Surviving long enough to win in business requires a plan, strategy, patience, and…the personal strength to persist through whatever gets thrown at you. If you are running a business, it’s much like running a race: you have to have a game plan, the burning desire to reach the finish line at the head of the pack and, you have to pace yourself. You have to start strong, go hard, and learn when to back off; pace yourself to gain your second wind, then put on full steam when you are headed towards your end goal. You will have no reserve to make it to the end if you drain yourself completely early on or in mid-run, or become so exhausted you have no reserves for what happens next.
We’re not talking about the end of your business when we talk end goals; we’re talking about making it to the end of a project or time period successfully – with steam left over for the next run. We’re talking about having the energy for the business growth spurt when everything seems to happen at once – new contracts, new customers, customers with changes in needs and wants, subcontractors with problems delivering the goods, new production line problems. Let’s not forget to mention employee problems, and the good, the bad and the ugly problems that afflict us all in for-profit and not-for-profit business.
In business, as in life, everything seems to happen at once. And just for good measure, something critical is usually happening in your home or social life at the same time your business hits a really critical point.
“You don’t drown by falling into water. You only drown if you stay there.”
When it comes to business, it is not a sprint to the finish. But there are quarter mile dashes here that will push you to your limit. In every business, there is truly a time when you need to be able to survive the rush, or the crush, whatever it is. Managing it takes strategy, foresight and reflection – prior to entering the fray. You have to know your strengths and your weaknesses, and have defined to the best of your ability your anticipated challenges and opportunities. You have to know what your competition is doing. That is a lot of doing, and it’s hard doing it alone.
“When you Catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.”
One of the toughest things for a business owner to learn is how to let go. Let go of complete control; let go of aspects of the business; delegate power to others; and finally, to admit that there are some things you are very, very good at, and other things that you really do not want to do, have no interest in doing, and really, if you don’t want to sink your own boat, should have someone else do. Learning to differentiate these things is an important aspect of building a healthy and successfully sustainable business.
This knowledge is what helps you develop the workable strategy. If you don’t strategize, you will run out of steam before you have navigated those periods when everything seems to be moving at the same time. Believe the experience of thousands: your body, or your world will, at the potentially worst possible time, come up with something to force you to slow down to take a look at what is going on from a different perspective. So if you really don’t want to lose control, plan, plan, and plan in advance.
Staying in the game is about strategy. It’s about learning when you have warning signals that tell you things are in danger of getting out of control. It’s about learning that even you have limits and boundaries that need to be acknowledged, recognized and planned for.
“Good work habits help develop an internal toughness and a self-confident attitude that will sustain you through every adversity and temporary discouragement.”
So how do you strategize when you start out, when you are growing, or when you are an entrepreneur on the trail of a hot new idea?
There are all kinds of help out there for you: Government bodies designed to help you; mentors who are only too happy to share the ups and downs and benefit of their experience; coaches who have experience, and coaches who have personally trained to help guide you towards effectively using your own knowledge, training, and intuition; your own gut instincts about what you are trying to achieve. Like an Olympic coach for top athletes, your coach will give you confidence; help you develop a workable plan and strategy. They will give you encouragement; and, they will warn you about and help you avoid some of the potential snags and pitfalls, exhaustion, and fatigue that so many run into and don’t survive.
Part of a good strategy in business is knowing what is yours to do, what you don’t need to do, what you should hire someone else to do, and when it is time to change up your strategy, This is part of learning how to succeed. It’s keeping your eye on the current end goal at all times, in everything you do, through everything that gets thrown at you, and knowing when to slow down, when to speed up and when to put on that last burn of energy. You can do it. You can get through it, even when it seems impossible.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”