6 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Athletes


Entrepreneurs might not always look at jocks thinking that they have much in common. But they do. In fact, you could even look at athletes as a type of entrepreneur — ones offering a service to fans (that service being entertainment). Here are seven qualities needed to be successful in both areas, and some things business owners can learn from athletes along the way.

1. Hard Work

Successful athletes don’t get that way due to sheer luck. Even natural talent isn’t enough in most cases. Success comes from hard work (think marathon training or football training camps). Practice and hard work on a regular basis make sure that an athlete is fully prepared when it really counts. The same is true in business. You can’t rely on luck. You can’t rely on business sense alone. Does having that help? Absolutely. But it’s the combination of business intelligence and consistent hard work that will set you apart from the competition. When it comes to business, you don’t have the luxury to quit trying to be better, ever.

2. Persistence / Endurance / Resilience


Just as it isn’t easy for athletes to constantly push themselves to their limits (and beyond them), you’ll occasionally struggle in business too. It’s a simple reality — if you don’t push yourself and challenge yourself to do more, your business isn’t likely to grow. Some goals might be simple to meet or exceed. Others won’t be. Whether or not you overcome those situations will set the tone for your business. You have to stick with it even if you get frustrated at times or if you’re not seeing the progress you want. It’s just a sign to re-evaluate things and come up with a new strategy. Then you pick yourself up and get back to business. Even though you might not have the applause of the crowd behind you when you limp off the field, your ability to get back on your feet is equally important.

3. Dedication / Drive / Passion

If an athlete isn’t passionate about what they’re doing, it can show in their game. They won’t be performing at their optimum levels (and fans notice!). Your fans — your customers — will notice too. If you aren’t dedicated to your business, then you’re not dedicated to them. People are drawn to others who are passionate about what they do. If you’re lacking drive in your business, you may be unintentionally making your competition look that much more attractive. If your passion isn’t there anymore figure out why. Then work to get it back!

4. Confidence

Even with passion and hard work you won’t always succeed. You have to believe you can succeed! When an athlete has no confidence in their abilities, they run the risk of choking — coming up short when their team or fans are depending on them. Business owners can choke too. You can fail to make the right decisions for your business or your customers. You can undervalue your own products or services, leaving the door open for the competition to position themselves better in the marketplace. It’s vital that you believe in yourself and what you’re selling. If you don’t, then maybe it’s time to start selling something else.

5. Risk-taking


Athletes take risks with every performance. They know there’s a risk of humiliating themselves. They know there’s a risk of injury. Yet time after time, they keep taking risks. They understand that things might not always be perfect, but that to grow in their field or sport they can’t be complacent. Neither can you! You can’t set your business apart if you never take a risk. By not taking any risks you’ll doom yourself to an eternity as a follower, and not an innovator in your field. Maybe you’re okay with that, but the most successful entrepreneurs generally aren’t. Launching a business in the first place is a risk, so even if you might feel a bit squeamish about taking a chance on something new once in a while, you do have it in you!

6. Accountability

I certainly won’t say that all athletes are fine examples of people who hold themselves accountable for their actions. But many are. If they make an error they have fans, a coach, and sometimes a team to answer to. No one’s going to let every mistake slide, so they have to learn to own up to them, learn from them, and take those mistakes as opportunities to improve. In business you’ll make mistakes too. All businesses do. When they happen, don’t ignore them. Instead analyze them and why they happened, and figure out how you can avoid similar business mistakes in the future. Sometimes finding the right path to business success involves a lot of wrong turns, and that’s okay.

Being a business owner isn’t really that different from being an athlete. Both are striving towards specific goals. Both want to improve over time. And both operate under the microscope, with other people watching and judging their every move. As an entrepreneur you can learn a lot from athletes (and they can equally learn a lot from you). Who knows? Maybe the next time you’re kicking back watching a game, you’ll find a bit of unintentional entrepreneurial wisdom in the mix.

Written by
Jennifer Mattern
Join the discussion

1 comment
  • I think it is right that the entrepreneur is like a atthletes and it is necessary for them to take the risk for success in life or in business same as in athletics the athletes the athletes take the risk for the success but as like entrepreneur their efforts are backed by the traning,coaching and many other things.As entrepreneural activities are backed by knowledge,skills and experience etc.