For the past 18 months, I have had the wonderful pleasure and experience in serving as a business planning coach/consultant to 125 lobstermen and women and a few Maine blueberry farmers. This happened under the auspices of a USDA program. I learned a lot from each and everyone of them. My clients ranged in age from 16 years old to 80+.
The 16 year old I worked with summarized his personal situation this way:
“Although there are not many people that live in my community living here has made me the person that I am today. It’s nothing like living in the city. The community is made up of hard working individuals who have great determination and drive to be successful.
Being around these people has made me want to become successful and be a hard working man and make something out of my life. I have many people who motivate me including my father who has always taught me since I was a kid that if you work hard everyday you will be able to accomplish your goals and you will be successful. He is the reason I have been able to accomplish what I have in lobstering at such a young age. I have learned everything I know about the fishing industry from my father and I enjoy catching lobsters just as much as he does.”
One of my 80+ year old lobstermen was a gentleman who lives on a small island off the coast of Portland Maine – population 363. Here’s a synopsis of his plan in his own words.
Plan Summary – Sixty years ago I could have written a super business plan. Today my plan is simple – each year I’ll haul fewer traps and try to catch more lobsters per trap.
Goals- My goal at first was to make money to care for my growing family. A score or so years later I strived to be the best lobsterman ever. After many years as a ‘high liner’ (i.e.the highest average catch rate per trap) I probably came close. Maybe I even made it. Now at 84 years what I hope I’ve accomplished is the respect of the other fishermen.