From Sport Star to Business Star
2020 has been an unexpectedly difficult year for businesses. Covid-19 has created many challenges that no one could have foreseen. Many people have faced redundancies unexpectedly, and people are increasingly feeling unsure about the future. However, we’ve also seen more enquiries from people who want to start a business than ever before. People, through choice or necessity, are deciding that it’s time to make the move, and start a new enterprise.
Discussing redundancy and uncertainty is not a positive experience, and one many people shy away from. So, to take the ‘sting’ out of it, the Enterprise Hub @ M-SParc enlisted the help of some familiar faces. ‘Sport Star to Business Star’ was a series of events held throughout October, with ex-sports stars talking about their career paths. Through choice or fate, all had changed careers, and we heard their stories about resilience, how mindset can affect wellbeing in business, and how they started their new ventures.
The event was held in partnership with the Accelerated Growth Programme, and so who better to open the month than ex-pro footballer, Kelly Davies. Kelly is co-owner of The Goodwash Company, and the AGP helped in the early stages to get the business set up. The Goodwash Company make luxury toiletries, including soaps and shampoos, and recently opened their flagship store. During the pandemic, Goodwash reduced their prices as demand for soap rose, to make the product more accessible! They place social impact at the heart of their business, and raised £10k in soap donations for the care sector during lockdown. The audience learned a lot, with key messages being to take advice from others, but always have a really clear vision of where you want to be.
Lee Byrne, ex-Welsh rugby star, tackled all the audience’s questions on how he started Bridgeport 360; quite a leap away from rugby! Lee’s drive for winning and succeeding was a transferable skill he didn’t foresee, giving him the extra ambition required to apply for and win contracts in the construction industry. The key message from Lee was about networking and making new connections, and indeed by the end of the event he had secured the details of an architecture firm from the audience.
Local business SAIB Yoga allowed Ceri Lloyd to give us a Welsh-language session on how she combined her interest in yoga and wellbeing with her business acumen. Having only recently established, SAIB Yoga is going from strength to strength, particularly with the recent lockdowns showing us just how important mental health is. This, combined with her USP of providing the sessions bilingually, have been helpful in allowing Ceri to become self-employed.
Ex-Rally Champion Matt Edwards steered us in the right direction, by showing how a passion can become a business. M E Rally Sport came of the desire to keep working in a field Matt was passionate about, and he urged the audience to grab every opportunity that came their way. Matt also focused on a Unique Selling Point (USP), advising that you should always find your own and not try to imitate others.
The month came to a close with Colin Jackson, CBE, taking us on his journey from athletics champion to business owner, and the hurdles he faced along the way. Colin runs Red Shoes, a company to help young people find their passion, and is also involved in numerous charity and presenter work. He left the audience feeling truly inspired, advising people to be confident in their product, and to always be well prepared for every piece of work or pitch they give. His message was that ‘time is of the essence’, be that a few milliseconds off a personal best, or the time require to be prepared and ready to invest in yourself and present your business in the right way.
Following a question from the audience on being black in business, Colin also advised black entrepreneurs to seek advice from their peers, noting that many black entrepreneurs are more than willing to help give advice, and that there are also schemes such as Black Enterprise which can help.
There were some messages that cropped up time and again, proving that a winner’s mindset can take you far! So if you missed the events, here’s a summary of the main messages:
- Always find your Unique Selling Point and focus on this. You can be inspired by others but use that inspiration to create your version of your goal.
- Times change and you need to adapt; looking to the past is no use, it’s all about adapting to the future.
- Prepare to fail and use that to empower you. Get comfortable with the ‘discomfort’ zone and learn to build yourself up and learn from each failure.
- Believe in your own idea and sell it to others. It’s important to take advice onboard, but if you don’t commit to your own idea you can’t expect others to either. No distractions!
- Network! There’s always someone you can ask or who can connect you, so make the most of the skills of those around you.
We enjoyed this month a lot, and we hope the talks left you feeling as engaged and passionate about your business as it did us. We want to ensure you can put the advice given into practice, so remember – you need others to help you move forward. The Enterprise Hub @ M-SParc is here for just that. Get in touch, and see how we can help you start your business and push it forwards.
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