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What Entrepreneurs/Startups Can Learn from Athletes

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Team sumHR
August 12, 2012

Well, the London Olympics have come to an end and the last few weeks saw a good display of athleticism and sportsmanship. Thousands of athletes from more than 200 countries participated in 302 events in 26 sports. As we know, the fighting spirit of athletes is no different from that of a successful entrepreneur. At the end of the day, it is the will to win that makes a lot of difference.

So, what can entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses learn from athletes?

Don't Burn Yourself Out

One difference that you can easily spot when comparing big companies and startups is that work hours are long for both, employees and the senior management. Many first time entrepreneurs, excited by the newfound challenges and rewards, work really long hours. A good athlete is the one who knows his/her limitations and when to stop the practice sessions. Same goes for the entrepreneur!

Assess & Evaluate

The same way an athlete measures the timings and tries to better it every time, as an entrepreneur you too should assess and evaluate the metrics. Be it recruitment, HR management, or operations, have formal procedures in place to gather and store data. You can then use the information obtained after thoroughly analyzing the data to make decisions and then better your own record.


Not just sports teams have coaches. Individual athletes too have coaches, someone experienced who guides them and informs the competitors’ weaknesses. As an entrepreneur, it can be of great help if you have someone who can coach and mentor you. Running a business is not an easy task, especially when it comes to taking strategic decisions that would have major implications in the future.

Never Ever Quit!

The greatest athletes and sportspersons have been the ones who kept on going when others stopped. In spite of failing numerous times, the greatest athletes kept on trying and innovating. This is something to replicate as for every successful startup there are tens of other startups that fail. As an entrepreneur, you shouldn't give up, whether you come across failure when launching a product/service or for the whole venture itself.

Entrepreneurs can learn many things from athletes as such, but these are the ones that we can exactly draw parallel to. Feel free to share your learning from athletes and sportspersons in the comments section below.

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SumHR is a flexible and configurable end-to-end HR Software/HRMS which help HR teams automate the HR Processes, and improve the employee's HR experience.
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