The Tour de France 2016, started on July 2nd. Riders will navigate a perilous course that’s 2,200 miles long, has 21 stages, and takes 23 days to complete. The riders will face sprints, inclement weather, mountain ranges, over-enthusiastic crowds and media caravans.
The Tour de France is acknowledged as one of the most demanding sporting competitions in the world and its parallels to making a small business successful are many.
So, what can you learn while watching this year’s race?
Preparation: Anyone who’s qualified to race in the Tour de France has spent significant time — years — turning their body and bike into a powerful engine. As a small business owner, you should be spending as much time as possible researching your industry, the competition, your customers and your operations.
Teamwork: Tour de France participants race in teams of nine and each person has an individual role to play, tailored to their strengths. Some are sprinters, some take the lead during long climbs and some are mainly there to protect and push their leader. All members of the team work together to meet their goals. A smart business owner knows how to motivate their team to work together effectively and how to share recognition so employees don’t mind when the owner is the one up on the podium.
Communication: Each stage of the Tour de France requires incredible strength and speed, and just as importantly, strategy. Riders have to be able to react to changes with tactics that will help them reach their desired outcomes. And, each team member has to communicate to each other and understand their roll in the overall strategy. Even if you have a killer small business strategy, you have to be able to communicate it to your team so that everyone understands their role in attaining success.
Technology: Tour de France teams have come a long way since 1903. Riders leverage high-tech bikes and gear, customized chase vehicles and on-course communications to give them an edge. Small businesses should be using today’s available technology to make operations more efficient and take advantage of new growth opportunities.
Stamina: Chris Froome, two-time Tour de France champion, said after his win in 2015, “I was on my limit going up that last climb but I just had to find something else to just keep pushing. That was only 110km but it felt like 300. It was such a hard stage.” And that’s what small business owners must find inside themselves to do too — keep pushing even when they’re tired, frustrated, depressed and overwhelmed. There isn’t one business owner who didn’t feel this way on their road to success.