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Entrepreneurs / Startup Basics

What Can a Startup Learn from a Sportsman?

A good sportsman is better equipped to face real-life complications and the values of sportsmanship can definitely be adapted by budding entrepreneurs in rearing a start-up
What Can a Startup Learn from a Sportsman?
Image credit: graphicstock
Co-founder, Sportobuddy
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

There are stark similarities in the environment within which entrepreneurs and sportsmen operate. Both are faced with uncertain outcomes, challenging scenarios and dynamic conditions. A young, bustling generation of entrepreneurs with a zest to make it big on their own have broken away from traditional norms. They are always on the lookout for 'out of the box' ideas to face constantly-evolving market trends, wherein sports can be their inspiration. One can rightly say, that a good sportsman is better equipped to face real-life complications and the values of sportsmanship can definitely adapted by budding entrepreneurs in rearing a start-up.

Team Work: Sports and start-ups both require disciplined team work. As no individual player in Team Sports, on his own accord, can win the game. The greatest victories are a result of team efforts and sheer discipline. Similarly, startups can inculcate a healthy culture of team work and ensure discipline pertaining to performances to ensure long-term success.

Sacrifice: An entrepreneurial lifestyle requires one to function seamlessly in an unconventional manner. Just like an athlete, who practices and trains for hours and hours to get that shot perfected on the field. Thomas Jefferson said, "If you want to do something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done". Working beyond conventional timelines, going out of the way in order to achieve your goals demands many sacrifices, both professionally & personally

Hard Work beats Talent when Talent Does not Work Hard: I feel, talent of course is the key ingredient in the 'secret recipe of success. 'That one big idea' sounds like the ultimate ticket to your dreams. However, constant hard-work eventually can easily beat down a laid-back talent.

Hardworking individuals who work with perseverance can always be more successful than the complacent talented lot. The famous duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli, who were nurtured by the same mentor, but one flourished as opposed to the other. Sachin is an exemplar of full-fledged dedication and hard work that earned him the title of 'God of Indian Cricket'. The individuals who innovate, improvise and are open to learning always taste success. Start-ups can always learn from these athletes to instill a spirit of hard work, dedication and excellence in their culture.

Practice, Practice, Practice: A successful athlete never gives up on practice, they always look to re-invent themselves. For young entrepreneurs with limited experience, practice and improvisation is the best technique which will not only polish their skills, but also enable them to gauge their past mistakes and learn from them.

Try and Try Till you Succeed: "The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried" Whether they are stories of successful teams or individual athletes, the above fact remains constant for everyone. For start-ups functioning in uncertain scenarios, this mantra will always be pertinent.

Sportsman Spirit, that Spells a Never-say-die Attitude: Former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, a promising batsman at the peak of his career, suffered a setback because of a dip in his performance. Eventually, what was inspiring was his never say die attitude, wherein he returned by making a mark with splendid performances prior to his retirement. A start-up is bound to suffer its lows, like its highs, but a never say die attitude can always help the ship sail through hard times.

Leadership, with the Ability to Harness the Team's Energy with a View to Aid Productivity:

"Chak De India" - a Bollywood movie is based on the original underdog story. It depicts the real incident wherein the Indian Women's Hockey Team were not even considered to qualify for Women's Hockey World Cup, eventually scaled the scoreboard to become World Champions. The major difference that made them stand out was indomitable leadership of their coach, who nurtured and polished the untapped talent and developed a spirit of teamwork amongst the players. A Start-up entrepreneur must be a leader, guide, mentor who can harness the best of potential from his employees.

We Understand the Importance of Mentorship, in Sport and in Life/Work:

A true mentor instills the best of skills in his team at the apt time. Just like an athlete, an entrepreneur too should have a mentor. It can be someone whom you look upon and has dealt with the blows and breeze of the same or similar industry and can share his experiences to help you reach your true potential.

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