Business is a marathon

Business is a marathon and most of society thinks it’s a sprint

’Business is a marathon and most of society thinks it’s a sprint.’ Gary Vaynerchuck.

We live in a world that is advancing and changing faster than at any other time in history. Technology is constantly evolving causing completely different industries to emerge. This is a world where people want everything on demand and expectations continue to soar. With this, comes a certain mentality towards business. It is the idea that everything needs to move at the speed of light. A mentality that believes a successful business is one that explodes overnight.

But we believe that business should be looked at as a marathon. Something you train and prepare for, and which calls for resilience and the ability to constantly overcome hurdles. Something that requires consistency and pays dividends for determination.

Xero’s co-founder and UK MD, Gary Turner, summarised this mentality when he said, ‘Success means careful planning, a lot of time, consistent effort and discipline, and patience when the odds feel like they are stacked against you.’

Don’t expect to win the race in a matter of seconds

Usain Bolt can run the 100 metres in 9.58 seconds. In the blink of an eye he has done the job and is standing on a podium pulling out his characteristic pose. Save for the one in a million, this is not the case in the business world. Creating a successful and sustainable business takes time, care and consistent, concerted effort. If you toil under the belief that your business has to hit Forbes rich list within the first year, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. It is important to have dreams and goals, but if you place too much emphasis on a specific goal and attach success to it, you can set yourself up for long-term disappointment.

Know when to have a breather

Sometimes when running a long race you need to stop and refuel. You need to throw back a sneaky Snickers® bar and Powerade® and give yourself time to stretch. It is also important in business to be aware of your potential burnout cues. Are you getting sick too often; are you having trouble sleeping? Be aware of your wellbeing and make sure you take enough time to relax and recharge. Looking at the findings in a recent Xero report, it is apparent that successful small business owners make taking breaks a priority. The research found that fifty-two per cent of small business owners admit they want to give themselves more time off in 2017 than they did last year to prevent burning out. If you can put your wellbeing high on the priority lists and take care of your best asset (yourself), you are setting your business up to succeed.

Prepare for some bumps in the road

As Sophocles said – there is no success without hardship. Business isn’t a 100-metre race where the end is in sight and you can count every step you have to take. Business is a process of ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and you need to prepare, plan and train to get through it all. Set up contingency plans for when you hit a speed bump and don’t dash off, pedal to the metal, into every new opportunity that presents itself without doing the due diligence. This doesn’t mean you can’t take risks, but be thorough and take note of any red flags that pop up along the way.

Practice, patience

When you are mid-marathon, pushing through goals and overcoming hurdles, you must be willing to ignore the small pebbles in your shoe and be able to conserve energy for the final dash – this is where patience comes in. I recently heard a childcare teacher say to a young boy waiting to be picked up, ‘Practice your patience.’ It got me thinking about just how important patience is in business. It also helped me realise that patience is something that needs to be practised and worked towards. It is a tool that will come in handy as you lay the foundations for a stable and successful business. Plus, when we lack patience, we are unable to delay gratification for longer than the moment, which fills us with frustration. Frustration is the emotional energy that drives ‘quitting’. Which, as you might know, is not a great business tendency.

We hope that by adopting this mentality, your business can continue to flourish and hit all of its goals. For help or further advice on anything in the bookkeeping world or to continue the conversation, give us a call today!

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