6 things small business owners can learn from the Winter Olympics

The Sochi Winter Olympics has been a masterclass on how to set goals and work to achieve them. The perseverance, time and dedication displayed by the talented athletes are inspiring and somewhat similar to what entrepreneurs do. Therefore I have drawn some parallels and found six things that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics can teach small business owners.

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

Thousands of hours have gone into the training and preparation done by these elite sports men and women.

In business, success also doesn’t just happen by itself. Commitment, time and dedication are required to achieving your goals. However instead of hitting the gym every morning, you have to take time engaging with your clients. Perhaps it also means you have to take classes to constantly keep up with the innovating technologies and practices in your field. So put in the hard work every day and towards achieving your goals.

  1. You Should Regularly Review Your Performance

Review, analysis and optimisation of performance are constant elements of a sportsperson’s training. This is how they best know what they need to do to improve and kick their goals.

Similarly for small business, there are simple ways to measure your business performance. For example, maintaining current financial accounts and running reports from easy to use accounting software. Comparing these reports to forecasts, budgets or previous reports are a good way of interpreting the results. However, this is only the review and analysis part of the process. It is the optimisation stage which will allow your business to change. Using the insights gleaned from the reports will help you decide how to progress your business.

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

A snowboarder or ice skater couldn’t hope to progress very far if they did not learn how to stand back up again after falling down. If you don’t fail you don’t learn from any mistakes. You can even fall once you’ve reached the top, and that’s OK too. In business, there are many scenarios that may seem disastrous at first, such as losing an incredible employee or key customer. Mistakes will happen, but you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and give it another go.

  1. It’s Important to Have a Good Coach

No elite athlete could do as well as they do without the support and guidance of an experienced coach. They are there to teach new skills, help them learn and overcome barriers that allow them to reach peak performance. It is the same in business, where a business mentor can help you set clear career goals and create meaningful strategies for achieving them. They are also good at making you responsible to your plan, and keeping you on track. Don’t forget to capitalise on a mentor’s contact list and expand your network.

  1. You Need to Know When to Rest

Constantly hitting the gym without taking time to rest is actually bad for your body and could result in injury. Becoming overstressed is a possibility for everyone, including small business owners, therefore it is important to include some downtime in your schedule. Whilst this might sound impossible, if you treat it like an appointment on your diary and not allow yourself to miss it, you will thank yourself in the future.

  1. Remember to Celebrate your Successes

After winning a race or tournament, athlete allow themselves to celebrate their achievement. They are acknowledging the hard work that they put into it, and reminding themselves why it is worth it in the end. Whilst your business is unlikely to receive a gold medal for victories, don’t forget to celebrate achieving milestones, no matter how small.

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