Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership

Who Knew?

Recently I joined a few fellow photo club members on an outing to a nature preserve. My wife decided to tag along. We had several reasons for getting out despite the pandemic restrictions. One of them was that a cleaning crew would be in our home during the morning, and we usually find somewhere to go that is safe so that we can leave our home to them. Another reason was that we are going a little bit stir-crazy.

The outing made sense for us. The club members are COVID aware and careful. Masks are required, we would all be outside, and social distancing is enforced. The surprising thing was that

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this nature center is about 15 minutes from home, and we never knew it was there.

The Road Less Traveled

The Nix Nature Center is off of Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach, California. We’ve lived in this area for more than fifteen years, and that road is one of the only ways to go from our home to Laguna Beach—which is a frequent destination for us. Despite having passed by the Nix Nature Center innumerable times, neither my wife nor I realized this gem was there. Perhaps that happens when we are on a familiar road.  Many of our neighbors were also ignorant of the center’s existence.

But there it is, and it’s been there a long time, tucked away in the hills. It also has a small natural lake, which is unique in our semi-arid southern California location. The day was a typical, beautiful, southern California day—blue sky, warm temperatures, and lots of bird song.


One of the reasons I joined the photo club was discovering new places to go for different photography opportunities. The surprise was how close this opportunity was to home. It will be an excellent destination for those times when we want to get out and move but don’t want to spend an hour in the car to get someplace to take us back to nature.

Another reason I joined the club, of course, is to learn to be a better photographer. I have no intention of being a professional, just an amateur having fun and enjoying a hobby. Even if I considered myself a professional, I would do the same thing, which brings me to our businesses.

In Our Backyard

I’m curious about how many business leaders discover what’s in their backyard regarding business opportunities? What might that look like?

One common way to think about this concept is the desire to grow our business with existing customers. New customer acquisition is relatively expensive for most companies. Therefore, expanding the number of products or services to existing customers is generally more profitable. Are there more opportunities there for your team?

Another idea related to “in your backyard” might be adjacent industries that could use or adapt your product or services to their needs. An example of this from my background is digitization.  Companies are converting from analog to digital to accommodate the “Internet of Things” (IoT). That is certainly a growth opportunity as well.

I like the thoughts of looking closer to home for opportunities. It gives me a bit of a break from always thinking about disruption. It feels a bit more optimistic!