A marathon, not a sprint

I’m in training for the London Marathon on 17th April, 2011.

This involves getting up early three mornings a week, running before my kids wake up, and before a long day of work, and then running an ever longer circuit each weekend.

A sixteen week lead-in doesn’t give much time to go from comfortably running 10k’s to completing the world’s most prestigious 40k. (I blame adidas for giving me a free competition place – after I thought I’d failed to make it this year!)

What is critical is ensuring the body and mind are in the best position possible come race day. A former client and marathon runner once told me that completing a marathon is in the mind, not the legs, so hiding behind the excuse of ‘not having the legs to run a marathon’ is a mute point.

That said, I’m taking the time to steadily increase stamina and distance covered so my body is ready for the demands it will be put to, and am also concentrating on the important nutritional aspects to ensure it is given the best chance of success in terms of preparedness and recovery. All with an end goal, and target finish time, in mind.

This got me thinking about business. How many companies actually have long term objectives in place when putting their promotional marketing campaigns together. Sure, campaign objectives will be set, conversion metrics measured, sales and profitability analysed.

But where is your company headed? What does it look like in three years time? What are you selling? Who are your customers? Who is working for you? Do they know where you’re headed and what it looks like? Do you have an exit plan?

If not why not? Business is a marathon not a sprint, and having that clear end goal in mind keeps you focused on doing the things required to move closer and closer to achieving it.

Image: The Telegraph