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Test your assumptions: What works in shallow water may not work in deep water

[This post is part of a series on business…for business owner/managers and their lenders.]

In preparation for a day trip with friends in a kayak new to me, I went out on Eld Inlet in front of my home to practice a rescue. You see, in the Pacific Northwest it is just plain rude to join friends for a trip in 50° water with a quarter nautical mile passage and not have a self-rescue worked out.

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So I worked on it. [Skip the next paragraph if you are not a kayaker.]

This kayak had no deck rigging behind the cockpit to stabilize the paddle/float so I went on the internet to find a solution. I rigged up a stirrup from rope and an old piece of garden hose, with some spongy balls tied in a little bag for flotation. Business owners are often very innovative.

After about two hours, I had a rescue and felt confident going on the trip the next day. Here is the problem. Since I was alone while I worked on the rescue, I did not go in deep water. What worked with a stirrup in hip deep water, I thought, would work in deeper.

Confident or cocky?

The next day circumnavigating Ketron Island, I was enjoying myself and did not feel like checking my rescue. I went ahead thinking I could rescue myself if needed. I did not think of it as being cocky. I was confident I had a rescue down and could use it when the chips were down.

I was wrong

Fortunately, I found this out yesterday in a practice session on Ward Lake on a very hot day instead of today in the middle of Pickering Passage. I was going to show my sister my stirrup rescue. I was quite proud of myself.

I could not do it. In deep water, it didn’t work. I still cannot explain the physics of why it didn’t. I just know I was still in the water 30 minutes later, not in the boat. Had the water been 50° that would have been about 15 minutes too many.

So we switched to an assisted rescue. That did not work either. We finally made it work after many attempts and variations, and some gut-busting laughter as I tried to hang on the upside down bow of my boat to help her drain it.

I assumed I could self-rescue. And I assumed that failing that, I could get back in the boat with help. I was wrong on both counts and could have put myself and others in jeopardy.

What assumptions have you made about your business?

  • About the adequacy of your business loans?
  • About the strength of your best customers and the vendors you rely on?
  • About how long the recession will impact your business?
  • About cost predictions?

How can you test them?
 

About the Author
Linda Keith CPA is an expert in credit risk readiness and credit analysis. She trains banks and credit unions throughout the United States, both in-house and in open-enrollment sessions, on Tax Return and Financial Statement Analysis. She is in the trenches with lenders, analysts and underwriters helping them say "yes" to good loans. Creator of the Tax Return Analysis Virtual Classroom at www.LendersOnlineTraining.com, she speaks at banking associations on risk management, lending and director finance topics.