When you hear the words Olympics and Team USA, the pure dominance at the Rio games from athletes such as Michael Phelps, the women’s gymnastic team, and the women’s beach volleyball team come to mind. But when you hear the words Olympics and business owner, you may not see a connection. Competing in the Olympics and being a savvy small business owner may have more similarities than you think.
When you’re a business owner in today’s competitive market, it can be hard to stay on top each day, quarter, and year. However, by learning from how Team USA trained their way to an amazing showing at the Olympics, your business may be better prepared for market dominance. Here are 5 ways that business owners can learn from the USA Olympians’ success in the Rio games.
When you watch the communication between beach volleyball athletes Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, it is pure magic. Their understanding of their respective roles and how they fit together makes it easier to find the correct location when it’s their moment to strike, and their approach to teamwork has translated into domination of most matches by large margins. Follow their lead. Work as a team, communicate with each other, and be clear in your team’s objectives. Working as a team will only make your business more dominant.
- Know the talents of each person
Many small businesses fail because they force employees to do tasks they lack the skillset to execute well. The women’s gymnastic team is a clear demonstration of getting it right. Their coaches know the skillset of each gymnast, and they allow those athletes to execute their specific events. Putting the brash employee at the helm of sales calls or putting your best communicator behind the scene helping new hires fill out their time card is not a good use of your talent pool. Sometimes making a change and switching the person you’re paying to do a task with the person who is the right fit is a smart logistical move. The women’s gymnastics team changed their rotations and identified the right talent for each event. Play to your strengths and let those talents rise!
Have you seen the preparation that goes into a single event at the Olympics? If you haven’t, you should watch any athlete’s story and see where they started in their event preparation. Winners are not built overnight; they put in work for years before they can aim for gold. Your business should follow the same path.
By bringing on the right talent for the future, your business can prepare for the road ahead. Sure, you have immediate needs, but you should also look to bring on and train a team for the future. Prepare for growth and hire visionaries. Anticipate rough times, so hire great problem solvers. Look for the talents you need to weather storms and when the rain comes you’ll be ready to find good use of the extra water.
- Know your focus and focus on what you know.
It’s not a question that Michael Phelps knows swimming. He knows the events he is good at and the ones he is not, and he uses this knowledge to direct his focus. Do you know your business model? What product does your business excel at providing consumers? Knowing what your business is and how to develop that product or service in a focused and exact way will only add success. Trying to do too much or expand too fast may give you excitement, but it could also leave you watching other competitors take home gold.
Structure is good, but failure to adapt is business suicide. Times change, interests change, and your business should adjust. This is no different than when Olympians get to the games. They size up who is in the lane next to them and push a little harder down the stretch. Relay teams see if they are ahead or behind and adjust to the difference, and when setbacks happen, the U.S. has found ways to get back up, refocus, and go after it even harder. Your small business should focus on its niche but also be ready to re-focus and adapt to the changing environment around your company and its customers.
It is no question the United States Olympic teams have dominated in Rio. Domination has come with preparation, focus, and other skills needed to rise above the crowd and take these games by storm. Running a business is no different. Watching the ways of Team USA can be a lesson in how to not only make it to the top tier in your field, but also walk away with gold to show for your hard work.