The Sport of Running a Business

They say politics and sport don’t match, however, last week at the Young Business Edge Gala Dinner held at Rydges in Albury I found business and sport certainly match. Let me explain …

The guest speaker at the dinner was Steven Bradbury, the 2002 Australian Gold Medallist at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. I’m sure you’re familiar with his famous win in the speed skating event when the rest of the field fell over on the final turn. He has been described many times as the luckiest gold medallist ever.

The truth is, all his luck was a result of more than a decade of hard work and persistence. He had to contend with life threatening injuries on his way to that Olympic final. Apart from being extremely entertaining, Steven’s story carried some powerful messages for business owners. Firstly, success has very little to do with luck and much to do with hard work, careful planning and coaching. In business and sport, failing to plan is planning to fail. Let me ask you these questions:

  • Where do you see your business in 12 months’ time in terms of staff, turnover and profit?
  • What rate of revenue growth are you aiming for?
  • If you expect 20% growth in 2014/15 how do you plan to achieve it, what marketing tools are you planning to use, what resources do you need and what is your budget?

Steven’s message on the night included having a goal and sticking to your plan. For business owners it is important to document your business plan so you can measure and monitor your performance. Peg some milestones against your plan to check you are on track and consider adjusting the plan if required. (If you need a template for your business plan just contact the office.) Without a plan or blueprint for your business, all roads lead to nowhere.

Steven’s story also supported the need for athletes to persist. As we all know, in life and in business, not everything goes according to plan. If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Sometimes you have to be persistent to get the sale. Sometimes the business idea misses the mark and you need to tweak the product or price. It’s hard work and you might find you need to pivot and change direction to find a better product or service that the market wants. Either way you can’t afford to be complacent and in the digital age you need to embrace technological change to keep up with your competitors and drive efficiency and productivity.

Finally, the last takeaway was the importance of having a coach. Enthusiasm, passion and a great idea is no longer enough to guarantee success. A sports coach helps the athlete with their technique, strategy, planning and motivation. In business, the same concept applies and our mission is to help business owners improve their financial outcomes. Just like Bradbury’s coach we want to give you a competitive edge and inside running. If your business is skating on thin ice or you want to take your business to the next level, talk to Marian, Ryan or Leanne today about our business planning and business coaching services designed to unlock the profit potential in your business.