Olympic golden girl Gunnell shares her top tips for business success

Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell
Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell

Olympic gold medal winner Sally Gunnell has put the lessons she learnt as an athlete into a guide to help small businesses achieve success. “Training to be the best in your field can be a lonely experience, and running a small business is no different,” she said.

Gunnell, who won the 400m hurdles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and is now a small business owner herself, has launched The Book of Gold Medal Business Advice, in conjunction with accounting software company Xero, for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Sally Gunnell’s five tips for business success:

1. Know what you want to achieve - Have drive and focus and know what your goal looks like, and don’t be scared to think big!

2. Build a strong team around you - Don’t be afraid to ask for help and surround yourself with people who are good at what they do – they will help you to excel

3. Challenge yourself – Make sure you step out of your comfort zone to keep learning and growing.

4. Accept disappointment - Learn why mistakes happen and how you can learn from them, but don’t dwell.

5. Have self-belief - All of us will doubt our ability at some point, but use your mind to visualise your goal and control that inner voice.

Sally Gunnell remains the only woman ever to hold four major track titles concurrently - Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth
Sally Gunnell remains the only woman ever to hold four major track titles concurrently - Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth

A survey by Xero has shown that one in three successful entrepreneurs has turned to a mentor or support group for advice about their company, compared with 14% for businesses that had to close. Gunnell revealed the importance of mentoring in sport and business. “When the stakes are high the road to success can feel like a hard one, which is why I’m pleased to partner with Xero to support small business owners in the UK as they grow,” she said.

Gary Turner, Xero’s co-founder and UK managing director, said: “The 5.4 million small businesses in the UK are the backbone of the economy, employing 60% of the workforce, so it is in everyone’s interests for small businesses to succeed. Sally’s sporting tips are completely transferable to business - from having mind-over-matter when times get tough, to ensuring you have the right team around you to help you grow.”

Gunnell’s advice will be available on Xero’s website in the form of video chapters as well as a written book for entrepreneurs to download.