Is your business plan plain sailing?

Smooth sailing

Achieving great success is about a combination of factors - whether it's bringing home the America's Cup, or making your business the best it can be. Phil Astley reckons there's a lot for a business owner to learn from Team New Zealand's 2017 win.

Every Kiwi knows the America's cup wasn't plain sailing last time around. It's natural to be caught up in the moment of the spectacular success this time. But how many really understand the dedication of the comparatively small team (on and off the boat) who took on and defeated a giant? While it's only natural to be excited by success, there are real lessons to apply to our businesses here. 

Team NZ have been clear winners all the way in their campaign against Oracle in the America's Cup. But the 2013 San Francisco campaign showed just how fickle the winds of fortune can be.

But there were some key aspects in this 2017 campaign that made all the difference for Team NZ; attention to these same aspects can transform your business as well.

Team NZ is clearly a sleek sailing machine but their sailing advantages didn’t only come from high-tech control systems and innovations such as using leg-powered cycle-style grinders instead of the more traditional arm power.

If they had only relied on hi-tech gadgetry, Team NZ might have ended up sailing against the wind and the 2017 campaign outcome might have been so different. How do you avoid the turbulent waters?

The murky waters of business can make for rough sailing. If you want to avoid mishaps you need to rely on more than just technology. Indeed, a large part of Team NZ’s success comes down to the stellar team work, ongoing performance analysis and ability to adapt to change.

As captain of your business ship you need to surround yourself with a great team and then let them shine.

Team NZ Helmsman Peter Burling emphasises the importance of "a pretty impressive bunch of designers in the chase [boat], tweaking it and making sure our starting package is as good as it can be." Is your starting package (that includes the product and the brand you’re selling) up to speed?

Burling gives “full credit to our full team - we've got an amazing coaching staff like Murray Jones and Ray Davies, really analysing everything we've been doing.” Likewise, make sure you take onboard the business coaching and performance influencers who can get your team up to speed.

Burling also talks about the importance of knowing the competition and having a plan to deal with them; "We had a really good understanding of what they were trying to do in the starts and a pretty good strategy to deal with it."

How is your business sailing? Is your team pulling together? How effective are your strategies?

Maybe it’s time to get some stellar business and financial coaching on board your team and steer your business into calmer waters.


  • Entrepreneurship

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Phil Astley's picture

I'm a Certified Public Accountant who's also a member of RAN ONE to help me with my passion - helping business owners in achieving their goals. I do accounting and business development "virtually" - so location's not important as long as you have broadband. I worked for government departments...