Earlier this month at Wimbledon, Andy Murray defeated Milos Raonic for his second Wimbledon title. Raonic ousted Mr. Wimbledon himself aka seven-time winner Roger Federer the round prior. Even in defeat there are valuable lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Federer. With 18 Grand Slam victories and over $98 million in career prize money, Federer has leveraged his on court success to create a very deep off court branding and endorsement portfolio. Federer is ranked 18th on the Horrow Sports Ventures’ 2015-2016 POWER 100, an index that accounts for both on field and off field/social attributes. According to the rankings Federer rakes an annual $58 million from sponsors Wilson, Nike, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz and Gillette.
Here is a list of lessons small business owners and entrepreneurs can learn from Federer, who many tennis experts credit as the best to ever play.
1. Don’t fear failure.
Fearlessness breeds the best athletes. During the Australian Open 2011 Federer lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. Federer was not afraid in their subsequent matchups; he fought his way back to being first in the world rankings by year’s end. In 2012 he defeated Djokovic on his way to (yes you guessed it) another Wimbledon title.
As a struggling entrepreneur, you similarly cannot fear failure. Like Federer, consider every setback an opportunity to work harder and focus all your energy into improving and winning.
2. Learn to adapt.
During the 2003 Wimbledon, there were many firsts for Federer. Federer adapted to the tournament’s optimum strategy and style of play after early round exits the four years prior. The 22-year-old Federer defeated Mark Philippoussis in the final and lifted his first Wimbledon trophy.
Similarly, an entrepreneur must learn to adapt to the many dynamic factors of business. Being able to accurately identify and adapt to market trends is a vital skill for entrepreneurs and athletes alike.
3. Focus on your strengths.
“As long as I'm doing the right things and staying true to my game plan it makes sense” Federer told media in a post-match press conference during the 2011 Australian Open. “If I'm just making errors… then I'm in trouble clearly. But it's about setting up the plays right” said Federer.
As an entrepreneur you should focus on what you can control then master those same elements. That way your business is primed for the highest achievement possible.
4. Stay relevant.
Federer, who turns 35 this year, says he will return next year despite many rumors of retirement. Regardless, he is still creating value for himself; take his newest commercial for Sunrise Telecommunications for example. It aired this past spring with Federer depicted as an action hero is seen pursued by a dinosaur. Why is this important? Even in a down year where you are too injured and too old to play you can stay relevant by turning to creativity and alternative means. Fast forward a few months and that same beat up old man made it to the Wimbledon semifinals.
Entrepreneurs take notes.