A real sporting chance

IT is interesting to note the extraordinary space dedicated of late to the diagnostic treatment of some of our younger sports stars, particularly focused upon their ability to balance success on the sporting field with success in the commercial arena.

Having had the opportunity to observe and interact with a selection of young sporting achievers, I can’t help but admire the maturity and eloquence which seems so pervasive among these youngsters, particularly given the enormous scrutiny placed upon their every activity within the current sporting and media environments.

Many commentaries, trading off the brand names of these individuals and the clubs or institutions to which they belong, appear at best subjective, and at worst fundamentally biased, thus creating a level of market noise which could certainly work to challenge the focus of these young achievers.

So if sport is your primary emphasis, consider some very simple points as you seek to balance your sporting and commercial considerations.

Think of your sport as your core business.

It needs constant focus and you must manage a set of important stakeholders. You need to ensure that your performance is objectively monitored, regularly, and be constantly fine-tuning to achieve the optimum result.

Establish a full set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for yourself and focus on them very closely. Your core business will generate the central earnings stream, which will ensure your assets are serviced and maintain the wealth creation process you have embarked upon.

Treat your commercial initiatives as non-core growth.

Consider your alternatives and seek solid counsel before deploying any financial reserves, or time and attention, to growth opportunities, which are at arms length to your core business.

Remember that successful businesses subject their investment processes to stringent board-level criteria. So don’t be afraid to seek more than one view regarding any non-core activity. Most importantly, remain open-minded and consider all views, before making a commitment.

Develop and maintain a competitive mindset.

All businesses exist in a competitive environment, and if competition appears to be lacking, then it’s most likely just around the corner. Ensure that you understand and leverage your core skills, but never stop growing.

Businesses have to re-invent themselves, often more than once within their lifecycle. So keep a constant watch on the marketplace for your core business and try to be pro-active when it comes to developing new skills and capabilities. Remember that when your core business reaches maturity in terms of its life cycle, then alternative business models will need to have been established.

In summary, all markets are full of noise, including false signals and mixed messages. Objectivity is critical, in managing performance and making sound non-core business decisions. Ensure that you are receiving quality feedback and counsel, from more than one source and ensure that you look through the market noise which subjective commentaries create.

The writer can be contacted at or through the office at Business News.

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