Running a Business? Swim. Ride. Run

Running a business is like taking part in a triathlon that requires you to swim, run and ride.

Being an entrepreneur or running your own business is about:

1. Developing a discipline of training and development

Coming from college or from employment to running your own business requires a whole new set of skills. Primarily it calls for a heart and mind open to learning on the fly and constantly being in a lab where you are working towards a certain fulfillment.

It means developing a routine that includes learning, reading, exploring and interacting with others. This is because managing a business demands from your depths of knowledge. If you are shallow, then there won’t be much differentiation you can offer compared to other average players in the market.

2. Effective transitioning

A good business grows; but you need to set up metrics, which, when reviewed, will tell you where you are at and if you need to make plans for expansion or cutbacks.

Sometimes I compare businesses to the human body. You can never really tell when you grew tall but it happened and you noticed it. Areyou aware of the day or time or month when you lost or gained that one pound or kilo of weight, but it happened. You noticed it because some metrics were applied.

The same thing with your business and you can only notice it’s transition from

  • infancy to growth
  • loss to break even
  • market leader to number 3
  • 50% customer retention to 25%, etc

if you are measuring these elements.

It is metrics that determine how effectively you handle the change/ transition from good to better or from worst to good.

3. Building endurance

To participate in a triathlon you need to have trained in all three sports – swimming, running and riding a bike. Independent of each other, these sports are already demanding on your body. So, if you are expected to do all three in a timed span then you are simply being called to build endurance in your body.

In your business, you quickly learn that you must know and be ready to work every angle. Handle customers, staffing issues, product issues, government related issues (taxes, licences), in addition to having a life of your own.

That’s why I no longer believe in work life balance. I now subscribe to work-life integration because work-life balance suggests a silo-style of living. Integration means you have everything in your life laid out like musical notes ready to be played out by you.

You may not do it all alone because delegation is a big part of being in business, but you have to know enough to enable you make the right decisions at the right time.

Conclusion

Every phase of your business requires a unique version of you. It demands the expression of your skill set on different forms from time to time because of what needs to be achieved

You must therefore be perceptive enough to know where your business is at and where it is going so that you don’t lose steam along the way.

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Wangari Maina

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