Guest Post by Taylor Miller
Many of the lessons we learn in other areas of our life can be applied to starting your own business. Nowhere is that more true for me than with running! Much of what I’ve learned can apply to the business world, especially for entrepreneurs. These are just a few parallels between “pounding the pavement” for health and start-ups.
Don’t be afraid to get started.
A lot of people are shy about running for the first time, but what you learn once you get out there is that the benefits far outweigh the fear. Picking up a new hobby or starting a small business can be scary, but the rewards are more than worth it. Plus, there just as many resources for start-ups as there are for runners, like the U.S. Small Business Administration, who gives tips and pointers to those just getting started.
Once you start running and realize how rewarding it is, it’s easy to tackle too many miles early on. That can lead to burnout and injury – just like taking on too much in your professional life can make you stressed and less effective. So start slow and take on bite-sized chunks until you can handle more.
Running is a great hobby for numbers junkies and the ultra-competitive. Keeping track of your mileage and page can help you see improvements you’ve made and areas you need to work on. This is also true for the small business owner. Keep detailed notes, spreadsheets and calendars to keep tabs on how projects are going and note which areas need more attention.
Many runners have icons that help them drive towards success. The same goes for anyone who dreams or is in the process of launching a small business. Join local and national groups to network and learn from successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Estee Lauder, Sam Calagione, Jeff Bezos, and more.
One of the best parts of picking up running as a hobby is entering races. Pick a distance you want to tackle or a race with tight qualifying standards as something to work toward as you improve. Likewise, it’s essential to think big about what you want to accomplish long-term career-wise. Planning for where you want to be rather than where you are is a fantastic way to utilize the resources out there, like using a small business loan to fund an expansion.
Those big dreams won’t get you anywhere unless you have specific goals that will help you reach them. This means coming up with a training plan for that race or setting deadlines for when you want to accomplish small projects that will add up to your big business dream. Zappos in particular has a well-laid out, concise, and simple vision for where they want to go right on their website.
Learn from your mistakes.
Running and business are all about trial and error. Whether it’s discovering the best shoe for your stride or how much money to allocate to a project, experimentation is key. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but the lessons you learn will allow you to progress. Growth is impossible without growing pains, especially when you are just starting out.
To be a successful runner or small business owner, you have to put the work in day after day. It’s raining? Time to lace up anyway. Don’t feel like working on that proposal? Just get started and see where it takes you. Remember, most things in life are more like marathons than sprints. This is especially essential when the economic foreground decides it’s slowing down, with or without you. Use these times as opportunities to evaluate and improve.
It’s the journey, not the destination.
While we all want to accomplish our goals, whether it’s crossing that finish line of a big race or getting a promotion, everything that happens along the way is what really counts. Remember that when the going gets tough and it’ll help keep the big picture in mind as you work to reach your goals.
Taylor Miller is a contributor to the finance blog at National Funding and regularly writes about small business loans, equipment leasing and merchant account services. For writing inquiries, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Everything I Know About Business I Learned from Running
Wonderful post, Taylor! Running is definitely a great metaphor for taking action and leading. As you so beautifully state, dedication is required to keep running and leading, especially when obstacles or roadblocks present themselves.
I would also add that being passionate about whatever you are doing helps a great deal. I love being a leadership trainer because I love creating cultures of empowerment where we each can lead from wherever we are.
Great post. I think that’s why so many leaders are attracted to endurance sports. http://leadchangegroup.com/leader-athletes-training-long-for-the-long-run/
This is cool! I love how you draw the lessons from running! So many fine lessons can be gleaned by this activity that takes staying power and so much more. I used to compare life to cross country running when I was running in High School. (Life is my topic 😉 Stay the course!
Thanks Lori! I’m glad you could relate to the post. I know cross country is tough so I’m sure you have learned a lot about life! 🙂