When Usain Bolt finished the 100 metres final of the 2012 London Olympics in a new meet record of 9.63 seconds, the eyes of millions of people were keenly watching his performance. With his brilliant accomplishment, the Jamaican sprint star demonstrated to his many fans around the world that he is indeed a legend in his own time.
In addition to his athletic prowess, I am inspired by Bolt for reasons outside of the sporting arena. After the 2009 Berlin World Athletics Championships, I reflected on some of the lessons that the sprinter could teach us about money. Discipline, self-belief and persistence were just some of Bolt's habits that could also help us to achieve our personal and financial goals.
Bolt's attitudes, actions and achievements continue to give us examples that are worthy of emulating. After watching him win another gold medal for Jamaica last Sunday, my thoughts turned to areas in his life that could educate and encourage entrepreneurs. Let's look at some of the business lessons that we can learn from Bolt.
Choose a business that you love
It has been said that if you find a job doing what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Watching Bolt run, it is obvious that he enjoys his life's work of competing in athletic events around the world. With a smile on his face and a dance in his step, Bolt makes the arduous mission of winning races look almost easy.
Similarly, running a business can be more fulfilling if you are operating in a field that you really love. An entrepreneur's life can often be filled with challenges; so when the tough times come, it is easier to keep going if you are truly motivated by your daily tasks. You will also find it easier to attract customers when you are passionate about your business.
Be an expert in your field
I am quite sure that Bolt would not enjoy his athletic career as much if he wasn't very good at it. One of the reasons that he is reaping bountiful rewards is that he is an expert sprinter who always delivers exceptional results. While Bolt's ability to perform well is partially due to his innate talent, it is also a product of many hours of gruelling training and strategic coaching.
While it's great to be fond of what you do in business, more is required for your success as an entrepreneur. It is important to be knowledgeable and proficient in your field of endeavour, as you need to provide outstanding offerings to attract and maintain your customers. Whatever your business, ensure that you continually seek advice and development to upgrade your operation.
Keep your customers happy
It is a pleasure to see the tremendous response that Bolt receives from his fans wherever he goes. As a natural showman both on and off the track, he knows how to please his audience and leave them wanting more. Despite the pressures that come with being in the public eye, Bolt always seems to be happy to sign autographs, pose for pictures and make charity appearances.
If you want your business to stand out from the rest, take a page from Bolt's book. Think about how you can 'wow' your customers by meeting their needs, offering incentives, and going above and beyond the call of duty to serve them. What would it take for your customers to leave with a smile on their faces and the resolve to come back for more of your product or service?
Marketing makes the difference
With his engaging personality, photo-ready antics and viral 'To Di Worl' pose, Bolt is a marketer's dream come true. He has been able to attract many sponsors because he delivers a package that goes beyond his ability to run. His promotional income could outperform his on-track earnings, and places him among other sports superstars such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
To increase the earning capacity of your business, make use of innovative marketing tactics. Even if you have the best product or service in the world, you won't get sales if no one knows who you are or where to find you. Like Bolt, go for the international stage by using strategies such as online sales and social media involvement to market your business.
Don't get complacent
As Bolt discovered recently, if you underestimate your competitors it can have devastating results. When 100-metre World Champion Yohan Blake stunned the world by beating him twice at the Jamaica national trials, it was definitely a wake-up call for Bolt to focus more on his preparations to defend his Olympic titles.
While Bolt was able to recover quickly and regain his position as the world's fastest man, it may not be so easy to reclaim a lost business advantage. If you're doing well in your enterprise, be aware that the competition has its sights set on taking your place. Use surveys, focus groups and direct communication to ensure that you stay on top of changing customer demands in your industry.
So as you celebrate Bolt's phenomenal victory, think of other ways in which he could inspire you to be more successful in business!
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.financiallysmart.org and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.