As the world’s greatest sporting extravaganza draws to a close, have you ever considered that you, as a budding entrepreneur, may have a lot more in common with the world’s top athletes than you think?
These athletes have character traits which drive them to become the very best in their particular field. Just as in the business world, all have had to make heavy sacrifices to pursue their goal of medal glory.
1- Set Targets:
Whether an athletic discipline, or business start-up, most know where they want to end up. The majority also know that getting there, is going to take time and hard work. While the long term goal may be athletic success for one or financial success for another, short term goals need to be set. Setting smaller, achievable targets, and persevering until each is met, will provide a regular sense of achievement.
2- There’s no substitute for experience:
Never be afraid to seek help and advice from those who have gone before. While track athletes, professional tennis players and others, may appear to be doing it alone, they have a whole team of trainers and advisors behind them. In today’s modern business environment there is no shortage of professional advisors available who have experienced all the problems associated with new start-ups. As a new entrepreneur, don’t be afraid to use them.
3- Part time won’t do it:
While the part time footballer or club athlete may get away with a couple of nights training a week, those seeking greater success have to make it a seven days a week commitment, at the same time making day to day sacrifices. For any business to move from an idea to reality, 100% commitment is the only way to get it there. And that includes making those same day to day sacrifices.
4- Total commitment – sensibly:
Total commitment is one thing, overworking is something else. Stress can lead to bad business decisions and reduced output. Take a lesson from our high achieving athletes. They train hard, but they train at a level to ensure they are at the peak of fitness for the next big meeting. Commitment and balance, is what it is all about.
5- Be prepared to take your chances:
As a runner do you make the break a lap from home, or do you leave it to the last 100 meters? As a race car driver do you go for the lead on the next bend, and risk hitting the barriers? Business is no different. From taking the plunge and giving up that secure job, or expanding out of your comfort zone, chances have to be taken – after careful consideration of the odds.
6- Never lose sight of your aims:
If an athlete’s ambition is a medal winning position in the next Olympic Games, they will train, and compete in other competitions, for four years, with that end in mind. Likewise in business, never lose sight of what you want to achieve, and guide your business toward that long term goal.
7- Prepare to multi-task:
Whether an athlete specializes in field events or gymnastics, swimming or basketball, training for their specialty event is always mixed with general fitness training. After all, the whole body needs to work at its peak to achieve that ultimate success. You may be responsible for turning an idea into reality. You may have a great team around you. But a working knowledge of the business from top to bottom is still expected of the boss.
8- Don’t settle for an easy ride:
As those Olympic dates get nearer, many athletes begin to push harder. Training at altitude, and hard hill running, when their event is on a flat track all helps toward that ultimate goal. When your business rolls into profit don’t sit back and relax. Now is the time to consider how to increase that profit, whether to diversify and take on more staff, all aimed at achieving your original target.
9- Where there’s a will:
Like any highly tuned car, an athlete’s highly tuned body will eventually break down. Other than worse case scenarios, those athletes get up, get fixed, and get back in the race. Business is no different, set-backs, lost orders, staffing problems, and cash flow, can make things difficult. Getting over, or round those difficulties, is what makes a good boss a great boss.
10- Enjoy your success:
For any athlete at the top of their game, training is hard, arduous, and spirit breaking. It’s little wonder that after that last big meet they take a little self time out, a little relaxation, a little enjoyment with friends and family. Being an entrepreneur is no different, we’re all human. While you’ve struggled to the top of the hill, before you begin climbing the next one, take a bit of time out in the valley. Enjoy some down-time with your friends and family, and recharge the batteries ready for the next big hike.