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Andre Agassi on business: Resilience for the long game

Alexandra Cain
Business Journalist

Alexandra Cain writes regularly for the small business sections of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review

Alexandra Cain
Business Journalist

Alexandra Cain writes regularly for the small business sections of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review

When the federal government gave accredited education providers just three months to comply with new regulations governing the sector Jack Delosa, founder of specialist education institution for entrepreneurs, The Entourage, knew it was time to dig in.

“The changes were needed, but they made it uneconomic to deliver good quality accredited education in business and entrepreneurship,” he explains, adding that the decision affected 50 per cent of business revenue.

Image shows a man diving for a ball on a tennis court.
Resilience is an important ingredient for business success.

In tennis, it might be tempting to throw in the towel – or throw a racket at the umpire.  But rather than collapse on the court Delosa and his team completely restructured the business.  

“For us, it was an opportunity to return to our core business outside the government system. Six months after the changes were introduced, we're the best us we've ever been. Our team, our offering and our relationship with our market is stronger than ever,” he adds.

It’s a similar approach to the way tennis star Andre Agassi operates. As he explains in the video below, “a lot of people in life get hung up on their weaknesses and forget where there strengths are. But you have to have that discipline of staying the distance.” 

If you want to play like a champ, the idea is to focus on what you’re doing well to get through the tough times. 

Laura Moore, founder of holistic coaching firm Uppy took this tack when her personal training studio burned down. “I figured I had two choices: I could let it ruin me or I could rise from the ashes. I chose option B,” she says.

As the building burnt to the ground, Moore set about organising boxing classes for the next morning to be held in a local park. “By the next day I had relocated the business and client base to another gym where it was business as usual,” she says.

Far from being her only business challenge, Moore has also navigated the stress of extracting herself from a franchise, a nine-month negotiation, as well as the launch of a start-up.

She credits her resilience to a belief that there’s always a solution to a problem. “Even as my business burnt down I knew I'd figure something out. The key is to remain logical and not let your emotions take over.” 

Her other advice is to surround yourself with a strong network of people and ask them for help when you need it. 

“This was without a doubt the most important factor in helping me recover and move forward as quickly as I did,” she says. 

Delosa has three tips for being resilient in the face of business adversity. 

“It's really important for your company to have a purpose to find hope in challenging times. Education is my life's work. So when the rules changed I had to find a way to make it work because it's important beyond me,” he says. 

When the ball has you running all over the court and you’re still behind on points, another tip is to develop a plan. “But take it one day at a time and stay focused on your purpose,” Delosa advises. 

Finally, when times get tough and match point is looming – but not in your favour –, he says to drop any preciousness. “Do what’s required to move your company through that period, regardless of how challenging it might be.”

It’s the best way to keep serving aces even if when you’re facing tough opponents. 

Hear more business tips from Andre Agassi.

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