Planes, Trains, and Automobiles of Running a Business

by Mike Semanco

As we work through unprecedented challenges and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, these are the times when leaders need to shine. Our people are looking to us for answers,  clarity, and comfort.  Here’s a few tips that I’ve relied on over the years and will continue to focus on as business evolves.

•    Have partners, friends, and employees you can rely on as sounding boards. You never have to feel like you are stranded alone on an island.

•    Communicate the good, bad, and ugly with staff. The more they know, the easier it is to face challenges together.

•    Just when you think you have all the answers, expect a few more questions. You will never have 100% of your questions answered before you make a decision. Trust your gut and usually the 80% of which you have answered will be enough.

•    Commit to doing the right thing. I’ve seen many business owners take short cuts and ultimately it takes them longer to reach the goal.

•    You spend most of your waking hours working. Be sure to do what you love or it is not worth doing.

Running a business has many of the same characteristics as the famous holiday movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Steve Martin and John Candy had visions of the journey, but had no idea of the challenges they were about to face along the way.

Some how, some way, they were able to figure it out and ultimately reach their intended destination. They improvised, expressed themselves verbally to relieve some stress, never took no for an answer, and relied on their partnership to achieve their goal.

All entrepreneurs  have a vision of what they want to create, but how many times does it work as smooth as the vision? Almost never.

Resilient, persistent, and passionate are just a few of the adjectives which describe the characters in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Business owners can be described the same way.

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About the Author

Mike Semanco serves as President and Chief Operating Officer for Hitachi Business Finance. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial service industry. His career spans a variety of lending institutions, beginning with banks and credit unions to becoming a partner in launching Hennessey Capital in 2002 (which is now Hitachi Business Finance).
He can be reached at or (248) 658-3201.
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