Sporting mentality can help in the business world, say former sports stars
Sports stars share sporting tips that translate to business world
Sports stars turned small business owners have revealed how a sporting mentality can help give an edge in the business world. Familiar faces from football, rugby, and weightlifting claim the “marginal gains mindset” – a sports psychology term that refers to incremental improvements, that build to significantly boost performance – keeps their companies thriving.
Former Aston Villa striker, pundit, and property auction business owner, Dion Dublin, said a sporting marginal gains mentality helped him implement small hacks, like focusing on teamwork and employee motivation, to create continuous improvement that has led to his business flourishing.
Meanwhile, Wales and Ospreys Rugby star, George North, explained how adapting to modern technology and dealing with pressure has made the difference in his motorcycle café venture.
And Sheli McCoy, a Scottish weightlifting champion, believes small, but consistent, goal-setting across personal development and business growth, helps keep her business moving in the right direction.
The stars have teamed up with Smart Energy GB to create a digital guide, and show other small business owners how making little changes can add up across all areas of the business, and help them feel more in control.
The Small Hacks for Small Businesses, follows research of 640 small business owners, which found 90 percent were interested in marginal gains thinking. And, of the 84 percent who have already applied this approach, nine in 10 reported seeing tangible benefits.
Some of the top marginal gains improvements they’d be likely to try were around small but achievable performance targets (28 percent), a greater focus on motivation (25 percent), and using technology for better data analysis (23 percent).
But this wasn’t the only similarity owners found between sport and business – with teamwork, leadership and management, overcoming setbacks, and clear end-goals, other examples of the synergy between the two.
It also emerged 69 percent want to make changes to the way they run their business – but aren’t sure where to start.
Dion Dublin, who runs LOT9 Auction House, said: “Setting small, but consistent, goals for my team of eight works well, as they’re achievable and keep everyone motivated.
“Team communication is pivotal to the success of my business – it means that everyone understands the goal, and is onboard with what we are trying to achieve.
“What I learnt in sport has really helped me in my business, and it’s why I wanted to be part of sharing tips with others. I know how tough it can be running a small business.”
The study also found that when it comes to making changes to benefit their businesses, saving money and being more diligent with budgets were named as an area owners thought marginal gain hacks were mostly likely to help improve.
It comes as 58 percent said they are more concerned about energy costs this winter compared to last year, with 86 percent claiming they can’t afford to waste energy.
However, while 75 percent said they have a smart meter at home, only 67 percent were aware that they’re eligible for one at their business premises, too, according to the OnePoll data.
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Accurate billing, and no more estimated bills, were seen as key benefits of getting a smart meter, as well as the fact that they can help identify where cost savings can be made.
Victoria Bacon, from Smart Energy GB, said: “The concept of marginal gains shows even small, inexpensive changes can make a big difference.
“Our research shows that energy bills are still a concern for many this winter, and that small business owners are mindful of energy waste and its impact on their bottom line.
“One small thing they can do is get a smart meter installed, which can help give small business owners more visibility and control over their energy use – a great help with financial planning and managing cashflow.”
George North, who now runs café and retail space, Baffle Haus, believes a marginal gains approach works perfectly for SMEs.
He said: “At the café, sometimes small steps can be as simple as making sure the lights are completely switched off at night, or only running the dishwashers once they are full.
“In sport, you learn to work well and perform under pressure, and I’ve taken that skill with me in running the café. I am also a big fan of tech when it comes to monitoring and assisting in my performance, both in sport and business.”
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