To me, running a business and running long distances are a lot alike and require much of the same skill set.
For instance, running a business requires a lot of dedication. You work around the clock a lot of the time, mentally if not physically, from the time you wake in the morning until the time you drop into bed at night. You consider a variety of options to make your business stronger, you implement them, and you either reap the rewards or you change your plan midstream.
Running requires the same tenacity. You have to plan your daily schedule around your running, so that you can get that run in. You are constantly planning your next step, literally.
Business ownership requires creativity. While your business may not be the creative type, you’ll need to develop schedules and promotional materials and a twist on your concept that makes it stand out above the rest: Doing all of these requires creative thinking.
Running requires creativity. You need to design a way to get out and go the miles in while still keeping your mind sharp, giving your body fuel, and getting the rest of the stuff done that has to be done for the day.
Owning a company requires mental strength. You can’t let the others get you down. You have to understand your plan and continue to follow or change it as you tackle debts and angry customers, recessions and long work hours.
Running is the same: To run 26.2 miles, or even 10, requires a lot of mental strength. If you can’t switch your mind from thinking, “I can’t do this,” to, “I can,” you’ll never cross the finish line.
So why am I creating a post about running when this blog is about business? Because distant runner Dean Karnazes says in his book “50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days” this little morsel of advice:
Listen to everyone, follow no one.
While this post is about training advice for distance runners, it can also apply to those starting a company.
It is definitely important to follow the advice of those who have walked in your shoes. Business owners who have been in business for a while can offer invaluable insight and advice. They can:
- Help you make contacts in the business world
- Tell you what has worked for them and what has not
- Offer some ideas for marketing and advertising that you might not have considered
- Teach you about the variety of ways to set up your accounting, bookkeeping and payroll
However, they cannot tell you what will work for your company. Each business is different. What has made one company soar does not always work for another. While taking advice from others is great, you must also keep an open mind and do what you think is right for your business.
What if it fails? Reconsider. Reorganize. Redesign.
- Keep in mind what sets your business apart from others
- Capitalize on this: Market this specific niche to make your company stand out
- Use pieces of advice you hear that you think will work for yourself
- Keep a handy notebook or note cards on which you keep tabs on the different advice you hear and go through this from time to time; you may think something will not work at the start up but realize it probably has great potential after you have been in business for a while