18 Jan 2017

5 Tips from a Marathoner on Running a Business

If you had told me a year ago, say, in Jan 2016, that I would be running a business I would have laughed it off. But come mid-2016 I took a break from my job at Bloomberg L.P. and Abacus Yellow came into existence 3 months later!

I was a good athlete at school and remained an avid fitness enthusiast. But over the years, with work and career taking priority, I had not committed myself to a class or a group. I just followed my own fitness routine, tried online apps, maintained logs and so on.

With mornings now free, I signed up with Runners United a running group at Juhu beach for the half-marathon training. I had run the half marathon earlier in 2014 with my own training plan. This time, however, I signed up for a more structured training schedule.

Thought I could share some of my running experiences that I think apply to the business world as well.

1. Have a business plan
Have a goal in mind of what you want to offer and where you want your business to head.  Improvise and review along the way but have a direction to start off rather than hitting in all directions.
In my previous attempts, I had trained off some training schedules from the Internet and some shared by experienced runners that I customized along the way. This year was different, since I was a part of the running group we had a coach and a definite plan.

2.Remain committed and stick with it. Progress will follow.
Consistency and dedication get you star ratings here. You get out of things what you put into them, and it will show on race day.
My early experience at our business has been similar. Within the first month, we had decided that we needed to be working at least four days a week, even though we were freelancing. We would meet, figure out possibilities and work on our service offerings. We invested time at a networking conference and saw success, followed by subsequent projects as well.

3. Enjoy the journey. Don’t call it quits despite setbacks.

Every run is not a good run, it’s important that you go out there and stick to your plan. Visualize the finish line and the feeling of happiness that you will experience. Enjoy the moments with your fellow runners, the breakfasts post the long practice runs, the rainy days when you came home drenched, the aching muscles, injuries and setbacks along the way. Most of all, have fun along the way.
I was extremely lucky I didn’t experience any major injuries or setbacks during the training up until the last three weeks leading up to the race. That’s when I suffered horrible calf and knee pain for nearly 10 days. I was quite upset with the setback and took time off from the normal training schedule to rest the leg. (lots of icing and ointment rubbing!)
There will be setbacks along the way. It’s your reaction to the roadblocks that determine your journey.
Every day in business is not a new business lead. Some days you are just relooking at the existing wondering whether your annual appraisal cycle was better. Also, remember rest days are important. Whether business or running. Remind yourself of the reasons you took this decision. Keep going.

4. Realize that you can’t get the best job done alone
Running is an ‘individual’ sport in a sense, but there are people who offer tremendous support along the way to your success. For me it was: my coaches and trainers who guided and encouraged me throughout; my husband, also a part of the same training group; my family and friends: and my Abacus Yellow team who had to hear the ‘running’ stories every other day (specially the last few weeks, a big shout out to you guys).
Much in the same way, in our business, we are open to partnering with other specialists where we don’t have the skill sets, rather than try and do the job ourselves just to make that ‘extra’ profit.

5. Give it your best on race day 
You trained hard for this day give it your ultimate best. There are no regrets here. Go with your plan. Be sure to have something in mind and don’t give up. Reaching the finishing line was amazing with a personal best timing of 1.47.13! A truly fabulous start to the new year! It got sweeter with the fact that I at stood in the third place in my age category.
I guess I will need to apply this to our business as well.

Right now, I haven’t decided which one is going to be the next run. But I’m looking forward to another year of good races and business combined.

NOTE: The author Deepa Anandikar is a business partner at Abacus Yellow.

One thought on “5 Tips from a Marathoner on Running a Business”

  1. Way to go Deepa! Perseverance is second nature to you. No stranger to adversity, you’re both consistent and gritty. Guess that makes for a winning combination- business or sports. 🙂

    Special congratulations on the achievement at Mumbai’s most prestigious run. Wish you all the very best.

    Watch out people- Deepa’s on the (winning) run!

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