I’ll always remember my first marathon. Although I had trained and prepared extensively, I was really quite anxious. With 25,000 runners surrounding me, my confidence – and my juices – started to flow. The starting bell rang and the quick pace instantly swept me along. Big mistake! I was moving too fast. I needed to find my pace – and run my race – if I was going to finish strong.
Nerves cause many runners to leave the starting gate too quickly. As a result, they overextend energy early and don’t have any oomph left when they reach mile 20. Commonly referred to as “the wall”, mile 20 is the point in the marathon when the energy within the runner’s muscles is depleted. This forces a runner to slow their pace considerable, sometimes to a walk.
To avoid “hitting the wall”, runners use a very simple, but effective, tool called pacing. Marathon pacing, running a consistent, pre-determined speed throughout the entirety of a marathon, ensures the runner has plenty of spunk to finish.
Growing a small business is allot like running a marathon. If you “go out” too quickly, you can hit a wall when you run out of energy, hope, time, resources, or guts.
What’s the best pace of growth for your small business? That depends. Just like the many factors that determine the best marathon pace for you, there are many elements to consider when deciding on the best pace of growth for your business.
There is one small point to consider, however. Although most entrepreneurs would consider a 15% annual growth rate paltry and mediocre (sort of like my marathon pace), a business can double in size in approximately five years. Impressive, isn’t it.
Just like it’s important to run your own race, it’s equally important to find your own pace to grow your business.