If you've heard enough about the London 2012 Olympics by the time you read this, I apologise. I have been really inspired by the sport I've watched so far this summer and it got me thinking about what business owners can learn from athletes from around the world. So rather than give my newsletter a holiday, as some people do in August, I decided to use this issue of Scribbles to share with you my thoughts on how you can make your business into a Champion.
Is Your Business on Track to be a Champion?
I had a two week holiday over the summer and as a result I was able to watch a great deal of Olympic sport on the TV. Here are some of the lessons I learnt from the events and the athletes.
Branding for 'Team Business'. Have you noticed how the name of our country and our team has changed? We used to be known as 'Great Britain', in the same way that America is known as 'the USA' and France is known as 'France'. This year, our team is being called 'Team GB'. I think this is a clever branding exercise which gives us, the supporters, something more to hold onto – something that we can feel part of.
Even though the majority of us are not competing – and will probably never reach Olympic standards of sport – we feel as if we're part of 'Team GB'. Being part of the team means we'll support our athletes even more than usual.
What can you do to make your supporters – your clients, suppliers and peers – feel like they're part of your team? What can you do to ensure they keep cheering you on?
Top class design. What do you think of Stella McCartney's designs for our athletes' kit? Apparently it took her three years to come up with all the designs and I'm not surprised – every outfit is different and there are dozens of them. Rather than putting everyone into the same design, she has created some really interesting variations, using the Union Flag theme.
Even though all our athletes are wearing slightly different outfits, they share this common theme. It makes them look really good, while making it easier to spot them as they race around the tracks and blast up and down the pool.
How recognisable is your business? Is your branding consistent across all the media in which you appear? What can you do to use top class design to make your business stand out?
Planning for Gold. If you're planning to run 100m in less than 10 seconds, would you just turn up and hope for the best? No, you spend four years training. You have a plan for your training and competing in the run up to the main event. On the big day you are completely ready and you can walk into the stadium almost looking relaxed. The same is true for your marketing. If you're planning to launch a new product or service, or to reach out into a new market, just 'turning up' and hoping that people will buy what you're selling is not a good plan.
You need to research your market – find out what people want to buy and how much they will pay. Then you need to plan the marketing you're going to do, to reach your market. You need to work on your message to make sure that it hits the target first time. When you get your planning and preparation right, you’ll be in a much better position for that gold medal.
What did you learn about business from the Olympics? Click here to answer this question on LinkedIn.