Years ago I used to love watching major off road car rallies. Seeing the cars careering down dirt roads at Rally Carbreakneck speeds, sliding round corners, dust billowing behind them.

Constantly pushing the limits to get maximum advantage.

The inevitable crashes, break downs and eventual victories.

Running a successful business is somewhat akin to being the rally driver.

As a business owner or CEO you map out the route. Look for obstacles. Where you can go fast. Where you’ll be at risk.

You create a strategic plan. How you’ll go to market. What resources you’ll need.

You’re excited. Plan in hand, you feel you know the way forward.

But then, often nothing happens.

Having observed this countless times over the years I believe there are two main reasons.

The first is overwhelm.

If it’s a big undertaking, where do you start? How do you break your activities into smaller, doable pieces? You can read an article on how to overcome overwhelm here.

The second revolves around either not knowing how to do the activity or you feel some emotional blockage that prevents you from taking action.

Not knowing how to do something is a logistical problem. For example not knowing what to say when introducing your business or how to articulate your value proposition.

You either need to learn it or get someone to do it for you.

The second is emotional. You have some emotional blockage or belief system that prevents you from taking this action.

A classic emotional blockage in marketing and selling would be not wanting to call people to prospect. Or go to networking functions because you’re shy.

Emotional blockages occur because of underlying beliefs. In the case of not calling you may believe, “People really don’t want to be disturbed and I’ll be rejected. So why bother.”

Or you may have beliefs you’re not good enough or any one of a myriad others that effectively self-sabotage.

The key here is to recognise business growth is not based on a plan – it’s based on action.

Implementation is the key.

If you’re stuck, get help.

And finally, realise the map is not the territory. A plan is just that, a plan. Reality is quite different.

The rally driver has real world conditions like potholed roads, other obstacles and billowing clouds of dust put up by competitors completely obscuring sight to contend with. His navigator keeps him on track.

Business is no different.

While you are the driver of your business, it is very easy to get subsumed by the day to day activities and never take the time to step back and work strategically on your business.

Which is why every business leader should have a “coach”.

Someone who forces you to take a helicopter view of your business, seeing the forest for the trees.

A different set of eyes looking for opportunities to improve, telling you what’s coming up ahead, warning and encouraging you. And most importantly, pushing you while keeping you on track.

It is a rare person who can do all this for themselves and without getting lost in the detail.

Remember, a plan on paper is just that, a plan. Nothing happens until you take action. The right, focused activity is the key to success.

Rashid & Barbara.

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