At the weekend I took part in my first cross-country of the 2014/15 season. And it struck me that there are some similarities between a cross-country race and running your own business (yep, it’s one of those posts!).
- First off, there is a goal that you want to achieve. It might be just finishing without having to stop for breath; it might be to beat a specific rival; it might be to better your previous time; it might be to grow the business a specific amount; or it might be to attain a specific profit. You know what your specific goal is.
- Everyone around you in the race is a competitor to your successful completion of the course. But that doesn’t mean we all stand there death-staring each other at the start line. We know each other to a certain degree from other races, and we know what we are about to embark on. Most of us are friends first and competitors second, something that works well when involved in small enterprises.
- During every cross-country race, and every small business venture, there will be some extremely tough times. However these are usually offset by periods that are easier, where you start to overtake the competition and your goal really looks attainable.
- Everyone seems to be cheering you on. This is something I really noticed at the race – people you’ve never met are yelling at you to keep going, dig deep. It really is inspiring. I’ve had the same experience starting Geoger Ltd. too – lots of people have said how I need to keep at it, ask for help, really put in the effort to see the rewards. And they’re right!
- Support also comes from within the competitors. We might be out there all vying to reach our goals and be the best we can against those around us, but if someone in our community (be it of runners or SME’s) goes down, then we all feel their pain. So we support each other where we can.
- The best thing I heard at the weekend was the following exchange between a runner I had just passed and one of the marshals. It’s a bit cheesy, but it worked well at the time, and it’s true of setting up and running your own business – you’re in the race so you are already half way there:
- Marshal (to runner): You’re doing really well!
- Runner: No I’m not. He passed me.
- Marshal: You are. You’re in the race.
OK, I’ll admit that there isn’t an analogy to business that I can think of for the water-jump we ran through. That was just cold, wet, muddy fun!
Photo credit: Glenn Harper (http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennharper/)