24 Jun How Trail Running is like Business
On your feet, out in the fresh mountain air, with your heart pounding… Accounting and trail running couldn’t be further apart, right? Not so fast…Read on:
We’re a proud partner of the George Mountain Ultra Trail, a trail running event that offers four distances (60km; 42km; 25km; 9km) featuring big climbs, rocky trails, technical downhills and spectacular views of the Outeniqua Mountain Range. We support the event because we’re trail runners ourselves and because it offers something for all levels of trail runner and healthy worthwhile living is at the centre of our business ethos. On a deeper level though, we partner with the event because we see so many great analogies in the sport. Analogies which relate directly to what we do and which can relate to any business, we believe. Here are but a handful.
No business can exist without clear goals in place. The way we see it, you could probably substitute the word goal with ‘strategy’ or ‘mission’ and as DoughGetters we like to take it another step further and label it ‘dream.’ Whatever you want to call it, this is the departure point. This is where you start. In trail running, setting goals is not just a way of making sure you grow and improve as a runner, it also helps you to stay motivated. If you have something to work towards – such as finishing the 60km route of the George MUT, for example – it gives you a clear goal to train for and something on which to measure your improvement and success against.
As a network of remote-working, cloud-based accounting franchises, DoughGetters strives to help people get closer to their dreams. To reach their version of worthwhile and healthy living. For that to happen, we first need to achieve our own worthwhile and healthy living. We can only do that if we have a business and a business exists only if we have clients.
This is true (in various forms) of all businesses: Clients buy from you. Once they buy from you, you can generate cashflow to pay your service providers, hopefully making a profit which you then turn into cash. That all starts with a goal. If you as business owner are not clear about what you want to do as a business you’re not going to achieve anything. Like trail running, having clarity of that goal is going to give you the staying power to push through to the end and deal with all the curve balls (which, sure as hell, are going to come).
Plan your route
Once your goal is set, you need to plot a plan of achieving it. Training for a trail-running goal, such as completing a route, tagging some iconic peaks or finishing a the George MUT requires some kind of training plan. Then, when it comes to race day you might also have a plan laid out of how you’re going to tackle the route. But then (just per example) perhaps the weather is bad and you have to adjust your race strategy at short notice – all of a sudden you have to approach the route and distance in a different way you planned.
This doesn’t mean you’re not going to make it to the finish line before cutoff, it just means there is an alternative way of doing it. You have to be flexible. Business is exactly the same, you could lay out the best plans to reach your goal(s), but things are always going to happen that could force you to change tack. They key as a business owner to have the flexibility in mind to also allow your plans to emerge as you go along, to be flexible enough so that you can change it should the circumstances dictate.
Execution… Putting that plan into motion so that you can reach your goal. From a business perspective, knowing how much time is needed to focus on each task so that it will effectively be completed without losing perspective and compromising other tasks it is very much like running an ultra. The 60km route of the George MUT has a cutoff of 15 hours. As a runner that gives you a very good idea of what pace you need to maintain to make it to each checkpoint and eventually the finish in time.
From a business perspective this also relates to tracking your progress: Say, your goal is to grow your revenue by 25% over the next fiscal year. Now you can work back and know that you need to grow by at least, 2 to 2.5% per month. If after month three you’ve grown 1%, you know you’re behind the curve and need to make some adjustments to speed up.
Manage the ups ’n downs
In trail running it is all about the vert. The metres of ascent gained – the climbing done over a distance – is where the bragging rights lie. With the George MUT, the 60km ultra has 2911m of elevation gain featuring the iconic Cradock Pass as well as the infamous ‘Dizzy Heights’ climb. That’s nearly 3km of climbing (1/3rd of Mount Everest) over tough terrain. Proper. Business is the same, if business success was ‘easily’ accomplished nobody would’ve done it because there is no challenge. Herein, for us at DoughGetters, lies the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’. It comes back to the goal once again – if you’re clear on what you want to achieve then that will give you the motivation to push through the difficult times (to conquer those climbs). That goal gives you the ‘why’ to carry on up that steep, slippery climb with your lungs burning in your chest and your heart threatening to beat its way out of there.
Celebrate the small victories
All top trail runners will tell you: If you hit the small goals and results in the build up, celebrate those! This is crucial for morale, to help keep up the motivation to get you to the finish line. Many top athletes will also tell you to break a big goal down into smaller (bite-sized, if you will) goals. And then, to set about ticking those off. For example if the 60km is your goal, you might get completely mentally spun out by the sheer magnitude of the task at hand, but if you focus on 10km at a time, focus on getting to the next check point as a goal, all of a sudden it becomes a manageable challenge.
The same goes for business: If you have a clear goal in place and you’ve broken it down into easily executable short bursts so that ever time you achieve those short sprints doing them consistently will help you reach your goals.
Follow the latest updates on the George MUT, here