Imagine a steam locomotive waiting at the station. It’s ready to leave. The engineer opens up the throttle. What happens? At first the wheels just spin. The train doesn’t move one inch. Then, all of a sudden, the wheels stop and begin to grip the rails. Then, slowly at first, the engine begins to move. If you started running to catch it then, you’d probably miss it. That’s because by then it would have developed momentum.
Momentum is something that’s moving, and once it begins to move, it won’t stop until something else stops it.
What do you need to create business momentum? There are three ingredients.
1. The big push – This was illustrated at the beginning of the article; but just in case you found it difficult to relate to it, here are a couple of other examples. This time you’re watching the space shuttle take off. At the end of the countdown, there’s the main engine start and, for a moment when all the flames are shooting out of it, nothing happens. Just for a second, the spacecraft appears to be suspended just a few feet off of the ground.
I can just about remember seeing on the news some of the failed attempts at launching a rocket that NASA experienced. Despite the flames shooting out of them, these rockets couldn’t get off of the launchpad. They’d hover for a second or two, and then fall on the ground. That’s because they lacked the big push.
When you first start your business, you have to give it the biggest push that you can muster. Remember, that you are trying to move something that is starting from a standstill. Think about the effort you witness when you watch sprinters run the 100m dash. It’s only in the last few hundredths of a second that they seem to get up to cruising speed.
2. Fuel – In a vacuum, there’s nothing to stop something once it’s in motion because there’s no resistance. In other words, there’s nothing there to prevent it from going on forever. In business, however, there are an untold number of people and circumstances that seem determined to thwart everything you do. And so after you give your business a big push, you have to keep feeding it so that it keeps on going. This is one reason why companies market themselves, or create new products and services.
3. Course corrections – The best corrections are minor. Think about driving a car. Most of the time you’re not even aware that you are moving the steering wheel just a little to the left or the right. You’re making gentle adjustments to the direction that the car is going in so that it will go more or less in a straight line. Occasionally, you’ll need to turn sharply to avoid an obstacle, but you tried to avoid doing so. Why? Because it interrupts the flow, and it also makes the return to the smaller corrections a little bit more difficult in the short term.
About The Author:
Bruce Hoag is a Work Psychologist and Business Mentor. He has a PhD from the Manchester Business School, and he teaches MBA students part time for the University of Phoenix. Dr. Hoag has been a guest lecturer at Cambridge University, University of Westminster Business School (London), and the City University Business School (London), and has given numerous presentations to groups from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development throughout the United Kingdom.
By the way, if you’d like more information, then you might like to get my free eBook on How to BE an Entrepreneur.