Are you a couch potato? If so, lacing your shoes and starting a new workout regime probably seems daunting. But with the right fundamentals in place, a finger on the pulse, and a great team around you, it all gets easier. Soon, you may even have to increase weights and intensity as you speed off to greater heights. Here, setting a fitness routine in motion is no different from upholding rigour in your business operations.

At Xero, we work with many startups that are also just beginning their own ‘fitness journeys’, identifying software and platforms to adopt as they launch their business. By providing them with some fundamental tools, we help them to monitor their progress and improve their strength to become fitter.

Are you a founder who’d like to get your startup in top shape? If so, we are here to help. Let’s go through some of the basics together.

First things first – set your business fitness goals

Let’s start by compiling a list of fitness goals – business objectives – so you know exactly what you’re working towards.

  • What does success look like to you?
  • Who are your competitors and what are their strengths? How will you set your business apart?
  • Where is your industry headed and how can you make sure that your business is leading, not following?
  • How can we make your goals quantifiable?
  • What are the realistic deadlines for your goals?

Set both long and short term goals. The sooner you start checking things off the list, the more motivated you’ll be to keep the momentum going.

Crucially, keep returning to your list to check how far you’ve come and how much further you have to go. Make sure to keep updating as your business evolves.

Start tracking macros 

Have you heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen”? The most intense fitness regime is worth nothing if you don’t have a good diet to support it. The same goes for your startup – it needs all of the right macros to grow and get stronger.

poached egg with vegetables and tomatoes on blue plate

Cash is the good protein you need to build muscle. According to Xero data, SMEs and startups in Singapore were owed S$4.1 billion in late payments in 2018… That’s a massive protein deficiency!

Startups can’t build muscle and get stronger that way. That’s why we advocate for every startup to use e-invoicing, a feature which reminds customers to pay on time and makes it easy for them to do so with payment options embedded.

Don’t skip leg day!

Don’t be that guy or girl with massive biceps, pecs and shoulders, but tiny spindly legs – an inverted human triangle!

I get it. I hate lunges too. However, when you neglect certain business tasks, for example, bank reconciliation, your business starts looking triangle-shaped as well.

Fortunately, machine learning built into online accounting and small business platforms automate many of those mundane tasks so that you can focus on the exercises that really drive business value.

Strap on your fitness tracker to keep business metrics in check 

A fitness tracker is one of the best investments when you’re trying to get fit. It will help you spot trends in your workout regime and diet.

Likewise, a business platform provides you with a dashboard of all your business vitals, with important views of your cash flow and projects. This provides you with the insights you need to plan your business better and make informed decisions. And with an eye on cash flow, you’re better able to plan and execute creative ideas as well.

black aluminum case Apple Watch and black Fitbit charge 2

Stay motivated with group fitness and personal trainers 

Now that you’ve successfully left the couch and kicked off your startup fitness journey, your mission is to stay on it. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to work out in a group. Look for networking events to meet other like-minded founders who are also trying to get fit, and be open and candid about what you’re going through, so they can share learnings and advice with you and vice versa.

The entrepreneurial journey is full of steep uphill climbs, downhill runs and obstacles of all shapes and sizes – like a Spartan Race that never ends. Just remember never to lose sight of your goals and to have fun along the way!

The article appeared originally on SBO under the title ‘The Five-Step Programme to Get Your Startup Fit and Healthy