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Why Olympic medalist Daley Thompson, CBE, is our brand champion, plus his top tips about owning a business

Daley Thompson CBE is widely regarded as one of the UK’s greatest Olympians.

Not only has he won two Olympic gold medals, but he also broke the world record four times in the hardest discipline of them all: the decathlon.

As our brand champion, Daley attends many of our events and annual conferences. Why?

Daley says he’s always had a passion for travel after competing in numerous countries worldwide. A chance meeting led to an introduction with our co-founders. The rest is history.

“I’ve been to conferences and trips in the past and have seen it in action – how the company transforms people’s lives through the training and development programmes, conferences and incredible trips abroad.”

“I’ve seen members turn their lives from the monotonous daily corporate grind to the globe-trotting excitement and unlimited income of a travel consultant – or the simple pleasure they get in doing what they love while spending more time with their family.

“As a sportsman, I know the importance of training. No-one offers better training, mentoring and support than Not Just Travel. It’s a company that never stands still. It is always innovating and improving its offer to its members.”

Daley also runs his own gym and knows a thing or two about heading up a business. Read his top 10 tips on how to overcome the many hurdles that may come your way.

1. Manage multiple disciplines effectively at the same time

Decathlons consist of 10 track and field events spread over two days. That means competitors have to be good at sprinting various distances, ranging from 100m to 1,500m, as well as jumping, hurdles and throwing the javelin, discus and shot put.
The analogy between competing in a decathlon and running a business?
To make a success in either, you need to be good at multiple disciplines. It’s about being an all-rounder with various strengths rather than a master of one skill (unless that skill is surrounding yourself with and delegating to people who are good at what you’re not!). You need to look at the big picture. If you lose focus on one aspect of your business, be it networking or accounts, your performance will falter.

2. Know where your core strengths and biggest weaknesses lie

The decathlon is a variety of events designed to test strength, endurance and speed. Competitors will naturally have areas where they are stronger, and those in which they
are weaker. The trick, with business and sport, is to know where your weakness lies and make a strategy to become better. If I felt I was weaker at a certain discipline, I would work harder at it, often with my coach. Business owners, however, have an advantage. Not only can they take extra training to improve in an area, they can choose to outsource that part of the business to experts. If you’re lacking knowledge in technology or accounting, pay a specialist to undertake these tasks so you can focus on what you’re good at and concentrate on the important income-generating activities. Reaching out and asking someone for help is a strength, not a weakness.

3. Surround yourself with people who make you better

Athletes are constantly striving to find ways to better their performance. The good ones surround themselves with people who can support and challenge them when needed. Create a positive network of friends and family and avoid or even ditch the negative people who are holding you back. Join a local business association where you can meet other like-minded people who are inspiring and who have goals to make it to the top of their game. Their passion can be infectious.

4. Recognise, embrace and acknowledge team effort

When it comes to the Olympics, the watching world just sees one man or woman in the stadium. What they don’t see is the team behind the scenes busily working with that athlete to make them successful. They don’t see the parents who got up at 4am to help their child train, or the partner who loses their loved one for weeks on end. Or the coach that has dedicated their lives to them. Very few people succeed in isolation. Business is similar. It’s not just your success, but the success of your support network. If someone has helped you, acknowledge them. Show them how much you appreciate them. They will be more likely to help you again in the future.

5. Don’t get distracted. Follow the line to reach your goal quicker

The starting gun has fired and you’re racing along at speed. Now is not the time to get creative and try new tactics. This isn’t the time to divert on a detour. It’s the same in business, and even more so when buying a franchise. A franchise is a ready-made business with all the tools you need. You’re investing in a tried-and-tested strategy – a proven template. Follow the advice and do what you’ve learned from your coaches and success will follow. If you have a goal and you know what it takes to get there, stay in the lane to reach that goal.

6. Avoid burn-out and look after yourself to stay in the game

As an athlete, your health is your greatest asset. Without it you will fail. The same is true in business, but many entrepreneurs end up working too many hours and burnout fast. Take regular breaks, eat well, exercise daily and give yourself time to switch off and recharge.
Oh, and remember to take a holiday!

7. Push on and go the distance, overcoming obstacles

Some athletes get to the top fast, but most Olympic medals and world records are the result of many years of hard work. Successful entrepreneurs follow a similar path. As Steve Jobs said: “Overnight success stories take a long time.” Every failure is a lesson. Every obstacle you overcome is part of your future success.

8. Listen to experts and learn from them

There are incredible athletes who inspire others. There are game-changing entrepreneurs who do the same. The trick is to learn from the best. For years now I have enjoyed Not Just Travel conferences and events. I have listened to the experts who come to share their knowledge and to travel consultants who have built incredibly successful businesses. We can all learn from them. I’ve used a few of the techniques in my own gym business.

9. Embrace competition and don’t be afraid to fail

Healthy competition can make you a better athlete – and can inspire you to keep improving your business. Don’t be intimidated by your rivals. It’s competition that keeps businesses constantly striving to improve. And don’t be afraid to fail. As nice as it would be to win all the time, it’s about perspective with everything directed towards building the blocks to reach successes. Be determined and and believe in yourself.

10. Remember the motivation you had at the start

People rarely make it to the top if they aren’t passionate about what they do. Natural ability helps, but drive is absolutely essential. If you truly love what you do, you will stay motivated and truly driven despite hurdles that stand in your way. Never lose track of what made you passionate about the job in the first place.

Fancy starting a business championed by Daley Thompson? Learn how.

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