Le Tour de Entrepreneur

In my house, July is Tour de France month.  So much so that we even planned a trip to France a few years ago.  Scheduling (and my dislike of lots of people in close quarters in hot weather) meant that we traveled in June, not July, but hey, I’m not complaining!

Anyway, the Tour de France is a sporting event like no other I can think of.  I’m not athletically inclined, so please correct me if there’s another event which requires:  Over 2,000 miles.  In 21 days.  Over mountains.  On a bike.  In the summer.  In France.  Ooh la la! 

Sound grueling?  Who would subject themselves to such extremes?

Or does it sound familiar? Long hours, training, supreme focus on success, passion.  Sounds a lot like entrepreneurship to me!

This is no ordinary event. These guys ride about a hundred miles a day!  For over three weeks!  These guys know a thing or two about doing whatever it takes to succeed**

Teamwork is key.  Biking is a team sport.  By riding in the wind of another rider, you can save up to 30% of your energy.  Thirty percent!  Think of what you could do with an extra 30% of effort in your biz!  Get some support for your biz, so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting all by yourself!  A virtual assistant, web designer, graphic designer, bookkeeper, or coach can all help support you and your biz!  Only have the resources for a quick fix?  Most can give you a half or full VIP day to get you on the right track.

Equipment matters.  These bikes, helmets, apparel, etc.  are all designed to maximize efficiency, to get to the top faster with reduced effort.  Your business tools should do the same.

  • Hardware – smart phone, tablet, computer, printer/scanner all need to be reliable and fast.  Get things fixed if they’re not working as they should be, or replace them if they’re not the right tool in the first place.  Talk with an IT pro for ideas on the most cost effective way to get what you need (repair v. replace).  For instance, I just found out that you can install a PC chip on a Mac laptop, so you can run both windows & mac on the same machine.  Wish I had known that before I splurged on a windows laptop.

  • Software – use cloud-based services to maximize your time.  Use www.timetrade.com for having people make appointments with you.  Use Aweber or MailChimp for your newsletter automation.  Use QuickBooks to invoice and keep track of your finances.  With www.leadpages.net you can easily set up lead pages for your latest product or launch.  I’ll be reviewing an option for paperless receipt management (the bane of all entrepreneurs) in the coming weeks.  Your equipment should make you more efficient at getting clients, getting cash, and getting on with your life.

There is more than one winner every day.  In the Tour de France, there is more than one way to get noticed every day.  Best time (yellow jersey), best mountain climber (red polka dot jersey), best young rider (white jersey), to name a few.  Every day is a new day, and a fresh chance to make an impact, regardless of what happened the day before.  Some categories you could use for your business:

  • Daily cash – obviously, this is the mother of all prizes that all entrepreneurs strive for.
  • Daily sales calls/closing rate – maybe you didn’t bring in the cash today, but you’ve booked your calendar for the next week with sales conversations. The cash will follow the sales conversations.
  • Social engagement – if you’re rocking it online, engaging with your online audience, that is certainly something to be proud of!
  • Decisive action – the faster you decide, then act on your decision, the faster your business will grow.  How many decisions did you make today?

Lastly, if you’re going to put yourself through all this, make it pretty.  Not that the riders have a chance to stop and smell the lavender in Provence, but I bet it smells great when they fly by at 40 MPH.   France is gorgeous.  Your work space should be too.  This doesn’t mean a super fancy or expensive desk setup, but office supplies in your favorite colors will be sure to brighten your mood and increase your productivity.  Personally, I love these sticky tabs from The Container Store.  The colors really speak to me, and I can move notes from one file to the next, as needed.  Check out See Jane Work as well for gorgeous office supplies. 

Enjoy the last of the Tour de France this weekend, when they cycle through the streets of Paris.  You can get in the spirit  with some of France's finest gastro delights - fromage & champagne.  Bon Apetit!

**Including some not-so-ethical things which we are not going into on this post.  Let’s focus on the positive and inspiring things we can learn from these incredible athletes.

 

The River Seine, 2008

The River Seine, 2008