How to... transfer a successful sporting career into the business world
Published: 03 Dec 2012
Kenny Logan, Founding Director of sponsorship, events and rights management company Logan Sports Marketing, explains how he made the transition from being a professional sportsman to a sports industry executive. Logan played 70 Tests for Scotland during his 11-year international rugby union career.
Tip 1: Think about your future
Don't wait until you retire from the sporting arena to formalise a plan for the future.
"Enjoy your sports career because it is a long time finished, but also think about your future as you're playing," Logan says. "We all say that you should plan for your future. People talk about wealth management, but when you are 24 or 25 you can be too busy enjoying yourself. But from that point your sporting career may only have another 10 years left.
"You've got to start to think about where you're going to be in 10 years from a business point of view. I know some rugby players who work one day per week in the city, at an insurance company or building company - just trying to get themselves into that world, because they will be in that world in the future. When you are playing any kind of sport, look at getting yourself involved in something you're interested in. Don't hide away from the fact that at some stage in your life you're going to have to do some real work!"
Tip 2: Surround yourself with the right people
Be wary of those who come to you with outlandish proposals and promises.
"The big thing that I learnt when I finished with rugby is that you get a lot of people almost taking advantage of you," Logan says. "People come to you and say they can make you so much money and you buy into it. They end up making you nothing and wasting all of your hard work. You can be very naive when you first finish your playing career so the biggest lesson I have is to surround yourself with people who you really trust and won't let you down. They'll say to you 'keep away from that, don't go anywhere near it' and nine times out of 10 they're totally right."
Tip 3: Use your status
Remember that as a former sportsperson you offer something different to an organisation.
"The great thing is that brands want sportspeople," Logan says. "There is still that sexiness to have a sportsperson walking around an office as it can open doors for a company. So use that as a real asset and harness it, but don't abuse it, and you should have a good future."
Tip 4: Take advantage of opportunities
A sporting career can offer up various opportunities to work with companies. Make sure you make the right impression.
"When I played rugby I did a lot of things for companies and I didn't take the mickey out of them," Logan says. "I did a professional job and as soon as the rugby finished they were the first ones on the phone to me to ask what I was doing. They bought into my values as a rugby player."
Tip 5: Tap into your sporting experience
A sports career can develop skills and personal qualities that are equally important in business.
"The things you learn in the sports world are also really important in the business world," Logan says. "Sport has got a lot to learn from business sector and vice versa. Don't think you're leaving sport with nothing. You have key skills such as leadership and the determination to succeed."
Top Tip: Be willing to learn
Logan adds: “Really have a willingness to learn, whoever you are. It’s like learning to swim again, because you have been such a hero in your sport and then you go into the business world where you’ve not really done much and you’re a nobody. So be really humble and want to learn. If you do that then people will buy into you and you can build success very quickly.”