Accessible Marketing

A Personal Post – How sport helps me be a better small business owner

by Judith Hutchinson

How sport helps me to be a better small business owner

 

For those of you that know me well you will know that school, for me, was a fair while ago (over 20 years). Whilst I have kept up with my health and fitness over the years with classes such as Ballet (yes really!), yoga and various gym memberships – I haven’t played a team sport since being at secondary school!

So, in 2015 whilst waiting to pick my daughter up from school my ears pricked up when I heard one of the other mums talking about going to netball training. I asked her a few questions and she invited me along to a training session. As you can imagine I was a little bit worried about my ‘rustiness’ (aka – fitness, lack of skill and complete lack of exposure to playing any kind of team sport in a long time!). That was in April 2015 and I am still going to training and playing in matches now and I’m really enjoying it. My teammates even voted me most improved player last season. Get me!

Whilst I know many comparisons are often made between business and sport – particularly in the fields of leadership and teamwork I naively associated this with big businesses. Here’s how it helped me with my small business

Teamwork
It’s the obvious one and whilst I do have a virtual team around me and do work within client teams I am pretty much working on my own. Netball has enabled me to be part of a team that’s outside of the work environment but it’s definitely making me think about how I work with my virtual team.

Strategic Thinking and changing strategies
I’ve always been fairly good at strategic thinking but at netball, we are encouraged to ‘read the game’ and ‘adapt our play’. The coaches are also encouraging us to reflect more on what’s worked and what hasn’t within our training sessions.   This all acts as a great reminder for me to be aware of what’s going on in the marketplace – what’s changing and how can I adapt my business. It’s probably not a coincidence that since starting netball I have started plotting how I can be more creative with my offering and am in the midst of planning for the launch of my membership site, which will be a different approach for me to coaching and consulting.

Confidence – picking yourself back up and carrying on

I’m sure I’m not the only small business owner to have the odd confidence wobble.  It’s the same when playing netball.   Just because you make a bad pass or didn’t get into the right space doesn’t mean this should affect the rest of the game.  Learn from it, try not to do it again and carry on.   I think about this in business too.  Just because I do something that doesn’t work, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try something else or that everything I’m doing is wrong.  I just need to reflect, learn and carry on.

Older and wiser or younger and fitter?
There has been an influx of U19 members into our club which is great. They are faster for a start so inspiring to keep up with! The U19s are clearly fitter than most of the oldies and when you’re on court training it can go one of two ways – you can either forget how old you are and feel like a 19-year-old and therefore run like one (or at least try to) or you can understand that whilst you may feel 19…. You aren’t and therefore can think more strategically about the game – let her run around and play her game but you play the clever game! In relation to business this is about thinking about your strengths and weaknesses – what can I do or have I got that I can turn to my advantage and make work for my business. My business is 10 years old in 2018 and whilst I sometimes get a little envious when I hear about new startups or people embarking on their freelance journey I also have to remind myself of all the lessons I’ve learnt over the years and can use to my advantage.

Clearer Head
This one is not necessarily down to netball but could be for any sport or fitness activity. For that hour (or 2 hours on a long training session) I don’t think about anything to do with Accessible Marketing or family life for that matter. It’s all about the game. It’s well documented that sport is good for mental health and it certainly helps me to get my head out of business mode and somewhere else for a bit to be able to come back re-energised and with a clearer mind.

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