As a world-class athlete and Olympian turned successful TV personality and corporate speaker, Sally Gunnell knows a thing or two about adapting to the daunting changes of starting your own business. Here, Sally shares three pieces of advice for staying grounded and setting yourself up for success.
1. Surround yourself with the right people
Sally believes that in order to stay grounded, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people, who really understand you and will be critical of what you do when needed. “You have to take it on board.”
For example, there were times when she was training hard and it would have been easy to pat her on the back and say what she was doing right. Instead, she wanted her coach to tell her the areas she could improve on. The same concept applies to a business. Even if your profit has doubled, you need to understand what you need to do to ensure it happens again.
2. Look after yourself
Starting a business is a drain on your personal life and it can force you to temporarily cut yourself off from your family and friends. “It’s important to look after yourself, in terms of work/life balance and resilience. You don’t want to burn out,” Sally says. In both business and sport you need to deliver over and over again and this requires a lot of commitment. Too often people focus on business and neglect themselves, Sally believes. Hard though it is to fit into a working day, exercise and good nutrition will make you sharper and fitting family in is vital.
3. Set yourself goals
Starting a business and changing careers can be incredibly daunting. Sally retired from athletics a couple of decades ago, so had to start planning around the idea of radical change very early. “It’s about not being scared about it. The biggest change I had was when I retired and moved on – I started putting things in place during the last couple of years, and what I learned in my running days I took with me.
To deal with the change, Sally suggests setting yourself goals and accepting your new career path. Sally a set a number of goals, both business and personal: she wanted family, to learn to ski, to learn tennis. As soon as she had restored that drive and focus, she was able to start planning the increments as to how these things were going to happen.
Sally’s top tip for adapting to the changes involved when starting a business: Accept disappointment. Mistakes will happen, but the key thing is to learn from them without dwelling for too long.
Discover more business advice from Sally when you download your copy of Business Gold – the book of business success, or join the conversation at #BusinessGold