There are so many similarities between business owners and marathon runners.
They both ultimately have a goal to succeed and win, they will face any hurdles with a positive and committed attitude and they keep a keen eye on all of their competitors.
If you want to become a better entrepreneur, you first of all need to channel your inner athlete.
Conditions are not always ideal but that doesn’t stop people trying
Unfortunately, Marathon runners can’t choose the weather on race day. Instead, they have to plan for every eventuality.
This is the same for business owners. Every company thrives under different conditions, whether that’s a pub which makes the majority of its profits during the summer months, an MOT garage which gets lots of customers during the ice cold winter or a hair salon whose services become popular around Christmas.
Although businesses can be especially profitable during certain times of the year, the owner still has to carry on and move forward during tough periods. Just like a sportsperson, you have to stay strong, focused and motivated.
Be patient and work hard
Many business owners have fantastic, innovative ideas which they hope will be a great success one day. However, this isn’t something that comes over night, no matter how much you want it.
Entrepreneurs must take baby steps and persevere to achieve their end goal. Just think, would you attempt to run a marathon without preparing? No, you have to put your trainers on and take small steps to achieve a big dream.
The same goes for running a business, you have to really work hard and push yourself everyday until you accomplish all you set out to.
Your attitude determines your success
Bad attitude? Unfortunately, you’re not going very far. The people around you will be full of information that you should take on board to better your products or services. Even if the individual trying to guide you has never owned a business (or jogged a day in their life), what’s to say they haven’t come up with a really valuable idea.
Although you might think you know best, there are people out there who will help push you in the right direction, listen to them.
Watch out for your competitors
Having competitors is inevitable, no matter how niche your product is. As a business owner, you need to keep a keen eye on what they’re doing. What sorts of prices do they offer, how is their customer service? Whatever they do, you can do better. Remember, you’ve worked hard to be in the position you are so carry on doing your best and you’ll win the race.
Success takes training
Competitive athletes know if they don’t make the time for the proper training, they will pay for it on race day.
Most competitive athletes agree that pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone garners the best results on race day.
Comparing this to business
Meetings in business should always have an agenda even if is just open discussion just like a training schedule, every meeting should have a purpose, a process and a desired outcome.
In the same way, business professionals would not be successful without the proper education and on-the-job training.
Success doesn’t happen overnight
Some bicyclists train for more than a year for one race while marathon runners may choose an intense ten-week program. With only so many hours in a day, competitive athletes have to practice strong time management skills to fit it all in.
“Schedule time, keep track of everything and have a mileage goal
It takes experience to know when to rethink your goals and adjust your strategy
The same is true for a new business owner who has not been able to recognize a profit in the first few years of operation.
“You need to accept that things don’t always go your way, take a look at what happened and factor in where you fell short.”
“Sales goals seem more attainable when they are broken down, try looking at monthly or weekly sales goals rather than from an entire year’s perspective. “Things are not going to happen instantly.”
Combination of skills and attitude contribute to success
Competitive athletes need to be in good physical shape. However, most say once the race is underway, the challenge becomes as much mental as it does physical.
“A good athlete has mental toughness to get through the tough times during a race
Being mentally prepared and having a positive attitude is as important as possessing the right skill set in business. It is the same mental toughness that gets a business professional through losing a big contract and the confidence they need to get back on track.
Being mentally in the game also allows an individual to know when to change the course.
One person cannot get the job done
Even though it’s individuals crossing the finish line or receiving a medal on the podium, there are several people that support competitive athletes along the way.
And just like a trainer helps during a grueling workout, family members and friends who travel to cheer on their loved ones are part of the team as well.
Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been so successful without a brilliant team of creative people behind him.
Stay focused on the competition
Both athletes and business professionals need to stay alert to competitive changes.
Athletes focus on the competition and the ultimate goal is to make it on the podium. Many will look at the list of participants and familiarize themselves so they make sure they keep up the pace. They often speak after the race to talk best practices in training.
It is no different than identifying your competition as a professional and trying to learn as much as you can about what they are doing right.
Benchmark yourself against them, if they are successful in certain areas take the time to learn how they are doing it.
Individuals can do impossible things when they put their minds to it
Even things that are difficult can be fun and rewarding. anyone is capable of achieving their goals if they put their mind to it.
Both athletes and business professionals often obsess over having the perfect equipment or latest technology because they feel it will help them succeed. The best bike seat ever made and the latest version of the newest Smartphone don’t bring success. The right attitude to stay the course, a proper training program that sets attainable goals and a supportive team does and will help pave the way for success in the race or in the boardroom.