Starting a Small Business Is Like Training For a Triathlon

It’s daunting just thinking about competing in an Ironman triathlon.  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon to finish is a long day. From witnessing my wife compete, I have seen first-hand; the event itself takes determination, focus, and persistence.   Now try to imagine what goes into training; the work starts months or years before participating in a full triathlon (140.6 total miles).  The same is true for starting a small business.

Despite the obvious challenges, both starting a small business and competing in a triathlon have become more popular in recent years.  There are many contributing factors: the economy, job market, reinventing oneself, pushing the limits, a sense of accomplishment, even social status.  If you plan on doing either, keep the following in mind:

Start Small

When you’re in training mode, it’s best to do small races leading up the triathlon.  In business, focus on the one thing you do really well and can do over and over again.  Sure, you may grow into a company with several products or services, but like the first 5k race, build a portfolio of services over time.

Your business plan will be easier to create and you’ll have a more concrete goal.  Attracting initial customers will be easier when you are able to explain your businesses’ value proposition.

There Are Good Days and Bad Days

In training, you’ll feel strong some days.  Other days will seem mentally and physically exhausting.  When you come across those tough days and do not feel mentally prepared keep your goal in mind.  Why are you starting a small business?  Is it for personal goals, financial freedom, or a legacy you want to leave your family?

Every Step, Every Pedal Stroke Counts

This is true, but even more so when you are pushing through one of those bad days.  Set goals you can achieve, but take time to celebrate smaller milestones– the little rewards will keep you going!

It’s Worth the Blood Sweat and Tears

Remember, there’s a reason you’re starting a small business, entrepreneurial passion and inspiration have gotten you this far.   Concentrate on what’s important and visualize how your business will look once you have found success, this will help you finish the race.  After all, isn’t it true, most great things do not come easy?

What other similarities do you see between triathlons and small businesses?

About John Golly

I started at Swiftpage in November 2012 as a sales manager overseeing Swiftpage's Inside Sales team. I enjoy coaching and developing my sales team and seeing them grow personally and professionally. I am passionate about social media and marketing communications. In my off time, I am an avid mountain biker, cyclist, and hiker who enjoys spending time with my wife (She loves cycling and triathlons.) and Chesapeake Bay Retriever (He loves playing fetch and swimming.). I also volunteer for a local non-profit organization helping them with marketing communications, social media, and increasing participation in a local cycling event.


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