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The Olympic-entrepreneurship connection

Now that the 2012 London Summer Olympics have officially come to a close, there's the opportunity to look at the event as a whole and draw connections between the Olympics and starting a thriving business. From the colorful, entertaining and representative opening and closing ceremonies to the athletic feats, there are many lessons to be learned from the Olympic Games.

Olympics athletes train for countless hours every day for years to perfect their event -- and the same willingness to invest time and effort into your business could pay off too, though it may not come with a gold medal or customized U.S. flag sunglasses. Olympic athletes don't get on the medal stand without a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears, and neither do Fortune 500 companies. Entrepreneurship, like athletics, is not for the faint of heart.

Competition is key in the Olympics, as is a little friendly rivalry. No athlete wants the bronze -- they're all going for the gold. They know their own strengths and weaknesses, and those of their opponents. They are prepared for their event long before they arrive to the arena. This same mindset can be used in a business setting. Be prepared and know as much as possible about your competition. This will always benefit you as a representative of your company and your business as a whole.

The coaches of the Olympians are just as qualified as the athletes themselves. Business coaches and mentors can teach, lead and motivate entrepreneurs to stretch to great heights. They've been there; they know the ins-and-outs of the game and can help an entrepreneur avoid mistakes and find success. Find a coach who will be a good fit for you, and put in the effort in your search to find out what makes them qualified.

Some of the most inspiring Olympic events are team-based. Key members of a team can contribute to the business as a whole while building up the team members around them. Individual strength is great and can offer a lot, but an individual devoted to team strength can really bring home the gold.

When watching the Olympics, each athlete has made incredible sacrifices to get to this elite level. If you want to take your business there, it won't be easy and it may not be as glamorous as the London Olympics -- but it will no doubt be rewarding.

Source: Forbes.com, "Entrepreneurs and Olympians," Alex Lawrence, Aug. 13, 2012

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