There are clear parallels between the world of sport and business. Those who rise to the top often share similar character traits such as determination, a strong ‘will-to-win,’ a crazy work ethic and the ability to function at an exceptional level both individually and in a team situation. What lessons can an aspiring entrepreneur or business owner take from their business careers?
Below are five lessons from some truly amazing sportsmen who made successful transitions from the world of sport to the world of business. We have focused on those who made more money and continue to do so from their off field/off court businesses than they did from their sports salaries.
David Beckham would readily admit that he is not the best ever footballer (soccer to our US readers) to play the game but he definitely shares traits with those who could more readily substantiate that claim. His commitment and work ethic are well-known, representing England with his best performance when his last minute free kick sent England to the World Cup Finals, during the World Cup qualifier versus Greece on October 6th 2001.
It was when his transition into business that David Beckham truly excelled. When Beckham joined LA Galaxy after leaving Real Madrid in 2007, the 5 year deal was for worth $250 million and included sponsorship and merchandise sales.
Lesson from David Beckham:
Think global and be prepared to go where your products services are best appreciated. e-commerce means that small businesses (even sole traders) can trade internationally.
A true superstar on the court in the NBA period we informally refer to as ‘Before Jordan’ Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson often had moves that left his competitors drooling. This did not change as he transitioned into a very successful business career.
Under the banner of Magic Johnson Enterprises he owns Burger Kings, T.G.I. Fridays, Magic Johnson Theaters, 24-Hour Fitness/ Magic Johnson Sport health clubs in poorer communities that lacked these establishments. In April 2011 he also purchased 3 radio stations in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
Lesson from Magic Johnson
Commercial opportunities are not limited to one type of consumer. Get to know the dynamics of your market and use them to your advantage.
When George Foreman was counted out in the historic ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight against Muhammad Ali on the night of October 30, 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire he could never have imagined the magnitude of his ‘comeback’ and that it would not be in the ring but outside it.
In 1995 Foreman partnered with household-products maker Salton and helped them sell almost 100 million George Foreman Grills. In 1999 he sold the rights to his name to his grill-making partner for $137.5 million. He has introduced a clothing line and cleaning products line.
Lesson from George Foreman
You have to take risks to reap the rewards. Putting his name to a grill was quite a risk for the former world heavyweight champion.
It’s not an overstatement to say that for many people, Tony Hawk “Is Skateboarding”. It was Hawk who landed the first ever “900” at the X games—two and a half spins in mid-air and created around 80 new tricks and yet his business moves have proved to be just as amazing.
Hawk owns Birdhouse, one of the largest skateboarding companies in the world and started his own clothing line – Hawk Clothing. He has established sponsorship deals with Six Flags, Kohl’s, Infospace, Adio shoes, Jeep and Sirius Satellite Radio, but his best application to date was the launch of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Video game in 1999 in partnership with Activision. The game quickly became a bestseller making his company the No. 1 action-sports video game franchise. He has also published his autobiography which also became a bestseller.
Lesson from Tony Hawk
Embrace technology to expand your brand.
Venus ‘Ebony Starr’ Williams is well known for exploits on the tennis court having amassed 43 career singles titles including 7 majors but her form is just as impressive in the business arena. She is the CEO of V Starr Interiors, an interior design firm founded by Williams in Florida after she completed her associate degree in Fashion Design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. In a separate deal Venus partnered with retailer Steve & Barry’s to launch her own fashion line ‘EleVen’.
In 2009, she became part-owners of the Miami Dolphins, a professional American football team, along with her sister Serena Williams. She has also co-written a book, ‘Come to Win; on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession’, which was highly placed (5th) on the New York Times bestseller list.
Lesson from Venus Williams
Build business ventures around your passions and continue your professional development.
We hope that you have found this information inspiring.
Guest Blog written by Mike Pitt, Founder and CEO of Marketing Fundamentals Ltd www.marketingfundamentals.com