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You saw the signs and made the decision: you are going to start your own business.
Immediately, you are struck by your fears. But the more you think about it, the more you convince yourself that you could withdraw it. Your confidence grows over the days. Finally, you have reached the point of no return and you are ready to push back the starting block with everything you have.
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But before you tear up the racetrack, make sure you can reach the finish line. Ask yourself these difficult questions.
1. Why do you want to participate in this race?
Make no mistake about it – starting your own business is just like running a race. A grueling marathon, to be exact. It’s fun, exciting and makes you feel alive. But it is also difficult, demanding and exhausting. For some, it can even be terrifying.
So ask yourself, “Why do I want to run this race?” If you can’t find an answer, you won’t win. But if you make have an answer, keep it in mind when you run. Make sure it’s the right answer – because when you feel like giving up, your answer will help move your tired feet.
2. Who are you competing with?
You are not a horse wearing blinders either. You know who you’re competing with before the race even starts, so watch the competition. Who are they? What is their record? And how are you going to follow them or even exceed them?
It’s a whole different game when you run the series. You are no longer competing with your colleagues for a raise – you are fighting with other business owners for market share. Knowing who you’re facing helps you be more productive and better prepare for race day.
3. Are you ready to run a different race each day?
Some days it is a 50 meter dash, other days it is 10K chug. You have to run at a different speed for everyone. The winners know what the track looks like, where the finish line is and how to beat. Do you?
Most of the time, you will run a grueling marathon. Did you jog along the track, familiarizing yourself with each turn before the race? Do you know how long it will take you to reach the finish line? Because you have to pace yourself to be successful. Otherwise, you will run too fast and you will wear yourself out. Or you will be too slow and fall behind the pack.
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4. What will you do if you don’t reach the finish line?
Self-confidence and a burning desire to succeed are both great, but they don’t mean you will win. Frankly, you are more than likely to underestimate the competition and overestimate your own abilities.
Not finishing first is fine. After all, it’s the end of the race that counts. But you can’t finish the race if you don’t know what the finish looks like. how do you define success? Do you reach the finish line when you reach a million dollars in revenue – or a billion? Or is it actually a relay race, where finishing means going out with a buyout?
Even if you know what your finish line looks like, you may not reach it. Be prepared with a post-race plan, no matter what.
5. What will you do if you win?
Let’s say you are reasonably certain that you can run this race and finish it. How would you manage success?
Are you ready to see how success will change your life and how people perceive you? Will you agree with these changes? Will you be ready to run an even more prestigious race the next time you start a business? And can you sit back and enjoy the victory for a minute?
Don’t forget to enjoy the trip
Too many potential entrepreneurs fall in love with the idea of winning a gold medal. True entrepreneurs understand the importance of proper technique, conditioning and endurance. You cannot finish a marathon or win a medal without determination.
Of course, you can run a race without reaching the finish line. Being a competitor is much more exciting – and rewarding – than being a spectator. But no matter what the outcome, don’t forget to enjoy the race itself.
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