Starting a Business is like Running an Ultra Marathon. Both of which I have experience with, I might add. So take it from me when I say it will not be easy – even though we sometimes think this is a piece of cake.
When we think we are going to take up the Challenge we see ourselves as already completing the Race and we can just sit back enjoying the spoils. To us at this stage it is not about wining the race but having participated and having achieved the goal to complete the race.
With our Vision of where we will be, clearly in our minds we set off and start this adventure. Some of us start off as maybe having participated in a half marathon or some of us just seeing our friends & family undertaking this challenge, thinking to ourselves “I can do this”.
With this as motivation we are eager to get this ball on the roll and questions start to pop up like “where do I start with my training?” or “What must I do first?” or “who can help me?”. In many cases we are novices in this monumental adventure and often just follow our own heads or ask a friend.
As we eventually start our training we discover, that through talking to ‘veterans’ we pick up little scraps of information, which we think may be applicable. Some are and some are not but we are grasping at anything to try and get information. With some of this advice we become slightly more skilled in running (or so we think).
We are on the road everyday of the week hitting the sidewalk and we think we are progressing along pretty well when all of a sudden – someone asks “do you have a training Plan?” With this puzzled look you on your face you inquire, in a meek voice – “a training what?”
At this point the conversation with the ‘Veteran’ starts to become interesting as he is talking about “How much effort you should put in” as well as “How to measure if you are on track”. Then out of the blue the next phrase bomb is dropped – “what objectives have you set yourself?” At this stage you are now wondering two things, firstly “what have I got myself into?” and secondly “I need to re-think this”.
It is here that the realisation sets in that the personal vision of completing this mammoth 89km road race is there, however there is no plan or strategy on HOW to get there. We realise it is far more complex than just running aimlessly each day and we need help.
With this analogy of The Race we start to realise the similarities with our Business and THREE of the most important Strategic Elements of any Business, namely;
a. Personal Vision – We start off with a clear vision of what we want to achieve, yet as time passes we lose sight of this because we are working IN the Business.
b. Business Vision – As with the Personal Vision we need to know where we want to take this Business, to ultimately realise our Personal Vision.
c. Strategy – We need a Strategy of how we are going to achieve the Business Vision. Taking this ‘Long Term Vision’ and breaking it down into bite size chunks (milestones & objectives) and having a plan to get there. To have the plan is just one step in this strategy you also need to measure progress regularly to;
i. Confirm you are still on track,
ii. This will serve as a motivator to see you are improving.
So stop and think for a moment where am I in my Business and am I prepared to start the training, to run this race we call “The Business”?