Oct 26

How small business success is like the winning the Rugby World Cup



The Rugby World Cup has been all over the media here in New Zealand lately, and even more so since we won!


(For those of you who either don't live in New Zealand or are not from a rugby-playing nation, let me fill you in. Over the past 7 weeks we have hosted 20 countries for a tournament that happens every 4 years, and finally after a 24 year wait, the NZ All Blacks won!!! Needless to say there has been much excitement.)

As with most countries, we are now treating the players like heroes with parades around the country, hours of media analysis and talk of the future of the game, sport in New Zealand and even the future of our country!

And while it's easy to be cynical about the relevance of sport and to dismiss it's importance, I believe there are several lessons to be learned, and many similarities between small business success and winning a world cup!

How succeeding in small business is like winning the world cup:

  • Don't let the pressure get to you: New Zealand sports teams have a history of 'choking': crumbling when the pressure comes on and being unable to pull through to victory. Our All Blacks did a magnificent job of keeping calm, staying strong and pulling through on the simple things which was enough to claim a win in the finals. Of course on your small business journey, there will be times of pressure. The will be times when things don't go according to plan, sales aren't as high as you'd hoped, or you aren't currently achieving your goals. While you can choose whether to choke or keep calm and carry on, your choice will determine your result.

  • The journey will be long and tiring, but you will get there with perseverance: I've never played rugby, and I probably never will (well I play touch rugby but none of this full-contact tackling type stuff). I've heard that the day after a game of rugby, you feel as though you have been literally run over by a truck. Now the teams in the finals played more than one game of rugby per week and towards the end the physical and emotional strain was showing on the players' faces, but did that get in the way of performance? No way! Same goes for business success. I don't believe it will always be a tough, draining journey but it will be tiring at times, and feel like things take a long time, but don't let that show, don't let that impact on your performance today, and ultimately you will reach the finish line.

  • The journey will reveal your true character: Of course these rugby players live a very public life. We all know what's going on for them whether they are creating controversy off the field, playing like champion on the field, or doing anything else that might sell more newspapers. Similarly, we as a nation revealed our true character through the tournament – being touted as both a hugely welcoming nation to the thousands of tourists who came to visit, and also very ungracious in our victory to our trans-Tasman rivals in the semi-finals. In this vein, your business journey will reveal your true character. Do you display tenacity and perseverance, or resourcefulness and flair? How do you want to b perceived and how can you bring these traits to fruition through your journey.


I do believe that as small business owners we can learn lessons from many realms of life including sport… and like most Kiwis this week, I'm hugely proud of the team and my country and I want to join in the celebrations – and this is my way of doing it.

I'll leave it at that but welcome additions to my wee list… I'm sure there are countless ways in which small business success is like winning the world cup, imagination is the limit! Let's hear it!





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  • Kris

    Very true words Jo, and as a fellow Kiwi all I can say is WOHOOOOOO, WORLD CHAMPIONS!!

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