Building a Business is a Marathon Not a Sprint

Building a business
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When I first began building my business, I think I had the wrong idea. I think so many business owners do. You see, I thought (and it’s kind of funny some 15 years later), that if I worked hard enough for a little while – at the front end, the rest would be easy.

In other words, I thought building a business was a sprint event. Go hard, then stop. Hopefully medal and then bask in the glory of what would come.

Have you ever thought that if you just did enough that somehow, the business would magically take on a life of its own, providing for itself and you along the way?

Reality check time – building a business is really a marathon event. Sure there are times when you go a little faster, but there are just as many times when you pull it back a bit to conserve some energy. And sometimes, you rest – otherwise you burn yourself out.

But you get up the next day, next week, next month, the next year and keep going.

Any truly successful business owner (and truly successful sportsperson who ultimately wins those really big medals) will tell you that the journey is one of millions and millions of small steps – some forward, some back a few steps and some even sideways – mostly at a steady, consistent pace. It’s almost never the linear progression that we think it will be when we start out.

And there are times, usually after a few years, when it seems that the momentum you’ve gained will carry you along magically. But that’s usually a bit of a mirage. Certainly you’ll build up momentum and rhythm  – which is great – but if you relax your focus on where you’re going and allow your business to drift unchecked, you can end up in a place you weren’t expecting possibly with a raft of problems to boot. Problems with staff, clients, products/services, the marketplace, the very structure of the business you created.

So, if you feel that you’re starting to get too comfortable and zone out of your business, please take a rest or better yet a holiday – a little like the holiday driving ads – stop, revive, survive. Yes, really – take a break. Come back refreshed and ready to get back to it, to keep at it.

A friend of mind has a saying, take a step forward and repeat. That’s exactly what the recipe for a successful business is. Keeping going.

No matter where you are in your business’ life, there will always be challenges along the way. You need to expect those and to a certain extent, that’s what keeps the business marathon interesting.

If you’re like the typical business owner, you probably blame yourself for those. If only you were a better (insert here), or had done (whatever)… you get the idea. Don’t – it’s all grist for the business mill.

From my own personal experience, you’re likely to learn your greatest lessons from those big challenges you experience. Now, I’m not saying, it’s not hard when you’re going through them, but when you get some distance, you’re often a better business owner for having gone through them.

One of the best lessons I learned early on was to find someone who was running their own marathon. Someone to keep me company, who understood where we were at and where I was going, someone who might provide words of encouragement when the path became a little difficult and for whom I could do the same.

That’s one of the joys of the SOI business – that we can provide a space where business owners can meet others on a similar path to them – no matter how different their actual businesses are. Someone who understands it’s a marathon.

If we can help you start or better continue on your own business marathon by allowing you more time to focus on what really matters in your business or providing you with the space (meeting, office or virtual) to get ahead, we’d be delighted to talk. You can call us on 9994 8000 or you can drop us a note.


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Article by Buck Samrai

June 3, 2014