I had an interesting experience a few days ago when I participated in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge for the second time.

The Lake Taupo Challenge has been running for 40 years and is the most popular cycle event in the country.

What made the event interesting is that I rode it for the first time two years ago.

And in my first attempt it took me close to 8 hours to finish the 160km ride.

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(I was also totally exhausted at the end.)

My second attempt was this year and I managed to take 2 hours off my first time and I finished in under 6 hours. (Best of all, I felt great at the end.)

Now my times are not that impressive when you consider that the fastest riders complete the 160km ride in well under 4 hours.

However I am still very pleased I managed to do so much better on my second attempt compared to my first time round.

I put my 2 hour time improvement down to four key things I did differently.

1: I trained a lot harder this year than 2 years ago. (I doubled the number of training rides I did and I also put a lot more effort into these rides.)

2: I stopped a lot less time while riding the course.

On my first ride around Lake Taupo I stopped half a dozen times on rest and comfort breaks. (These breaks took around 40 minutes in total.)

On my second ride I stopped three times, however the total break time was only 7 minutes. (That was instantly a saving of over 30 minutes in time.)

3: I rode with a group of other riders and we stayed together for most of the ride.

That allowed us all to take turns drafting behind each other which meant we saved a lot of energy during the ride. (And we could also ride a lot faster as well.)

In my first ride around Lake Taupo I rode with one other person. (That was a lot harder than riding with a group and I was exhausted at the end.)

4: I changed my diet about six months ago and ate a lot healthier. This gave me noticeably more energy on my ride and allowed me to ride faster and harder.

When I think about the New Year starting shortly, I think there are some good lessons from my Lake Taupo Cycle Ride that many of us can use to make 2017 our best year in business.

Here are four keys that I think will help...

1: You have to do a lot more marketing

For my Lake Taupo cycle event I trained harder and doubled the number of training rides I did.

For your own business I recommend you double the amount of marketing that you do in 2017.

Now that doesn't mean that you have to spend twice as much money.

What I suggest you do is focus a lot of your extra marketing on two groups of people.

Your existing clients and your key referral sources.

Put a marketing plan together that involves contacting these two groups of people a lot more frequently.

And when you do touch base with these people add real value with each communication.

I call this AVSIT or Add Value Stay In Touch.

AVSIT is a very easy way to stimulate a huge amount of highly profitable repeat and referral sales.

2: Stop doing marketing that does not work that well

In my cycle event I learned how to take shorter rest breaks and that automatically improved my ride time result.

In your business if you stop marketing that is not working that well you'll find that you automatically have more time and resources to put into marketing that works better.

(One way to do this is start measuring the results of all your marketing activities.)

3: Get help from other people

In my cycle event I found that riding with a group of supportive riders was much easier (and also more enjoyable) that riding with just one person.

For your business make sure you join some groups or organisations that will give you helpful support and guidance in improving your business results.

It's a heck of a lot easier than trying to do it all by yourself.

At the very least, consider getting a good business coach or mentor to guide you in what to do to make 2017 a lot more successful for you.

4: Feed your mind better ideas

To improve my cycling I started eating healthier and that gave me more energy.

For your business I recommend you expose your mind to helpful ideas on how to improve your sales and marketing results.

There are hundreds of great courses, books and articles on marketing and sales improvement that you can invest in.

And the more you feed your mind with these helpful ideas (and take action) the better the business results that you will experience.

The good news is that making a few small changes in what you do right now is all you need to make 2017 your best year ever.

"Think big and don't listen to people who tell you it can't be done. Life's too short to think small." - Tim Ferriss

Action Exercise:

What are you going to do differently to make 2017 your best year in business ever?