It’s only natural for small business owners to have a hard time maintaining the same level of drive over time. The stress and repetition of their careers can gradually drain their motivation. They run into the same frustrations as well as new obstacles year after year, causing them to question why they are putting so much effort into keeping their businesses alive in the first place. A potential cure for this feeling, as many successful business owners will tell you, is seeing someone else conquer a problem similar to your own. Such an experience is all the more powerful when it comes from an unexpected source, like, say, South Korea.
Entrepreneurs have long been compared to athletes for obvious reasons, but it can be argued that Olympic athletes have more in common with the average small business owner than the popular sports stars regularly seen on ESPN. Small business owners who have recently found themselves in a slump might want to take a closer look at the ongoing winter Olympics to reinvigorate their sense of purpose.
Here are three things small business owners can learn from athletes competing in the winter Olympics:
1. Falling And Getting Back Up
If you’re feeling pretty down about an initiative or investment that didn’t produce the result you expected, look at what happens to Olympic figure skaters, skiers, or snowboarders when they fall down. Yes, they get hurt. But far more apparent than physical pain is the immense frustration, embarrassment and degradation that overcomes them as they realize that their dream of a gold medal has likely just been shattered, and there’s no one to blame but themselves. And yet they get back up every time. Rather than letting their emotional and mental turmoil get the best of them, Olympic athletes recover, sometimes immediately, and act as if nothing’s happened. They either resume their performance or, if they are unable to continue, put all of their focus into their next one.
Successful business owners frequently emphasize the importance of getting back up because when they look back on their careers, these are the moments they will remember most fondly. Even if you don’t end up a millionaire, no amount of success can measure up to the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t let a bad move or bad luck take you down. This is where real confidence comes from, and some people need to fall down to remind themselves that they are not physically capable of giving up.
2. No Risk, No Reward
The future is a massive stressor for small business owners. They don’t know where their industries will be in two years, what costs will look like, or whether or not their business partners will still want to work with them. Key employees might seek greener pastures, customers might lose interest, and there’s always the chance that another business will come along that does the exact same thing you do, but ten times better. There’s just no way of knowing what will happen. The logical response to all this uncertainty is to protect yourself by taking as few risks as possible. But risk is basically mandatory for growing a small business, and no one understands this better than Olympic athletes.
Risk plays a major role in virtually every sport in the winter Olympics. A microscopic flaw in technique or focus can quickly result in a complete disaster. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t go for that trick, the one they’ve practiced for months on end, that could very well seal their spot at the top. The fact that they aren’t 100% sure it will work out doesn’t stop them from launching themselves in the air, where the laws of physics could very well spell their demise.
At United Capital Source, we understand how stressful it can be for small business owners to watch their industries become more competitive without having the funds to keep up. They might have to increase productivity to meet demand, hire more people to fill newly important positions, put more money into marketing, or replace outdated equipment with more advanced versions. This is why UCS offers credit card processing loans, accounts receivable loans, and other working capital loans to companies that know exactly what is required of them to level the playing field and produce a positive ROI with the funding they receive.
3. Not A Popularity Contest
What makes the work ethic of athletes in the winter Olympics even more incredible is how unique and frankly unpopular some of their sports are. Prior to the start of the Olympics, people could care less about speed skating, bobsledding, ice luge, ski jumping, and so no. Winter Olympians work just as feverishly as professionals from mainstream sports but the rewards are hardly comparable. Small business owners face a comparable dilemma in that even though they are technically entrepreneurs, their work might not be as glamorous or widely-respected as the millionaires on Shark Tank. Their struggles just don’t get recognized as much as they should.
The bleachers might be empty and few people might be watching on TV but when winter Olympians make it to that podium, the look on their faces is all you need to see to know that they feel like they are on top of the world. Who cares if your business or industry isn’t frequently mentioned on major websites or magazines. If your small business is alive and kicking in this cutthroat society, reserve a spot on your mantle for that gold medal.
The Recognition You Deserve
Banks are notorious for not showing an ounce of care for the fate of their borrowers but at United Capital Source, we have found that the chances of our clients paying their small business loans back without trouble are much higher when they feel supported and understood. We give them the recognition they deserve for dealing with such agonizing and often-inevitable problems over and over again. By the time they make their final payment, they will have regained the confidence to propel their businesses to new heights because they know they won’t be doing it alone.