Business is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

This was written in response to a request for an article to encourage online entrepreneurs to not quit in their pursuits.

There are two general kinds of races – sprints and long distance. Sprints require tremendous physical strength and massive bursts of energy, and they are over in sometimes less than ten seconds. The goal is to beat the other few racers on the track with you.

Long distance races, like a marathon on the other hand, don’t require massive physical strength. The goal for most people running one is simply to finish the race at their personal best time, not to necessarily beat everyone else in the race, which can be thousands of people vs. the seven or so others on the track with you in a sprint.

What is the business parallel? A “Sprint” business means you need a ton of cash to hire a stellar team of experts who know what you don’t know, build and iterate quickly, and then invest substantial capital into marketing. Your goal is to beat everyone else in your niche, and to do so as fast as you can. If you’re not already wealthy or VC-backed, this flat out isn’t you, and it’s not most of us.

The good news for the rest of us everyday people with a dream is that business is more often a marathon than a sprint. The race isn’t limited to the few best and strongest in the field. The race of business is like a marathon with thousands of people who aren’t necessarily trying to beat everyone else in the race. Anyone can enter a marathon, and for the vast majority of marathon runners, they set their own goals for the finish time and/or per mile time average.

Likewise, for most small business owners, solopreneurs, and especially lifestyle entrepreneurs, the goal is simply that – to reach your goal, to build your business, and to be able to pay your bills doing it. You don’t need to be the next big thing in your niche or industry. You simply need to set your own goals and pace, and then stay on course until you get there.

Marathon runners train at their own pace, and they will run those 26.2 miles at their own pace, and they will keep running until they finish. That is their WIN. There is no pressure to finish in the top ten for the average marathon runner. Their only competitor is their self.

So in business, you don’t need to be a sprinter. You don’t need to beat everyone else. You just need to train at your pace, do business at your pace, and simply not quit. The only way the average marathon runner can lose in a race is to quit. As long as he or she keeps running, the finish line will eventually be crossed.

The same is true for the vast majority of small business owners like you. As long as you are consistent in your training, implement it day to day, and don’t quit before you reach your goals, you will eventually reach those goals.

So keep learning, keep cold calling, keep networking, keep pushing and YOU WILL SUCCEED in due time!