It occurred to me at the almost-halfway point of an ultramarathon that I should have stuck with regular marathons – but that was just an old, untrained mindset speaking. Looking up at a hill, crying inside to myself, I recalled working with my running coach. I reminded myself that I had trained for moments like this, when I wanted to give up because it was difficult. These key words might sound a little familiar to you if you’re thinking about starting a business – a hill; give up; difficult. So if you think you would never want to try to run an ultramarathon without training with a coach first, why would you want to try opening a business without a coach?
It was around mile 20 out of 50 of this ultramarathon trail that my body wanted nothing more than to quit. I was nauseated, covered with sweat and spit-up, and dirt. At this pivotal moment when I could have given up, I heard the other runners encouraging me to keep going, but mainly I remembered the training and preparation my coach gave me for moments like these. Giving myself a pep talk in my coach’s voice, I felt renewed inspiration and I started slowly up the hill. As my body recovered, I picked up speed. I had started this ultramarathon in the morning, and by the time I finished it was getting dark – but I finished my first ultramarathon. It was a success.
I liken training for my first ultramarathon to starting a business. For both you need to know technique, strategy, and analysis. There is a lot of planning to do, a lot of organization, and you need to stay focused on the goals ahead – winning the race. Without my running coaches, I would not have succeeded in my first ultramarathon. Without a business coach, getting lost in the race is all too easy. You might never plan to run a marathon, but you might be thinking about starting a business (it might be easier than running a marathon), and I learned some valuable lessons doing both that will help you in your journey.
Have a plan and measure progress: Running a 50 mile ultramarathon takes preparation both physically and mentally. You need to train for each race with a detailed plan for success, and it needs to include physical training, proper nutrition, and scheduled recovery.
Starting a business needs the same kind of careful planning. Knowing what needs to be completed and planned for before launching your business is crucial. Just like your marathon plan for success, your business needs an even more detailed plan including financial organization, intention for growth, and ability to recover from loss. With plans behind each milestone goal, you can continue to run the hill and not worry about muscle cramps or running short of breath.
Be prepared: While training for a marathon, unexpected things can happen – you could catch a cold, or get injured while training. These things, although small setbacks, can quickly compound into disorganization in your trainings plans that put you behind and cost you success.
In running and in business, it’s important to expect the unexpected. Look at all possibilities, even if it seems impossible that they will happen to you. Your preliminary plan can be short term goal focused, but it’s just as important to look ahead to the ultimate success of your business. By gauging all possible outcomes and every milestone step along the way, you can plan ahead and implement strategies to bring yourself back on track if you find yourself derailed.
You can’t do it on your own – Hire a coach: I started working with my running coach because I didn’t know where to begin. I knew what my goals were and I knew what I needed to do to reach them, but where should I begin? How long should I spend on each goal? My running coach organized me and provided workouts, advice, race strategy, and analysis based on my specific needs and weak points. A business coach will do the same for your business. They will take your goals and organize them from beginning to end. They will point out which areas you might be weak in, and offer solutions and advice. Most importantly, a business coach is there to teach you how to set up your strategy, and how to properly analyze your outcome so you can make more informed decisions.
Just like training for a marathon, starting a new business can be a daunting endeavor – but you don’t have to do it alone. Many first time business owners just think hiring a coach is not in their startup budget, but think about this – is making costly errors in your finances in your budget? The right coach will help you understand common errors, how to sidestep them, and ultimately save you more money in the long run.
Do you have a business idea? By booking a free 30 minute session we can chat about the direction of your business, and how to set you up for success right from the start.