03 Feb

Company founder says sportspeople have ideal skills for business

Award-winning company founder says many sportspeople have the ideal skills for business

Six Nations

As the Six Nations kicks off this weekend, we’ll all be marveling in the athletic prowess of the players.

However, one Irish rugby survey found the average professional rugby player’s career lasted just seven years and New Zealand rugby players’ association found the average retirement age for its professionals was 32.

So, many players will be looking for new careers after their time on the pitch professionally has ended.

For some, there will be the opportunity to do something they’ve always desired – to start up their own business.

It’s a well-trodden path for sportspeople.

Sporting stars who have successfully made the transition into business include:


Steve White-Cooper – The former England rugby international worked in recruitment after his retirement and launched his own niche recruitment business, Add-Victor.


Mark Colbourne – The para-cyclist who won gold in the London 2012 Olympics has run businesses including health supplements and cycling retreats. He is now a business growth coach helping other entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.


Robbie Fowler – The former England and Liverpool striker won a rare triple with his club in 2001, the League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup. In the early 2000s he founded a race horse investment business with friend Steve McManaman, The Macca and Growler Partnership. He also founded Robbie Fowler Sports Promotions and became a successful property investor.


Alix Popham – The ex-Wales rugby international founded Hub XV which creates business hubs and co-working spaces at high-profile sporting grounds including Bath Racecourse and Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, the home of Glamorgan Cricket Club.


Xavier Rush – The former All Black has established a hair transplant clinic, Head Quarters, in Cardiff and is a successful property developer.


Andy and Steve Moore – Former Wales rugby internationals, the Moore brothers launched Athletic Career Transition (ACT) with the help of Sir Steve Redgrave. It makes introductions for sportspeople looking to make the transition to the business world.


Serena Williams – The most successful female tennis player in the modern game, she launched a venture capital firm Serena Ventures which looks to back entrepreneurs, particularly women and people of colour, and has invested in more than 30 businesses since 2014 including meal delivery services, an online course provider, a co-working start-up, and a razor company. She has also built her own clothing line and served on the advisory boards of businesses including Verizon Media and Survey Monkey.


Venus Williams – The former Wimbledon champion has founded two businesses, V Starr Interiors and sportswear company EleVen.


Lucy Cohen, a former Powerlifter and the co-founder of award-winning accountancy business Mazuma, said: “Sportspeople have many attributes which would make a business successful.

“They know how to set goals and achieve them, they understand the need for small, marginal gains to change the big picture, and they are disciplined.

“Sportspeople know that you have to put the work in to achieve good results.

“They are also relatively young when they come to the end of their sporting careers, so are looking for new directions in life.

“Starting a business is an excellent way of providing them with the focus they need.”


Lucy’s advice to would-be sporting entrepreneurs:


  • Use your advantages as a sportsperson – You understand how to train and create results, so look at your business preparation in the same way.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring in expert coaches if you need help in certain areas such as finance, administration, or marketing.
  • Do your market research – Understand your potential clients, what motivates them, what their problems are, and how your business solves them.
  • Don’t get daunted by your plan – Split the work into small tasks and tick them off one by one. Block time off into two hour slots to get specific tasks done.
  • Get to know your numbers – Understanding your costs and profit margins is vital for anyone starting a business.
  • Be consistent in your marketing – Whatever you do, do it consistently. Marketing in fits and starts won’t work as it takes time to build a brand and get the right reputation.
  • Create a support team around you – If you try to do everything yourself, you will become overwhelmed. Look at what you can outsource, from accounts and bookkeeping to administration and marketing. Create the team you need around you to get the work done. Think of it like having the physiotherapist, sports nutritionist, and skills coach in sport.



For further information or to arrange an interview with Lucy Cohen, please call Maria Williams on 07790 654274.




  • Mazuma is the UK's leading accountancy firm for small and micro businesses. 
  • It provides hassle-free, online accounting to businesses across the UK.
  • Mazuma uses a combination of cutting edge technology and the expertise and experience of chartered accountants to create an accounting service that can truly make a difference to its clients. Click here to find out more about the business.
  • Lucy Cohen won Accounting Personality of the Year in 2009 and was a finalist in the Institute of Directors Awards 2019 after being named Wales Director of the Year in the innovation category. Mazuma won the Account and Tax Adviser of the Year award at the British Business Awards 2019 and the British Small Business Awards 2018.
  • She is on the Advisory Board for AccountingWEB Live which will be held in the RICOH Arena, Coventry, on December 2 and 3.
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