Gold Medal advice: Kerry Pottharst's business tips

My Business meets Kerry Pottharst: entrepreneur, gold medal-winning beach volleyballer and author, and asks for her top business tips.

Many businesses invite elite sports stars to enter the corporate sphere to lift and motivate their teams, and offering that kind of service is Kerri Potthart's business.

To coincide with the launch of her new book, in which Kerri explains how her skills as an athlete can be applied to business, My Business asked her for her top business tips.

Q: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?

A: Talk less, ask more questions and listen more effectively when presenting your ideas or meeting people for the first time.

You only get one go at making a first impression!

Q: What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?

A: Quitting my job as a highly paid account manager when I was in my early 20’s to become a fulltime athlete.

I had the courage to follow my dreams, instead of being held back by fear and doubt.

Just over 10 years later I became an Olympic Gold Medallist. Patience, creativity, flexibility and self belief kept me going.

Q: How do you delight customers?

A: These days, my clients are often medium to large businesses that employ me to deliver inspiring and motivating keynote presentations to their staff or clients.

I delight them by being down to earth, easy to work with and 100% passionate about what I’m speaking about so that they can relax and enjoy the presentation knowing that they are getting great value for money and their conference or seminar is a success.

Q: What’s more important in business: passion or preparation? Why?

A: Passion for sure!

Having a lack of passion is like driving a Formula One racing car around the track with your elbow out the window.

What’s the point of spending all that time and money preparing your car for the Grand Prix if you’re not that into it? You won’t have both hands on the steering wheel and you’ll probably end up veering off the track.

With that sort of attitude you’ll never get to the front of the pack and worst still you might even crash and burn because you’re heart really wasn’t in it.

Q: What’s your favourite networking activity? Why?

A: At the moment, it’s social media. Especially facebook.

As a small business, it’s a great way to build a client database and reach out to them regularly, in a very relaxed yet informative way.

I can do it from home in my PJ’s after my son’s gone to kindy or after he’s gone to sleep at night. No office hours required!

Q: If someone gave you $100,000 and said “Invest this in your business by the end of the week – or lose it” what would you do?

A: I would most definitely hire someone with office management and marketing skills to help me with the many creative opportunities I can see to build my business and my brand.

My biggest challenge is time. As a female with a young family it’s often difficult to keep up with other businesses in my field, especially when I want to spend equal amounts of time with the family.

Having someone on board to assist me would also release a certain amount of guilt that I feel when working as opposed to being a “Mum.”

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