4 things small businesses can learn from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

February 20, 2014

The drive and determination being shown by the competitors at the Sochi games, can teach small business owners a lot about running their own companies.

If you’re anything like the 24 million-strong audience for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, you’re marveling at the feats of greatness as athletes from around the world push the limits of human physicality.  But have you thought about the similarities Olympians and small business owners share?  While your universe and that of an Olympic skier or bobsledder may seem to be worlds apart, they have a lot in common.  The following principles are being used around the clock at the Olympics.  How you can apply them to strengthening your business.

1) Focus.  People don’t win Olympic medals on accident.  These folks wake up every day with a well-defined mission and mold everything else around it.  While this level of dedication may not be feasible for entrepreneurs with small kids, ailing parents or other everyday demands, you can get the most from your available time by deciding what you want your small business to look like six months from now and one year from now.  With this degree of focus you’re better able to mold your “everything else” around the goal.

2) Perservere. Don’t give up.  Just as it takes years of continual training, trying, failing and trying again to become an Olympian, your business won’t attain your definition of success overnight.  It will take more than one attempt at marketing to make the phone ring and you’ll probably have to hire a few people before you find those irreplaceable employees.

3) Have a mentor.  When Olympic athletes are on the podium receiving medals it’s easy to forget that they didn’t get there by themselves.  This level of success simply can’t happen without their coaches and other mentors to guide, lead, suggest, shape and listen.  This principal also applies to every small business.  Even if you can’t gain access the top mentors in your field, you can definitely find people in your area who are willing to help a budding entrepreneur.

4) Accept risk – and be prepared for it.  Training for the Olympics is hard on a body, no matter how young or talented that body is.  Athletes understand the risk of injury and accept that it’s a possibility, but guard against it by wearing safety equipment, nurturing their bodies, working with great coaches and insuring themselves.  Your small business is similarly at risk – not of a strained body of course, but of potentially being sued for negligence or injury. Entrepreneurs serious about their businesses protect themselves with small business insurance.  Professional liability insurance and general liability coverage are the starting points to protect your small business from risk.  Getting them from an insurance provider who works specifically with small businesses makes it even better.

The contents of this article and the linked materials do not offer legal, business, or insurance advice related to the needs of any specific individual business. Small business insurance underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company, Inc., a Chicago based insurance company that is rate A (Excellent) by A.M. Best. License#: 0F09668. Coverage is subject to underwriting, terms, conditions, and limits of the policy, and is not available in all states. Claim scenarios are for illustrative purposes only and are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy in question. Please consult your professional advisor.