How Steep is the Climb to Business Success?


If you have ever tackled the challenge of climbing a mountain (even a small one), you will understand how emotional it can be. 

As the peak gets closer, the more exhausted you become and the further away things feel. Building a business can be like that. You start out your entrepreneurial journey full of enthusiasm and hope that the view from the top will be worth the trek. It can be tough going as you work your way through that mountain of business growth – but get to the top and it is all worth it.

Here in Melbourne, we sit at the foot of the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. A well-known trudge for avid fitness freaks, weekend walkers and those who just want a challenge – we all head to what is called The 1000 Steps

Having had a go at climbing The 1000 steps a few times, I can tell you, there are a lot of similarities to running a business.

And while there aren’t actually 1000 steps, this is still a challenging climb. It is a steep walk up through the car park (if you can find one free), to a trail that rises and slightly falls before rising again, like moguls. That trail is 800 metres long and gets your heart pumping and lungs puffing. Eventually you find yourself at the base of The 1000 steps (which is actually 770 now). 

There aren’t actually 1000 steps, but this is still a challenging climb.

Those steps are brutal. They are narrow, uneven and not spaced consistently in height or depth. But oh the joy, the exhilaration when you reach the summit. At the top sits a clearing with a few bench seats on which you can rest your weary body and take in the air, revel in the achievement, and basically catch your breath.

I have taken on this challenge a few times and seen some interesting sights. I have seen people become physically ill. I once sat with an elderly woman who had stopped her climb. Her family had continued on leaving her behind, alone and with no water.

I have seen servicemen and women load up their backpacks and take to the steps. I have admired a woman much older than me and with a walking stick no less, overtake me on those steps while having a lovely chat with her companion (how amazing)!

So, what have those steps taught me about business?  Quite a bit actually. 

Preparation is Key

You need water, good shoes, comfortable clothes and a positive can-do attitude.  In business, you need structure, a plan and a can-do attitude.

One Step at a Time

This may seem obvious – but people do try it two at a time up there on the mountain. The truth is that just like in business, it is better to be careful and take all the steps as they were meant to be taken. Skipping steps can lead to fatigue and a fall. If you skip steps in business it can lead to crucial elements of mandated safety, legal requirements, and customer service elements being excluded from your processes.  

It is better to be careful and take all the steps as they were meant to be taken. #business #ceomindset Click To Tweet

Focus on Your Why 

Although you cannot see the top until you are almost there, the path is narrow and it is important to look up at where you are going and who is coming towards you. In business a forward focus is vital. 

In business a forward focus is vital. 

Constantly assessing what is ahead of you in business enables planning and risk mitigation. Ultimately the reason why you started your business will be what keeps you going when the path is steepest.

“Every moment wasted looking back, keeps us from moving forward.” 

Hilary Clinton

The Top isn’t the Top

If you get to the top of The 1000 steps it is only to realise that it isn’t the top of that mountain, it is the top of that trail. There are many more trails to explore and options for how you will get back down. 

Just like in business. 

When you reach what you think is the summit, you will see that there is so much more you can do – isn’t that exciting!  Your business journey will see you change and adapt, from external forces you can’t control, to a more developed vision for what you want to achieve.

The Other Side of Success isn’t Necessarily Easy 

Once you have your business running efficiently and effectively you will come to realise that what you thought would be an easy road is not. Complacency in business can mean a failure to control growth, a failure to recognise others that are following you, and a failure to take as much care once your business is built, as you did in building it.  

Complacency in #business can mean a failure to control growth, a failure to recognise others that are following you, and a failure to take as much care once your business is built, as you did in building it.  Click To Tweet

Each step becomes painful. Your breath is gone and your muscles scream. Every time you move you have to decide – am I going up or am I going down?  

Business can be like that. It is important to celebrate reaching the summit, but let’s not forget that it can be a long hard road to business success. When you are short on sleep, your cash isn’t flowing, your marketing isn’t working and there just aren’t enough hours in the day you aren’t thinking about the success that is coming. You think, should I keep going? Should I keep moving forward even though I am in the midst of pain?

Are you getting the idea? 

I liken starting and running a business to The 1000 steps. It is challenging, the path is not always easy and no two days are ever the same. The steep ascent is akin to the learning curve you embark on. The steps are your daily grind in an effort to reach a pinnacle you cannot see until you are upon it. 

It is challenging, the path is not always easy and no two days are ever the same.

There are alternative routes to take and a realisation that the top is not really the top – you can choose to keep going in a number of directions. Fear and exhaustion trick you into believing that back down is the way to go. This too is treacherous, decidedly steep and ready to take your feet out from under you at any given point. You can gather a speed which makes control difficult and again the end is upon you before you realise it leaving you wondering if you just imagined it all. 

“At the end of the day, you are the only one that is limiting your ability to dream or to actually execute on your dreams. Don’t let yourself get in the way of that.”

Falon Fatemi

How far have you made it up that mountain? Success is a journey, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll reach your goal!

Did you like this article? Let us know in the comments! xox

Read more Fempire Magazine articles to help you create a positive, empowered mindset:

Open Heart, Big Fence: 5 Strategies for Maintaining Strong Boundaries in Life
Four Simple Reasons Why Your Fixed Mindset Might be Holding Your Business Back
6 Powerful Productivity Strategies That Will Help You Get More out of Your Day

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  1. Becky Jones

    Small business defiantley is not easy 🙂 But worth it.

    • Fempire

      So true – the rewards usually always outweigh the risks! 💖

    • Samantha Morris

      We aren’t looking for easy though, we are looking for something much more meaningful 🙂

  2. Laetitia

    I’m in the process of creating my two first businesses and I’ve found that having an A-Class team is the best way to reduce the climb. That way we can split the work between us and be sooo much more efficient!

    • Fempire

      Your level of motivation and productivity is awesome Laetitia😊 And you’re right – it’s so important to have a great team who can help take some of the burden off your shoulders, so that your business can operate more effectively xox

    • Samantha Morris

      Two businesses – fantastic Laetitia! I love being a part of a team because we all get to work on what we do best.

  3. Sue Lynch

    That’s a very interesting train of thought, I’ll certainly be embracing that mindset – thank you.

    • Fempire

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Sue! xox Success is a climb but it sure is worth it.

    • Samantha Morris

      Thank you Sue. I hope that this will sit with you and remind you what you need to do when the time comes.


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