In 2006, the American College of Sports Medicine reported that 70% of first timers who sign up to run a marathon end up dropping out before the race begins. Training for an endurance event is HARD. Much harder than one might imagine so many people underestimate their level of commitment in getting ready to run 26.2 miles. Many marathons also offer half marathon courses — there’s a big difference in running 13.1 miles and 26.2 miles though both are lofty accomplishments. For this reason there is an option at the race expo for runners to switch from the marathon to the half-marathon.
This is also how it happens in most businesses. Professor Amar Bhide showed in his Origin and Evolution of New Business that 93% of all companies that ultimately become successful had to abandon their original strategy — because the original strategy proved not to be viable. Note this statistic refers not to business that failed but to businesses which ultimately became successful. I wrote recently about finding the right strategy for your business and referred to the fact that my greatest successes have come after my worst failures.
Professor Bhide points out that the key to those business that became successful after abandoning their original strategy is that they had the resources left to pursue a different path. One great benefit to operating our virtual tour business using RTV technology is that the infrastructure and start up costs were the same after we switched our strategy to national healthcare virtual tours as they were when we thought our focus would be local real estate virtual tours.
The reason that we were able to continue our virtual tour business after the strategy switch was that we made the decision up front to earn while we learned…not wait to learn everything we needed to know THEN start doing business. It took a while for our virtual tour business to generate enough income to replace our other income but the income steadily grew as we put in the effort.
When we compare our older 360 tours to our current work, we have to laugh at how far we have come. Far too often I see new virtual tour photographers spending months perfecting their technique prior to building their virtual tour business. One benefit of the RTV virtual tour software technology is that it works no matter what your experience level is. Sure, our tours have gotten MUCH better as we gained more experience but that is not because of changes in the virtual tour technology as much as it is due to the fact that we are better after a thousand tours than we were after a few. We didn’t present ourselves as experts in the beginning — instead we charged lower prices, bartered and did pro bono work to build our portfolio. It was through these tours that our big break came and our current strategy was launched.
My advice is to start running…whether it’s your business or a race. Start running and decide later exactly which race you are training for. Stop worrying about the finish line — just start running!