Business vs. Sport
Entrepreneurs and business founders typically work long, hard hours, where the norm is much more likely to be a 70 plus hour working week rather than a more traditional 35 hour week for those in more conventional roles.
The type of personality that decides to establish their own business are typically very focused and driven individuals, with a clear idea of what they want to achieve and are prepared to put in large amounts of time and effort in order to achieve their goals. In short, they are prepared to sacrifice other parts of their life or free time in order to achieve their ambitions.
This type of personality is very similar to that of a sportsperson. The amount of time, effort, focus, and dedication, required to become a top athlete of any description is immense, and for many it is the area of their lives that all else must revolve around. For both business and sport, this is particularly true for the upward ascent and for the time at the top – perhaps the only difference being that in sports the time at the peak of a sports career may be shorter than in business.
So, people in sports are very similar to entrepreneurs when comparing personality types, but the similarities between business and sport do not stop there. To succeed in sport or business needs a web of support and a good team. Just as sportsmen and women need coaches, trainers, physiotherapists, psychologists, sponsors, and all the other wider team members to keep their mind and body in top form, entrepreneurs need their own support teams. This often includes, co-founders, mentors and advisors, accounting and legal assistance, investors, and more, and collectively their aim is to help ensure that the business as a whole is in top form.
The comparisons between business and sport do not even stop there. So far, we have considered only the similarities between the type of people and the approach necessary to be successful, and the fact that both need to have good, strong, experienced teams around them to actually help to ensure that success. There are, however, at least two more areas of obvious comparison.
In many sports, positioning and timing can often make all the difference, as can ensuring that you are well placed to take most advantage of any opportunities as and when they occur. This is, of course, just as true in business. Just as in both, a little sprinkling of luck can also play a role, but only if all the work has been put in previously in order to be able to take advantage of that luck.
The final comparison is not so much about what it takes to be successful in business or sport but rather more about the importance of understanding that many things in life follow a cyclical pattern and often that just as one door closes so another opens. The majority of people enjoy taking part in, or watching, sport, and many enjoy many different sports. Most forms of sport are played, or at least televised, at certain times of the year. For example, just as we head towards the end of the football season that is played predominantly over winter, we enter the start of the Formular 1 motor racing season that is carried out predominantly over the summer. As such, even when just watching from the outside, it is possible to see that activities are not totally linear and that enables us to refocus on those areas that are most active. Again, just as we do in business.
So whether you are a budding Olympic gold medalist, or the founder of the next unicorn, the next steps seem to be the same – be focused and driven and expect to put in a lot of hours to achieve your dream; establish a good support team around you as it is not possible to achieve your goals alone; make sure that you are well positioned to take advantage of any opportunities (or luck!) that open up; and predict cycles and adapt your focus accordingly.
More next week to help you complete your marathon to creating an award winning business.