Last Saturday, Lagos played host to the 2017 Lagos City Marathon. The 42km marathon route started at the National Stadium, Surulere and ended at Eko-Atlantic in Victoria Island. A marathon can be a grueling test in mental and physical endurance and with temperature levels on the day averaging 27°C (81°F) with humidity levels at 89%, the race was not one for the faint hearted. The entrepreneurship journey which is sometimes defined as “the pursuit of an opportunity, gap or need” can be a difficult path for most. Here are 5 tips on marathon preparation that can also apply to your helping you on your entrepreneurship journey.
According to rei.com, starting with a few shorter races i.e. 2km, 5km, 10km or even a half marathon—is an excellent way to prepare physically and mentally for a first marathon. So it is with launching a startup. Starting small enables you to test your ideas, get a good understanding of the market so that you can scale appropriately using the learnings from your initial experience.
According to Chinese philosopher Laozi, “The Journey of a 1000 miles begins with a footstep”. Before attempting to run in any marathon, a runner needs to have a training programme that helps to safely build their physical stamina and strength to withstand the eventual marathon feat. An entrepreneur needs to take time and effort to fully understand the market and industry he/she wants to operate in. Time is relative in this context and may mean a few weeks for some businesses and months or years for others. However, with experience overtime and continuous knowledge and growth, business risks are better managed and prepared for.
Runners join a marathon for different reasons – some for charity, to loose weight or a line item on their bucket list. These reasons usually serve as great motivation points during the run. Same with entrepreneurship which may be driven by need, passion, purpose or reward. It always helps to find a good source of motivation when the journey seems to be filled with curve balls. Running Gear company rei.com gives good advice for motivation which also applies to the entrepreneurship journey, “Whatever your reason (for running a marathon), hold on to it and remind yourself of it often during the months that lie ahead. When your legs are tired or the weather is nasty, maintaining your motivation will help you get out the door”. When your business venture is not going as planned, a healthy dose of motivation always serves as a good energy and mood booster
On the day of the Marathon, a lot of Lagosians lined the streets to cheer the runners and hand out water in between drinking stations. Increasingly now, entrepreneurship is being encouraged through various individual, corporate and government efforts across the country. While more is still being required in terms of enterprise support systems, there are so many already benefiting from these various initiatives. Do some research and see if there is an incubator, funding programme, mentoring support or entrepreneurial learning programme that will help you along your journey.
Another tip from rei.com to preparing for a marathon is that adequate rest all through the preparation phase helps prevent injuries and mental burnout. An entrepreneur should always take time to rest and review their progress. This can be in form of time away from work, a personal retreat to a quiet location and/ or a training focused on getting one away from the usual rush of activities. The focus is to assess one’s entrepreneurial journey, gain perspective, learn from other experts and experiences and overall refresh one’s brain with new strategies and ideas for success.