Timing the Flood

by Guy Ralfe on March 31, 2010

I came across this quote from William Shakespeare

“Timing is everything. There is a tide in the affairs of men which when taken at the flood leads on to fortune.”

It resonated quickly with me as I have just been through two such events recently. In the quote there are two components to the statement above that are very relevant in business:

  • Timing – being at the right place at the right time
  • Opportunity/Risk – what’s on offer at the right time

A while ago a group of us wanted to start a project. We came together and bought into a project as minority shareholders. At the time our assessments was that the investment was aligned with the return. A number of months on and with the project experiencing some hiccups and delays most of the group became distracted on other now more pertinent projects. In my case I have decided to quit my job and go and start a new business half way across the country. Now it would just happen that at the same time as I undergo my change,  the original project suddenly gets a spurt of life and with a flurry of activity another opportunity arises to invest. Only this time the project is at a stage where a product is almost in sight. In addition the particular circumstances determine that the same investment can net you more equity than at the start.

We considered it great timing back at the start of the project when I was liquid and invested, but now the opportunity is half as risky, and costing half as much for a like stake. This is the flood referred to in the quote. This is being at the right place for the jackpot and you are able to play.

Just as it is easy to have 20/20 hind sight, it feels obvious, this is when I would rather have invested, but now I can’t due to my career change decision…that’s business. Decisions are made in the moment, the sequence of events there after play out differently based on the actions taken.

The trick to hitting the flood is anticipating the future and being conscious about the decisions you make…and that they likely won’t affect just one aspect of your life.

Related Articles

Previous post:

Next post: