Ten secrets from a former England athlete on how to make it big in business

(6) Work hard

Work hard in all areas and make sure your business, no matter how small it is, maintains a professional front. I remember taking one of my first paid-for jobs when I was decorating and covered in paint. I took a call from an MD of a company for a training day and he had no idea that I was in my painting overalls. Plus there were many times that I hired a car to go to meetings because I had an old Mondeo. I had to fake it, to make it.

(7) Challenge yourself

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and ask yourself tough questions. Three simple questions I always ask myself are: Can I think outside the box to generate the money I need? Am I prepared to do what it takes for a season to make it happen? Who do I know that I can bounce ideas off? Being able to answer these questions is vital to having the motivation necessary to make the business work.

(8) Never give up

Nothing’s impossible so never give up. I played basketball for England and I learned to spin a ball on my finger but it took me two years to learn to do it. I thought it was impossible but I persevered and finally I learned to spin the ball and still can. I now think back to that ball spinning impossibility when I am faced with something seemingly impossible in my business.

(9) Keep topping up your business

Don’t forget the “pipeline” of your business and that this is the lifeblood of any enterprise. In the early days I didn’t appreciate the importance of marketing continually to ensure that there was a steady stream of potential clients lining up. Now I am continually marketing myself even when I’m busy to ensure work is created for the future.

(10) Stay positive

Do everything in your power to stay positive – especially during the tough times. There are techniques I use like reframing from negative to positive and being grateful for the good things in my life. If you focus on the negative things in your day then your whole day will be negative and dark and this then drains you of all energy and momentum. 

John Dabrowski is a former England basketball player turned business adviser. He has just published his first book, Off the Wall – How to Develop World Class Mental Resilience(£11.99).

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