Business Lessons from Seb Coe…

Management & Growth, News,

We talked recently about the benefits of entering awards in terms of awareness and credibility, so we were excited to head to the NEC in Birmingham on Monday. We’d find out if we’d progressed from Finalists in two categories in the National Entrepreneurs Awards to Winners. Our key categories were Most Impressive Growth and Best Business Enabler.

Sadly, we didn’t progress beyond being Finalists, but are extremely proud to have got this for with such a new business!

We’d reached this stage in the Best Business Enabler category once before, a year before we sold our last business, so hitting that point again after just 15 months of trading is a huge achievement. We were also up against a list of fantastic businesses in both categories, so are proud rather than disappointed.

As a long term runner, I was so excited to have the chance to meet Lord Sebastian Coe, who was the main speaker at the event.

He told us of his running career, about the rivalry with Steve Ovette (who I met before the Brighton Marathon in 2010) and about the story of bringing the Olympics to London in 2012. His story was so interesting, but he was also such a lovely chap!

Having taken the London Olympic bid from three people to 13,000, with a budget of millions, there were lots of lessons to draw from his experiences.

  • His primary point was around daring to dream, which he felt no-one else was prepared to do before the original bid concept was devised in a pub one evening.
  • Around recruitment, he felt that you should recruit the best people you can, then let them shine, without being micro-managed.
  • Keep the original vision front of mind at all times, and make sure everyone knows that should be the focus. As times get tough, it’s easy to be distracted from that original vision.
  • Communication is paramount. As any team or business grows, things go wrong, but through clear communication most problems can be overcome, and relationships strengthened.
  • Do your homework! Before the crucial vote that would decide between London and Paris as the Olympic venue, significant time and energy was devoted to researching each voter. The feedback later was that the 4 votes that swung the decision London’s way was the result of the effort involved. The voters felt valued and confident in the London team.
  • Focus on your why; if you’re clear why you want to go through the hard effort required to achieve the goal, you care more likely to be successful. The ‘why’ has to be strong enough though; for the London team it was the legacy for East London and for sport across the country.

At the end of his presentation, we were lucky enough to meet him after all, and grabbed a few photos too.


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