Allan Johnson of Johnson & Tennent Chartered Accountants
Allan Johnson of Johnson & Tennent Chartered Accountants Janie Kayes

So you want to start a business

AS THE Olympics draw to a close, we will also draw to a close our discussion of the similarities between small business start-ups and Olympic athletes. Ready, set, go!

1. Stay focused.
An Olympic hockey player is obviously an excellent hockey player. Part of being an excellent hockey player is the ability to run fast. However, you don't see hockey players lining up for the 100m sprint - because they're at the Olympics to play hockey.

In the same way, small business start-ups should not be distracted from their core business - what they're really about. The same kind of focus and end goal will ensure that maximum success is possible.

However, if you've heard of Nova Peris-Kneebone, don't rule out coming back as a sprinter for the next Olympics! Once you've conquered your goal, go for it.

2. Ignore the critics.
In the weeks leading up to the Olympics, there was a shocking amount of media attention centred around swimmer Leisel Jones - not for the right reasons. She was pictured in an unflattering manner, and I'm sure you've all heard the story.

She would not be the only athlete to receive negative press leading up to the Olympics, but deal with it after you've finished swimming

To compete successfully, athletes must ignore their critics and simply run their race (or swim their relays) to the best of their ability. In small business there will always be armchair critics - but unless they're in the same race as you, don't pay attention.

3. Social media is a dangerous thing - use it right or don't use it at all.
While we're discussing the swimmers, a few of our competitors landed themselves in hot water recently over comments made through social media.

The dangers of using social media irresponsibly (for Olympic athletes and celebrities in general!) go far beyond damage to your reputation. One throwaway comment can hurt your brand and destroy all you've worked for - take the case of the Greek triple jumper who was sent home following just one racist tweet. She didn't even get to compete, after who knows how many years of training?

140 characters on Twitter might not seem like much, but small business owners need to be aware of both the power and the danger of social media.

4. Have a good team.
The team of coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and those who carry the drinks are all an important part of an Olympic athlete's success. It is extremely unlikely that any gold medal winner has not had the assistance of the best support team available.

When it comes to small business, you also need to have the right team behind you - and not only support staff in your business, but service providers such as accountants, lawyers and business coaches (of course!) will help you on the path to the winner's podium.

So, if you want to start a business, consider these ideas very carefully before the starter's pistol fires. With careful planning and the right team, you too can be Faster, Higher and Stronger.