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Mind Of A Champion – Similarities Between Small Business Owners And Athletes

Alan Melton, founder of Small Business Coach Associates in 2002, is a seasoned entrepreneur and advisor to over 1,000 business owners. His expertise earned his business an Inc 500 ranking and him the U.S. SBA's Small Business Person of the Year.

Executive Contributor Alan Melton

In the realm of success, whether in the business world or sports, excellence mostly springs from shared perseverance, adaptability, determination and continuous improvement. Both small business owners and athletes face intense competition and setbacks, requiring them to be adaptable, focused, innovative, and creative to overcome the challenges they face. In this article, let’s dive into the similarities between the mindsets of small business owners and athletes to be champions in their fields.

Photos of  four business owners.

Discipline and consistency

In both sports and running a business, discipline and consistency are the foundations of success. In sports, discipline allows an athlete to stay focused on their training and goals, while in business, discipline helps business owners prioritize their time effectively and meet deadlines.


Consistency requires discipline. Both business owners and athletes may need to do repetitive work that leads to success.  


When an athlete consistently follows a training schedule, the schedule will improve their physical and mental resilience. On the other hand, a small business owner who consistently delivers high-quality customer service and products will build a strong brand reputation. 

Remember: No one can maintain consistency without discipline. 

Three athletics woman.

Perseverance and adaptability

Perseverance and adaptability are two traits that are no doubt evident among small business owners and athletes. 


Both will face challenges and setbacks in their journey towards their goals. Whether dealing with financial problems or overcoming injuries, perseverance and adaptability are crucial during difficult times.


An athlete must be determined to keep training and improving even when facing setbacks. Small business owners show their perseverance by staying committed to their goals and vision even when faced with setbacks.


When both face challenges, they never give up but rather adapt and adjust their plans and strategies. They are eager to learn new techniques to bounce back and achieve success


Remember: Whatever the challenge you may face, stay determined, be adaptable, and build a strong mindset—because that’s what champions are made of. 

Goal setting and vision

Another similarity between small business owners and athletes is setting achievable goals and having a clear vision. Both understand the importance of having clear objectives and achievable goals toward success. This is true no matter whether the goal is to achieve revenue milestones or to beat a personal record.


Goal setting and having a clear vision are vital parts of success, and both small business owners and athletes know that. Without a clear goal and vision, it's easy to be distracted and lose motivation. 

Perhaps more crucial is the deployment of the vision in order to achieve goals that are set. It’s relatively easy to establish vision and goals, but usually hard to realize them. Every day obstacles need to be overcome or removed.

Collage photo of business owners and joggers.

Teamwork and leadership

Another critical component for success in business ownership and athletics is teamwork and leadership. For small business owners, effective leadership, fostering a culture of collaboration, inspiring team members, and investing in building amazing teams are highly beneficial and important for their business journey. 


In the world of sports, especially team sports, players understand that to excel requires team talent and collaboration. Motivating their teammates and maximizing their talents play a vital role in winning the competition. 

Remember: A great leader in the athletic and business field not only produces results but also inspires and empowers people to achieve common goals.


Small business owners and athletes share numerous similarities in their approaches to success. The discipline to stay consistent, the perseverance and openness to learning and adopting new strategies to overcome setbacks, having a clear vision to keep them on track, and teamwork and effective leadership are important in their respective fields.


Whether you are a small business owner, athlete, or professional, incorporating these traits into your life can guide you as you strive toward your goals. So whatever challenges you may face in your journey, keep pushing forward and keep striving for excellence with a champion mindset. Surely you will achieve success!

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Read more from Alan Melton


Alan Melton, Business Coach

Alan Melton is an accomplished entrepreneur and seasoned business coach with a track record of profound impact. In 2002, he established Small Business Coach Associates, making use of his experience from founding and growing several businesses and consulting over a thousand business owners. With his leadership, his business was recognized as an Inc. 500 fastest-growing company and has earned him prestigious awards, such as the U.S. SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year and the Governor’s Sterling Award. His mission alongside his team is to "coach you to wealth and business freedom."



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