Three lessons the Australian Open final should teach business owners

There’s sure to be some pretty tired faces around Australia this morning, as over 2.4 million people tuned in to watch the 2012 Australian Open marathon final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal last night.

As the clock ticked past midnight, and Nadal forced the game into a fifth set with a nail biting tie breaker win, the game officially became the longest final in tennis history.  Finally, just seven minutes shy of 6 hours, Djokovic took the main prize.

So how does this game apply to business life?

Know your advantages

There’s a reason last night’s game went so long – both players were so evenly matched.  Skill level, fitness, game strategy – it’s hard to get in front by using your skills to your advantage when you’re essentially playing yourself.  The same applies to business.  If you don’t know what sets you apart from your competitors, you can get caught into an exhausting rally, competing for the same client base with the same skills and services.  Find your point of difference – and use that as the focus of your promotions.

Learn how to motivate yourself

For those of you who watched the match, you’ll all remember that defeating moment when Djokovic came so close to winning the tie breaker, and the match, in the forth set.  But a few simple errors forced him back to square one, and back on even terms. And then he went on to win the match.
How many times have you wanted to throw in the towel in your business?  When you’ve lost a large client, stuffed up a business pitch, missed your monthly targets?  It can be a daunting task to pick yourself up and start again after being that close to victory, but as the driving force behind your business, it’s the only way you’ll get there.  Figure out what success looks like for you, and keep that close at hand to motivate when the going gets tough (try framing a picture of your ‘success’ and putting it in your office to remind you!).

Change, adapt and keep up with your industry

A few years ago, Roger Federer, ruled the tennis circuit with his poised, calm composition.  He outclassed his opponents quickly and easily with his poker face, calmly taking advantages of their mistakes, never showing any signs of pressure or stress.  Today, he struggles to make the finals as a new breed of aggressive, animated and athletic players, such as Nadal and Djokovic rule the circuit.
The tennis game has changed, that’s for sure.  Most industries do, quite naturally, every couple of years as new players and technologies come into the market.  Much like Federer, you’ll struggle to remain at the top of the game if you don’t keep on top of these.  Make sure you’re networking, keeping abreast of industry news and know the newest trends – even if you’re not planning to adopt them in your business.

Did you check out last night’s Australian Open finals?  Any other thoughts you took away that you’re going to use to propel your business to success?


Emma Mulquiney | Online Editor – MYOB