Transferring Sport skills to Business : How to develop one’s business acumen?

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Business acumen “is keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome” (Wikipedia).

I am currently building up my company and am convinced that I would not be where I am today without my sport life. I belong to the infamous Expatriés triathlon club (www.expatries-triathlon.com), ran two Paris Marathons, and will be taking  in July, my third Olympic  Paris triathlon .

Training is time consuming and tiring.  I was pondering on the advantages of the situation and especially what can I transfer from my sporting life to my business life?

During the winter months I train through chilly, windy, snowy or even stormy weather. I follow a program and I need to stick by it…my goal being ‘the Marathon’

In business it operates in the same fashion: I work no matter what…through sickness and through health (now it reminds me of something else!).  I do have a vision, an objective and I sail my boat towards this objective, through windy, stormy, snowy weather.

Now let’s analyze in a more refined fashion

At the start of a training program, I always create a training program…which, of course, I do not follow to the T…but it allows me to get structured and most importantly to break the big Goal into some achievable little goals.

I make sure I reach these ‘mini’ goals on a weekly basis; this methodology supports me in becoming stronger week by week. I usually realize this after about three weeks of efforts. Every time I go out and train, especially if it raining, or early in the morning (not my favorite activity…) I make sure I congratulate myself on the achievement…keeping a positive outlook on my efforts, however small they might be on that particular day.

When I struggle, I do not push my body too hard, otherwise I lose momentum and get discouraged. It’s the same with my business, when I struggle, I always come down one step before jumping again in the frying pan…it can be highly frustrating at times…believe me.

I launched my business in July 2010 and applied this methodology to help me sail through busy times, and bleak times. I have a vision, an objective in developing my business. I decided to give it a 10 years objective. I will become an expert in my field.

I try to mix the activities, according to the level of being busy in order to make the most of my time. I also broke the big objective of 10 years into some smaller objectives. For example, getting the website absolutely spic and span, making sure I get some training once a year (remember I do want to become an expert in my field). I have set up several little objectives on a yearly basis. This year is setting up the website and the legal structure of the company as well as my training. I mix mid-term projects with long-term projects in building my company (this year was to get some awards which I just did with joining OMECA an organization for experts, accredited by U.N.O.

I never close doors or think in a negative fashion, as per my sport life, hence considering that every little steps achieved (could be just buying a company business stamp) is one less to complete and I always keep my big objective in place. Business comes to me in different ways, I found out that no matter how hard I try to control the situation, people’s referral is the preferred method of getting new clients for me and it comes in unexpected ways.

Building my company requires a lot of energy and I am glad that I have learnt to focus my energy in a constructive way through my sporting life. I also learnt to keep at it, and take risks. If it does not work, I’ve not lost the war, but rather one battle. So I review my strategy and go back for another battle once I have replenished my energy.

Talking of which, strategy is paramount in sport as well as in business. The second triathlon I completed in a shorter time, was the result of getting better equipment but also training in a more strategic fashion: i.e. training less hard, more often and letting the body recuperates between training sessions in order to not start the triathlon too exhausted. It’s the same in business: in order to keep my energy for the long run (the big objective of 10 years) I need to make sure I spend my time on high quality leads and need to qualify the project before I give it my full attention.

Like in sport, where running through the finishing line makes you feel like the champion of the world, in business it’s the same: I make sure I celebrate every success in a formal fashion. I treat myself by sharing a glass of champagne with a friend, or a nice lunch. This yearns to complete the project or the challenge is, according to Maslow’s pyramid, the highest level with the desire of self-achievement.

The last comparison would be based on risks assessment. From my point of view, I have not yet taken a sporting challenge that I could not achieve. I might not finish it in the time of my dream but I know for sure that I’ll be on the finishing line. Even an injury did not prevent me from completing the Marathon.

So I guess with Vernetticreative, it’s the same. I know it’s going to succeed; I just need to keep on being dedicated and create my own luck. However long this project is, I’m building it no matter what!

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