Business is Part War & Part Sport
I came across this business quote that really resonated with me. And as we all know, if something has the power to stick out in your head for hours amongst all the other clutter inside your brain, it MUST be worth exploring. As much as I attempted to move past the "insignificant little quote" that I ran across on the internet, my brain would not let it go. I immediately began to dissect each word.
Owning and operating your own business is not for the faint of heart. There are peaks and valleys, and moments of confusion. I've learned that in business you have to be adaptable. The main thing that I wish I had known before I started my business was that you need to be willing to "expect the unexpected". For someone who is not comfortable with change, this has been a little difficult for me. I had to actually retrain my brain to think like a business owner instead of a woman with a plan. Plans are for wussies who obviously haven't run a successful business before!
The "sport" part of business is comprised of the part of you that enjoys the game itself...it is the joy of sweating while running around with your "friends" in the game. Its why you started in the first place-because you liked it!....it is also a goal setting tool for you, as you engage in the challenge of improving your record. Every great athlete likes to boost about their records; and a serious business mogul will too. If I had a dollar for every time I heard Donald Trump brag about his business acumen I would be able to quit my own entrepreneurial journey and live off of 'Sir Bragness of York'.
Regardless of your industry, it will always be highly competitive. There is NO business owner who can rightfully say that they have NO competition. The competition is what makes it business instead of a hobby. In order to succeed, its important for you to stay at your "fighting weight" at all times. And that means reading, researching, reflecting, and learning from others. You can learn a lot from your own competitors. They show you what to do, and what not to do to be successful in business. Team X may be your competitor, but if they have a different end goal than Team Y, attention to their best practices is still a good way to learn the tricks of the trade. Because Team Y has a different end goal, Team X is the perfect example of what NOT to do. Where Team Y may make a mistake however, is underestimating Team X because of the differences in company culture, approach, or existing clientele. One of the first rules in sports is that you never underestimate the playing field. From the outside looking in, you may think that your journey to beat out your competitor will be a piece of cake. That's because you haven't witnessed their training routines. You haven't been aware of what makes them tick, and why they are passionate about what they do. Oftentimes in the sport of business, the better your competitors are, the better you will become.
The "war" part is the blood, sweat, and tears that comes along with learning and perfecting your craft...It is also the part of the game where you fight for your space in the atmosphere. You are constantly pushing trying to knock that door down that will allow you to emerge as the expert in your field, or the business that delivers the best products and services in that industry. And sometimes, (hopefully not too often) the war part also means defending your space once you've stepped into that realm. In a sea of small business owners, it is not unlikely that there is usually someone who is waiting in the wings to take your spot. And sometimes they are willing to resort to less than ethical means of doing so.
Sources say that 85% of new businesses fail. Furthermore, many successful business owners will tell you that they've started 3-4 businesses before they became successful. To say that your business may fail is actually more realistic than you may think. But we all know that it's not necessarily the battle that is important, but the war itself. The outcome of the entire experience is the fuel and focus that will allow you to learn from the wounds of business and emerge victoriously. Many people start out with a product or service thatthey are passionate about, but have little to no idea on how to make that product or service pop. This is especially true for creative types who are focused on the product itself, but not necessarily the cost-benefit analysis or the methods needed to use to market their product. It's trial and error, and sometimes we get burned during the process. Having a team of reliable soldiers to be there to pick you up when you are falling short in the mission is an excellent way to bounce back quickly in moments of failure.
No business success story is without its blemishes. A great business story has drama, fear, and maybe even some ugly scars. But it's the journey of it all that allows us to see the big picture much more clearly. It is without a doubt a journey that is reserved for a select few. And if done correctly, those select few enjoy etching their name into the battlefield of success.
What is your business war story? How do you remain at your "fighting weight"?