Time to Start

Published on April 1, 2013 by Eric Weld

I’m a runner, and I love making analogies between running and business.

As a runner, I’m a believer in stretching, before and after running. But I tend to stretch more before I run (I know, many experts say to stretch after, that stretching before running reduces energy for the run; I’ve tried that and it just feels better to my body to stretch beforehand).

Here’s the thing: on days when I don’t really want to go out there, when it’s particularly cold or windy and I’d rather just relax inside, I tend to stretch a lot more. I tell myself I’m preparing for my run, but I know, at some point during the stretching, it’s become procrastination.

My analogy? New and aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs are wise to prepare well before launching a business venture; to research the market and educate themselves about their product or service so that they can claim some expertise as they start their business.

Let’s call that early prep period the stretching phase. It’s when we’re getting the blood flowing, circulating warmth through the joints and gearing up mentally to take on the calisthenics of running…a business, in this case.

The stretching phase—the education and research—is an essential precursor to a business launch, just as (I believe) it is to a successful run. It can be a lot of fun, too, learning about an industry or a product, or about business and marketing and all the details involved. And in fact, there is so much information out there that you could read and learn and research for an entire lifetime without running out of material. There will always be another corner to peek around.

But at some point, you have to decide to jump in. To close the books and launch in with what you have. To head out the door and run.

Because, here’s the secret: you will learn a hundred times more from real-life experience than you ever will from books and the Internet. Your own experience will always yield many times more valuable insight than reading about the experiences of others.

You can’t build muscles by stretching them. Only the actual run will build muscle.

So, by all means, stretch (your mind), learn all you can, read a few books or eBooks, set aside a little time for trolling the Internet, take lots of notes.

But put a finite time limit on the learning-stretching phase. Whenm it's over, it's time to try something.

It’s time to start.