Guest blog by Andrew Knowles, copywriter in Weymouth

Thousands lined the shores of Weymouth Bay to watch Ben Ainslie in his bid to achieve a record-breaking Olympic sailing win. Pumped up by Team GB’s ‘super Saturday’ haul of six gold medals, the crowds sought to experience, first-hand, the thrill of being in the presence of sporting history.

They weren’t disappointed, and when Ainslie won his prize the thousands roared their approval.

Only minutes earlier, the same throng had witnessed Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson’s failure to retain their own Olympic crown, won in Beijing. Despite being awarded silver medals, they felt crushed. “We’re hurting so much inside,” said Percy.

Winning isn’t everything. But so often it feels like everything.

Weymouth is no stranger to winners and losers, both in sport and in business. The town is home to international fashion retailer New Look and to the builders of aspirational yachts and cruisers, Sunseeker International. But the high street is suffering, having lost so many national retail brands, and an Olympics festival went out of business a week after opening.

Unlike Olympic competitors, where the losers still secure a medal, or can at least say, ‘I was there,’ the owner of a business has little consolation.

But in the same way as Ainslie’s success on the waves is rooted in negative experiences, anyone who aspires to run their own business can enjoy growth from adversity.

n his youth, Ainslie was taunted for having an allergy for sunlight, which affected his skin. Despite being bullied, he gained confidence through his sailing. That confidence is at the core of the single-minded winner he is today.

Winning in business begins with being confident about what you are doing. If you’re unsure, hesitant or not entirely committed, success will elude you because you simply won’t try hard enough to catch it.

Winning is also about learning from failure. Successful entrepreneurs carry the scars of poor decisions, or simply circumstances that didn’t work out as they had hoped. “You learn by doing and by falling over,” said Richard Branson.

As a business owner, you have one massive advantage over Ben Ainslie. He had one shot at that historic gold in Weymouth this summer. You can go for gold over and over, and you can set your own finish line, measured in income, quality of life or any other terms you choose.

Winning in business isn’t easy. But it is achievable. So go for it!

Andrew Knowles



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