There’s something about the Olympics that makes people break away from their normal TV routines to become temporarily obsessed with sports they’d never previously given a thought to – ice dancing?!? – and swell with newfound patriotism. Here are five lessons to be taken from the Olympic Games that can be applied to your business – but be sure to remember them more often than every couple of years.
1. Create an unforgettable logo. The Olympic Rings are among the most recognized symbols in the world. They’re simple and bold yet also don’t resemble other logos. (OK, maybe the Audi logo is similar.) A logo is how potential clients recognize your company, and it’s vital you come up with one that best represents your products or services. It’s a design task you don’t want to skimp on. 2. Find your niche. Watching the Olympics the other night, my friend asked if Olympians compete in different sports. “Do hockey players pull a ‘Cutting Edge’ and also dabble in figure skating?” he asked. We didn’t do too much research but decided that no, Olympic athletes tend to stick to what they’re good at. That’s a tip you can take to the bank: Develop a niche and market the heck out of it. That’s not to say you shouldn’t offer more than one service – rather, if you’re a graphic designer, do graphic design and be really good at it. Don’t spread yourself thin by also offering eBay services, psychotherapy and automotive repair. 3. Represent yourself as best you can. Bronze medalist Scotty Lago was sent packing from the Olympics earlier this week for behavior deemed inappropriate. The Olympics have a reputation for consisting of freshly scrubbed and bright-eyed athletes, while bad-boy behavior is frowned upon. Don’t forget that just like Olympic athletes represent their countries, you represent your company. When you’re out on the town, you don’t necessarily stop working. Keep yourself in check. 4. Aim for gold. Every Olympic Games there is story after story of athletes who are back to prove themselves after “settling” for silver or less in their previous outings. Bode Miller, after wowing ski fans for years, finally snagged his first Olympic gold medal a few days ago. As a business owner, you can always find ways to learn, grow and better your company. Network, advertise and create a great product. Don’t let yourself get out of shape. 5. Go green. I was happily surprised to hear that the medals being distributed this year in Vancouver are made of recycled computer motherboards, and the Olympic Village was built to the LEED Gold standard. Maybe your company doesn’t have the funds to completely green your building, but there are plenty of actions you can take and choices you can make, such as rethinking your lighting and making eco-friendly printing and paper choices.