Serial entrepreneur Glen Blickenstaff says his retirement goal of living on a boat is the benchmark to which he measures all his business decisions.
“Basically I’m on my way to Australia.” That was a line delivered by James Garner in the 1969 movie Support your Local Sheriff! He was handy with a six shooter and basically an entrepreneur, well a drafted entrepreneur. The thing is, like most of us I’m not sure he ever got where he was going. But he knew where he wanted to go.
About seven years ago my wife and I sat on our back porch and decided what we wanted when we retired, or semi-retired because I have some writing I want to do. I was surprised at both her interest in the topic and her choice. You see for about eighteen years I have been looking for a boat. Not just any boat, a 1955 to 1965 fifty-plus foot Chris Craft Constellation or Commander. Well she said, “Why don’t we buy your boat and then live on it?” I was floored. Did she mean it? She had done some research about living aboard yachts and decided this was for us. So for the last seven years we have been looking for just the right one. Hopefully we aren’t too many years away.
My goal is not extravagant, but it is a goal. Now we look at opportunities or aspects of the business and always measure it against one particular benchmark. Does it help us move toward the boat? That’s the question. It has become both a bellwether and common frame of reference for me and my most important partner.
I can tell you it’s never too early to define this, and it’s okay if it changes over time. So when people ask me what are your goals, I tell them, “Basically I’m on my way to the boat.” In the immortal words of that American icon Jimmy Buffett, “Where it all ends I can’t fathom my friends, if I knew I might toss out my anchor.”
GLEN BLICKENSTAFF is the CEO of The Iron Door company, which makes high-end doors and windows. Glen has a track record of turning around and managing retail, building and financial companies. @glenblickenstaf