Monday, July 19, 2010

Physical Self and Business Self- Are they different?

Most of you can relate to working your body for an event or physical challenge. Yet, when it comes to business, you see that as a totally different animal! Are they really?

Let’s compare building your physical capabilities with your business capabilities and see how closely they really parallel each other.

Starting out:
When you start a particular sport, you find coaches and mentors who support, challenge and educate you. You depend on the wisdom of these people to help you learn the ropes of your sport, or even what it takes to achieve success in any physical endeavor. You hang out with people who are doing the things you are doing.

When you start your business, though, do you realize it’s exactly the same thing? But what often happens, perhaps, is you’ve never been exposed to other business professionals, so you feel like a fish out of water!

A good first start is by searching out nutrition colleagues who are also in business. Dietitians often feel intimidated to go out of their field at first, because they haven’t flexed their business muscle, yet! They don’t understand the language or concepts. I know; I was once there, myself! When I’d go to ‘business’ events, I felt extremely unworthy… I knew nutrition and fitness, NOT business, I’d say!

This leads to a good second step: Start reading business magazines. A couple good examples would be Entrepreneur, or Fast Company or Fortune Small Business. Like any new language, it’s going to take awhile to learn. But you are no dummy, so you’ll pick it up. And you’ll learn some new concepts or ideas for your business along the way! Yes, there is a whole other world out there…

But now you have to step OUT of the world of sports and dietetics and into the world of business! This means go to some of the local chamber of commerce meetings to expose yourself to this other world. Also see if there is a local business/entrepreneur organization. Many towns have a local chapter of the Small Business Association, which offer extremely affordable classes AND even free mentoring or support! When I started business school, I became aware of our local Women’s Business Center, which was an extremely invaluable resource for me while taking my business to the next level.

Growing pains:
As time went on, perhaps you found that the training and your events either weren’t as challenging or as fun as they used to be. Something was missing. Perhaps it was time for a new physical challenge! Maybe instead of tri’s, you’re ready to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro, or you’re ready for a century bike ride.

This is the same with your company. Now you are an established business, but the thrill is gone. Or the success you had hoped for hasn’t come. But where it seemed very logical with your physical changes, you’re stumped when it comes to what to do with the business!

For many businesses, if they are to evolve and continue to grow, SOMETHING has to change. Think of every big company who has lasted: Every single one makes changes. Even Google! Who would have thought they’d be offering phones five years, or even TWO years ago? Remember when Apple was struggling: BEFORE the iPhone??? We all wonder what’s next for them. Why are you any different?

This may mean going back to the drawing board and sitting down as if you are starting from scratch. What is your vision today? Maybe it’s different than it was when you first started your business. Who do you imagine working with? Again, this could be totally different than years earlier and your passion has changed! And that’s ok! It’s ok to re-invent yourself, just as it’s ok to change your physical focus from running ultra marathons to hiking or kayaking!

What can you take away from this message? My hope is you can see the parallels between your physical self and your business self.

Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RD, NSCA-CPT
MEG Enterprises