6 things small business owners can learn from the Winter Olympics

In Sochi we are witnessing the impressive results of some talented sports men and women who have set goals, worked towards them and achieved them. We have had the games on around the Cashflow Manager office, and while watching them I have noticed how many parallels there are between these elite athletes and entrepreneurs. So here are six things that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics can teach small business owners.

1. You Have to Put in the Hard Work to Reach Your Goals

When you are talking about elite athletes, you’re talking about people who have dedicated thousands of hours of practice to their chosen field.

Similarly, it’s important for business owners to understand that success doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes time, dedication and commitment to reach your goals. Like the athlete must hit the gym every morning, for you it might mean setting time aside every day to keep in touch with clients. It could mean taking an evening class to help elevate you to the top of your field. Whatever it is, make sure you put in the hard work day in and day out.

2. You Should Regularly Review Your Performance

Whenever a sportsperson performs, that performance is reviewed, analysed, and they then work out how to improve for next time and reach their ultimate goal.

This should be the same for a small business.There are some easy ways for you to measure your business performance if you keep your accounts up to date and run reports from your simple accounting software. Interpreting those reports can be difficult without anything to compare them to. You could compare reports against a previous period (such as this year against last), or against a budget or forecast. Just because you have prepared and interpreted some information does not mean that the future of your business will automatically change. The only way for change to occur is to take action. Once you understand the reasons behind your business’ performance, you can decide what action to take to change your future results.

3. You Have to Get Up and Try Again When You Fail

One of the first things an ice skater or snowboarder would learn is how to pick themselves up again when they fall. Getting up again after you fall is all part of learning how to be great. And sometimes even when you do get to the top you still fall. This is the same in business. An unforeseen setback may crop up, you may lose an important customer or a great employee may resign. You will make mistakes in business, but when they occur you have to pick yourself up and try again.

4. It’s Important to Have a Good Coach

In sport, coaches are there to teach the athlete skills and techniques, to help them train, and overall help them improve their performance in their chosen sport. Having a business mentor is a great way to set clear career path initiatives and establish goals. It also makes you accountable for those goals. Mentoring is also great for helping you gain perspective and for expanding your networks.

5. You Need to Know When to Rest

Whilst Olympic athletes are known for training for hours on end, they also know when to rest their bodies. Downtime is essential for everyone, including small business owners. Sometimes it can be easier said than done, so one of the best things to do is work it into the calendar and schedule your break ahead of time.

6. Remember to Celebrate your Successes

Athletes take time to celebrate their victories. It helps them to remember why all the hard work and commitment is worthwhile. Your small business might not win a gold medal, but don’t forget to spend time celebrating your successes whatever they may be.

 

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