How Being an Entrepreneur Is Like Being an Athlete


At first glance, business professionals and athletes might appear pretty different. As it turns out, though, entrepreneurs share a lot of elements with sports players, so much so that anybody who wants to begin a company likely would benefit from hitting a gym or arena.

Coordination with a Great Team

In most sports, there are different positions players can take. Each player has a particular job to do—that is, everybody contributes something specific so that all the players on the team can achieve a fast time, score a goal or get a point. There also usually is a team captain or coach who directswhat the team members do. Similarly, in a business, as an entrepreneur, you do not tryto complete everything yourself. Rather, you delegate tasks to employees who have the skills to make your vision reality. Each team member has their own role to play, contributing soft drills, hard skills or information to projects Like a sports coach, you motivate your team members to push forward, inspiring them to work together.

Establishing Strategies

Most teams and individual athletes study their competition very carefully, trying to identify specific areas of weakness. A boxer, for instance, might watch to see how a competitor carries themselves when they’re starting to fatigue or whether they have a specific, predictable combination they tend to lean on too much. Based on this research, and based on the strengths that the team or individual has, they develop specific plays or overall strategiesfor howto win single games or tournaments. In the same way, when you’re an entrepreneur, you look at the current market to see what other companies are doing and where there are gaps in meeting demand. You carefully consider everything from budget to materials and advertising word choice, forming plans for manufacture, release, market penetration, updates and more.


Many athletes have natural talent that setsthem apart from others, but even so, to truly reach their fullest potential, they have to train. They often put in many hours of physical work per day, paying dose attention to what they eat and using sophisticated tools to measure progress. In the business world, it’s rare to have an idea or product so perfect that it can go immediately to market. Most of the time, you’ll start out with a good concept, make some prototypes or put together a genet,’ protocol, test it out, get feedback and, if needed, repeat the process over and over again. Thus, just as in sports, success in business is a process and doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, continuing adaptation and growth might be considered hallmarks of the entrepreneurial career.

Sports players push the limits of what is physically capable on a regular basis, constantly setting new records. Even the best athletes, however, cannot go on forever. They need adequate rest to perform their best, so they are careful to watch for signs of overtraining, schedule workouts in ways that support optimal function and growth and be generous with their sleep allotments. As an entrepreneur, you might not have as many physical demands, but your mental requirements are enormous. To keep your creative juices flowing and avoid burnout, it’s wise to use relaxation methods, participate in fun activities, take regular vacations, snitch up your routine, see your doctor regularly and, yes, sleep! Just as an athlete is careful to hone in on specific drills or muscle groupsto maximize performance results, focus your efforts on just a few projectsthat have great potential, rather than trying to chase every opportunity that could yield a small benefit.

Regulations and Ethics

Most athletic organizations have lules about performance enhancing substances, age, accepting funds and so forth. Players or coaches who do not abide bythese regulations take the risk of suspension or ban from their team or, in the worst case scenario, from any events held for their sport. Entrepreneurs similarly must abide by certain standards. Stealing someone else’s idea or design, for example, is a major ethical violation. Embezzlement, misleading shareholders or other investors, mistreating workers and discrimination are additional problems, with applicable laws applying on both the state and federal level. Approach your business improperly and you could rip apart your own reputation, doom your company and even win( up in jail.

If you are a sports player, your goal is to catch the eye of a team or recruiter capable of providing you with a good salary and other perks. If you’re a coach or recruiter, your goal is to find individualswho can outpace, outlast or otherwise outperform members from other teams. It’s not unusual for coaches, recruiters and playersto bounce offers and requests back and forth through this process. Entrepreneurs are in the .me game as players in that they need to catch the eye of lenders and investors. Without their financial support, your businesswill be much more difficult to get off the ground, maintain and expand. You’re also the .me as a coach or recruiter in that you have to find business partners and employeeswho not only fill the unique needs your business has, but who together can give your company an edge over other companies in your industry. Like athletes and their administrators, you must handle formal contracts related to your partners and employees, negotiating for a deal that, ideally, benefits everybody.

Athletes and entrepreneurs are not vastly different. Their comonalities extend through team coordination, recrmuitment, regulations and ethics, development and other areas If you’re starting a business, take cues from sports players—Ove it everything you’ve got, play fair and get in your field to win.

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