In 24 days, the 2010 Winter Olympic athletes will compete to be the best in the world. Entrepreneurs compete for a similar pinnacle of success every single day. This series of blogs will countdown to the Olympics with 31 ideas about what it takes to achieve gold in your business.
To be an Olympic-level entrepreneur, you need to make improvements, however small.
If a cheesy-eating couch potato wants to start working out, they might start by walking around a track. If it takes them half an hour to get all the way around, they might make a new goal of trying to do it in 29 minutes. Then 28. And so on. In other words, there are a lot of big steps to be taken. An athlete who aspires to have a winning chance in the Olympics isn’t trying shave a minute off of their time. They’ve dealt with the big numbers, which is what got them to even consider competing at these levels. Now, in preparation for the Olympics, they are trying to shave tenths of a second, even hundreds of a second off of their time. If one set of speed-skating uniforms allows a 1/1000th of a second advantage over another, that’s the one that will be chosen.
Entrepreneurs who are new in business are dealing with similar big numbers. They’re trying to get the first sale. The second sale. The first repeat customer. They are getting a website running. They are trying different marketing techniques. They are dealing with product deficiencies. As entrepreneurs advance in their ability, they need to focus on improvements that get smaller and smaller, very much like athletes. Olympic-level entrepreneurs are no longer working on those big picture items. They’re making 1/1000th of an adjustment. For example, they might be tweaking webcopy and monitoring the results or they might be reviewing their sales funnel and optimizing it to be more efficient.
I believe that this is true for both Olympic-level athletes and entrepreneurs: The more proficient you become, the narrower your focus has to be on the changes you make.