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Three business tips small business owners can take away from this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

Just like the Kentucky Derby, entrepreneurship and capitalism have a long history steeped in tradition. With the Kentucky Derby coming up this week, it got thinking, “what can be learned from ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’?”

Here are three business tips that entrepreneurs can take away from watching the Kentucky Derby.

1. Make sure you wear your blinders – sometimes.

Horse BlindersBecause horses’ eyes are on the sides of their heads, they have great peripheral vision. However, when it comes to race horses, that can be a detriment and cause them to get off course. So, the trainers help their horses succeed by putting blinders on them. Blinders force them to look straight ahead. But even with their blinders on, these horses can still make left and right turns.

Keep your blinders on when it comes to unnecessary outside noise. Skeptical relatives, the pressure competitors will put on you, and your own self-doubt can distract you from reaching the finish line. But on the same note, don’t get into a rut because your blinders are too tight. Always be thinking of ways to expand your business in different directions. Remember why you started your small business and grow that passion, as well as your sales.

2. Wear a bold hat.

You already know that you have to have a certain amount of flair to be an entrepreneur. A big personality tends to go along with big ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a big hat like the women who attend the Kentucky Derby. It simply means to be bold about sharing who you are, what you do, and what your business’s solution is.

Kentucky Derby Hat

This tip does end up being a little bit two-fold. At the Kentucky Derby, “Millionaire’s Row” refers to the box seats where the richest, most notable people sit and connect with one another. It’s a very glamorous kind of networking. Sharing your idea with the right person might inspire an investor to bet on your business.

3. Don’t let your competition beat you out of the gate.

At the Kentucky Derby, you want your horse to be quick coming out of the gate. Another horse coming out of the gate quicker could spell disaster for your bet’s odds. It’s a lot the same with small business. You aren’t just competing locally, you are competing with the big corporations, too. But Kentucky Derby Gatehere is the good news. You’re a small business, which makes you more adaptable.

If you are in an industry where you do have to compete with the big corporations, set yourself apart somehow. No, you don’t have to undercut their price and jeopardize your business’s profitability. This can be as simple as providing the best customer service possible – which is free, until you are doing so much business that you have to hire someone to help. So put on a smile, build strong relationships with your loyal customers and handle complaints quickly.

What are some other similarities you see between your small business and the Kentucky Derby? What other tips can you implement to make yourself the winner of “The Run for the Roses?”


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