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Welcome To The Jungle

Are you ready for the untamed wilderness of entrepreneurship?
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

Business is often described as a jungle, but the closest most people who work in this urban wilderness have come to a real jungle is seeing one in the movies.

That's not the case for financial advisor Dale Anderson. In fact, with a trek into the Himalayas, a canoeing trip down the Amazon River and a Kenyan safari under her belt, this Eugene, Oregon, resident uses her adventure experience to develop strategies that can help female entrepreneurs navigate the wilds of Wall Street, Main Street . . . or the Amazon. Here are her tips:

Be prepared. "The better-equipped you are, the [greater] your odds of survival," says Anderson, author of True Life Can Be Hard To Find (1st Books). "When I went to the Amazon and Nepal, I couldn't believe the number of immunizations I needed. When you apply all this to business, it means get the best training possible, keep your skills sharp and have a map of where you're going."

Get guidance. On many of her adventures, Anderson relied on an experienced guide. When you don't know the territory, she says, having a mentor who does can make a huge difference between learning the ropes and plunging over a cliff.

Beware of the snake in the grass. In the jungle, says Anderson, "snakes can be very well-camouflaged." Likewise, in the business world, sometimes you can't tell who is and isn't a snake, and snakes always strike when least expected. Use caution when dealing with snakes. Know their strengths and weaknesses, and, as Anderson advises, "always have a contingency plan, or a 'venom kit.' "

Remember, position is everything. Another lesson Anderson learned on her journeys was where to sit. "Sit above and in front of the poop deck. In business, this translates to avoiding the dirt, the complaining, the gossip. Lay low until you're sure of your surroundings."

Embrace change. The final trait the adventurer learned is flexibility. "It's crucial," says Anderson. "Life isn't a contest with clear-cut successes and failures. Consequently, you must use every experience, learn from it and let it take you forward."

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