Running a business looks a lot like being (and staying) healthy. Neither one of these things is easy. It takes strategy, time, and dedication. Having a successful business doesn’t happen overnight. Likewise, just one workout or one clean meal won’t make you healthy or thin. Whether you’re trying to maintain a healthy body or a healthy business, it’s all about consistency and taking the steps to move forward and make things happen.
When starting a business, you write a business plan, get financing, hire employees, get work, and the list goes on. You have some wins, you have some losses, but you keep moving forward. It’s like doing the cha-cha. You might take two steps forward and one step back, but in the end you are still moving forward. It’s never perfect and it never will be, but you are making progress and growing your business. You set up the steps to implement the strategy and complete each task to eventually achieve your ultimate goal.
If you have a business plan written, this provides a map to guide you in the desired direction of the firm. You can try something and if it doesn’t work, the good thing is you can change it. If it does work, then you can continue on and make improvements as you go. You can refine the successes and minimize the failures. Most successful entrepreneurs fail ten times more than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Trying things isn’t a bad thing, but you have to be willing to fail.
So let’s go back to the health example. When you are trying to build muscle, you lift until the point of fatigue or failure. (Now if you are toning muscles, then that’s a different story.) You want your muscles to fail so they grow stronger. That’s the entire point of lifting heavy. Then when your muscles recover after a day or two, you can lift again. Over time, your muscles will be able to lift even more weight — but that happens gradually, not overnight. Because you’ve trained them, they have the capacity to lift heavier. This is true in business as well. The more you prepare and plan, the better equipped you are to handle any business situation. By continuing to challenge yourself, you make progress and make it better for clients and employees.
You will make mistakes along the way, but the important thing is that you learn from them and know how to avoid them in the future. Most of these mistakes won’t put you out of business, but they could, so you’ve got to evaluate the options to make sure a mistake won’t cost you the loss of your business. Failure isn’t a bad thing unless it lands you in jail or bankrupt. (Although there are many successful entrepreneurs that have filed for bankruptcy.)
Running a business takes a team, which can include full time employees, business colleagues, peer groups, or trusted advisors. All these people can be resources for you, the business owner. The more educated you are about your business and industry, the more opportunities will come your way. Knowing trends in your business and your client’s business is also important and the people mentioned above can keep you informed on such things. They can also be your cheerleaders, which are great to have too!
Accountability is another important aspect in business and in health. When you are starting a new healthy habit, it’s always good to have a buddy. Having a coach or an accountability partner along the way, in business or health, keeps you looking toward the goals and on track. There are tons of business coaches out there and peer groups to join. These can and will help grow your business if you find the right one. They can help you avoid those major mistakes I mentioned above.
Business is like being healthy. It takes dedication and focus in order to keep it going. Eating one bad meal isn’t going to make you overweight, just like one workout isn’t going to make you healthy. It’s about all the stuff you do in between, like avoiding the donuts in the breakroom and attending one extra workout a week. Those small habits will get you to your goals (being healthy). In business, it’s doing all the small things — like calling one past client per day just to check in, or running that accounting report every month to monitor expenses — that will lead to success. Taking small steps today will help you achieve the big gains tomorrow!