With the Rio Summer Olympic Games just around the corner, we thought we’d look at an uncommon, yet exceptional, group of business owners for our answer: Olympian small business owners. As it turns out, many of them start a second career by running a business of their own bringing the same spirit of passion, perseverance, and ingenuity from their athletic careers.
Setbacks are common parts of the journey for any athlete or small business owner. The important thing isn’t the number of obstacles you avoid, it’s the way you bounce back from the ones you can’t miss. When four-time kayaking world champion Eric ‘EJ’ Jackson found his kayak designs rejected by manufacturers across the country, he didn’t give up – and his motto is “no compromising,” so buckling to tradition wasn’t an option. Instead, EJ’s relentless drive to create on his own terms resulted in Jackson Kayak, now a leading manufacturer within the industry. Jackson Kayak now sells products online and through dealers across the country.
Since the beginning, four-time track and field Olympian and world record holder Michael Johnson has experimented with new ways to tell the story of his performance training center, Michael Johnson Performance. Because he wanted to attract local customers, moving some of his advertising budget online made sense so he could reach them with geo-targeted ads.
With more potential customers finding him on mobile, Michael Johnson also drove growth for his business with mobile ads. “Two-thirds of our customers find us through mobile,” says Johnson. “With Google AdWords, we can see exactly who we’re reaching and that’s invaluable to us.” Making connections with new customers is key to growing any business, and a willingness to experiment with new ways of reaching those customers is a vital part of any business owner.