Date: 09/03/2015 | By: Alison Tarry

As small business owners who have been there and done it (and are still very much ‘wearing the t-shirt’), we understand as well as anybody that the path to business success is never an easy or straightforward one. Sometimes the path is curvy, other times it’s blocked. Sometimes it’s hidden. It’s perfectly normal to zig and zag in business. Who was it that said ‘If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere’ or ‘a smooth sea never made a skilful sailor’? Both ring true with us: only by overcoming the obstacles in our path do we grow, learn and ultimately become better at what we do.


Have you ever head the famous story of ‘the obstacle in the path’? It’s a good one to remember the next time you find yourself in two minds about whether to tackle a problem head on, or to ignore or skirt around it. It goes like this…


In a distant land, many hundreds of years ago a king placed a boulder on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would try to remove it. He observed many of his wealthiest merchants and courtiers come past and simply walk around it. Many of them loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but not a single one of them did anything about it. 


Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables to sell at the market over the river. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his load and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his vegetables, ready to get on his way, he noticed a purse lying in the dusty bit of ground where the boulder had been. Picking it up, he found that the purse contained a good many gold coins and a note from the king that said that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.


The peasant learned what many never understand: that every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition. What should we take from this? The knowledge that when we buckle down and tackle our problems head on, our perseverance will be rewarded. Not necessarily with gold coins (but here’s hoping!)


Need some business support? A friendly sounding board? Some specialist expertise? Get in touch. We are all real business people running real businesses. We don’t claim to have “made it” – we’re all constantly learning more about growing a sustainable business and are keen to share our mistakes as well as our triumphs to help you on your path to success.