What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Olympic Athletes

Kelli Matthews at Bplans.com compares athletes to small business owners or entrepreneurs.  She said, “An athlete is their own product and their business is to be the best in the world.”  What then, can entrepreneurs learn from Olympic athletes?  She discusses three lessons:  set new goals, strategize, and be flexible.  Set up your goals.  Go for them, one step at a time.  Keep your focus.  Make sure all your energy is fixed on accomplishing your goals.  Adjust to the ups and downs of the business.  You cannot always win.  The important thing is to pursue your goals despite some setbacks.

In the broadest sense, Olympic athletes are small business owners. An athlete is their own product and their business is to be the best in the world. They must also manage their schedule, build relationships with sponsors and teammates and be part of a community.

Is this any different than an entrepreneur working every day to make their startup or small business a success? What are some lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from Olympic athletes?

1. Keep setting new goals.
An athlete doesn’t consider a personal record (or PR) a static point in time. Every time he or she achieves a PR, a new one is immediately set. As an entrepreneur, success comes from stretching just a little farther than you think is possible. When you achieve one goal, immediately set another. Having that clarity about the desired outcome keeps you focused when everything else can feel like it’s in flux.

2. Stop saying yes. Start being strategic.
For an entrepreneur starting out , it’s hard to say no, especially in the beginning. Sure, we can fill that order faster. Yes, we can donate to your charity. Absolutely, we can offer our service at a discount to earn your business.

Saying “yes,” isn’t always a bad thing, of course. But take time to think about how the request (and filling it) will help your business achieve its goals. Will the request distract from building your business? Is saying yes a strategic step to achieving your desired outcome?

3. Be Flexible & Agile.
World class athletes endure ups, downs, wins and losses all for the love of the sport and the focus on winning.

As an entrepreneur, you also must be able to adjust and take the highs and lows in stride. The ability to be flexible and agile and adapt to changing circumstances sets the successful small business apart.

It shouldn’t be surprising that many Olympic athletes are small business owners and entrepreneurs outside their sports. Many of the skills that propel athletes to success also serve them well as entrepreneurs …

Photo by liiizx3

Leave a Reply