How Are The Olympics And Entrepreneurs Similar?
The winter Olympics are off to an interesting start, as always. And while I’ve only caught parts, I did manage to watch short track skating when Apolo Ohno miraculously won silver. From the qualifying heats to the final race he was pretty amazing to watch.
While his competition in those qualifying races wasn’t super stiff, you could still see the mark of experience…As well as how strong and fit he is going into this competition. In both of those early heats he calmly hung out in the back of the pack waiting for the chance to make his move.
Then, when that chance came, he made it in a big way. In the second qualifying heat he passed all five other skaters with one huge burst of speed…flying past them so fast he easily gained, and held, a half-lap lead for the rest of the race.
Pretty impressive for a guy who’s old enough—and medaled enough—to retire happily. Yet here he is again, past the age when most speed skaters retire, and he’s never been more prepared to compete and win!
In a recent Seattle Times profile of Apolo Anton Ohno (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/olympics/2010986192_ohno07.html ), Ron Judd said “In his 13 years in the sport, Ohno has become an advanced student of short-track. He watches race tape like a football coach. He studies other teams’ training regimens. He has soaked up all the sports-performance knowledge thrown his way in a decade of residence at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and used it to retool his body to compete with younger racers whose legs don’t scream as loudly at the end of the day.”
By now you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with marketing your business. Well, there’s a lot you can learn from Ohno’s example.
Here’s a guy who has been competing successfully since he was 14 years old, yet he’s still trying to get better. And he does it by studying the competition, seeing what others have done and are doing today, then changing his own training regimen as a result. And practicing hard.
When was the last time you truly studied your competition’s marketing? Or analyzed what worked and what didn’t in your last marketing campaign?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the answer to both of those questions is: “Never!”
What about training? What are you doing to make sure your next marketing effort is more successful than your last? If the answer is nothing, then the chances are good that you’re not going to be any more successful down the road.
If you want to grow your business you’ve got to practice, train, and frankly, do what most other entrepreneurs don’t. Below are three things you can do right now to help turn yourself into an Olympic caliber entrepreneur:
1) Watch your competition. Ohno regularly looks at other teams training regimens. Then he takes what he learns and applies it to his own skating.
Most entrepreneurs never take the time to see what their competition is doing. Yet that’s one of the best ways to figure out what you could or should be doing to grow your business.
So take some time to do a bit of Internet research and see what your competition offers, how they offer it, what they charge, and how they market themselves.
2) Study. Marketing is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Because if you don’t market your business effectively, no one will know you exist or what you have to offer and you won’t have any clients. Without clients you don’t have a business.
Yet few entrepreneurs spend any time at all studying marketing. While you can’t exactly watch and analyze race tapes, you CAN review books filled with winning advertising and marketing campaigns. Many books written by Ad greats John Caples or David Ogilvy are packed with sample ads and breakdowns of what made them great.
3) Practice. Olympic athletes practice a lot…WAY more than most entrepreneurs for sure. Apolo Ohno practice three times a day. And even then he still doesn’t always win in competition.
Few entrepreneurs practice marketing at all, yet they expect to win all the time. And are discouraged when they don’t.
Need to write new content for your Website? Don’t expect to get it perfect the first time. Create many practice drafts, then edit until it’s the best it can be. If you’re planning to send out a sales letter, write a few versions and test them. Then refine them until you’re getting the results you’re after. ?