my own.

Like many of us that live in the South, my ditch-avoiding experience during a snow storm is limited.

But the concept of avoiding ditches isn’t unfamiliar.

As a businessperson, whether it’s winter, summer, spring or fall, I have to navigate around ditches every day.  In many ways, these “business ditches” are even more treacherous than roadside ditches because they are more difficult to spot.

In business as on the street, there are three types of ditches you can fall into:

  • Narrow but deep.
  • Wide but shallow.
  • And the worst of them all…wide and deep.
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Narrow and deep ditches are easy to jump over, but if you happen to fall in it’s bad news. These are tasks that have low risk of failure but if you do fail, they can have severe consequences.   There’s a low chance of losing your top three clients in one week, but if it happens it can be a deep hole to climb out of.

The wide but shallow business ditches are nearly impossible to avoid but with careful planning they are quick to get out of.  An internet outage at your office, a typo on social media post, double booking a meeting—these are the everyday pitfalls that we all fall into but recover quickly from.

Wide and deep business ditches are the ones you must make every effort to avoid.   These are challenging because they are both easy to fall into and hard to get out of.  Cash flow issues, company-wide employee morale challenges, client concentration risks—the scary list goes on.

None of these dicthes are fun to fall victim to.  But, staying in the house forever, never taking any risks at all, also has its downside.  Deciding whether to take a chance on an ice-covered hill or stay inside is tricky.

I’ve found that when you do venture out, whether it’s navigating snow or navigating business risks, the key is to slow down, keep your eyes peeled, and resist the temptation to make any sudden turns that can send you sliding.

 JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba, a custom software development firm and Nashville IT support company. Visit Atiba.com for more info.

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