People & Leadership

Winning after loss: 4 small business tips from cricket legends Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney

From cricket legends Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney, learn how to overcome losses and pave the way to success in business.

“My local pub became available. I had the stupid idea of taking it on, and Broady came on board. It’s been a lot of fun”, says ex-England cricketer Harry Gurney.

Harry and the recently retired Stuart Broad formed a partnership and stepped beyond the boundary rope to co-own the Tap and Run pub in Melton Mowbray.

Stuart Broad is an England legend. One of a small list of bowlers to take 600 first-class wickets, he is well known for his fierce competitive streak and battles against Australia in the Ashes.

Left-arm fast bowler Harry Gurney played for England but also starred in the T20 circuit, where he won the 2018-19 Big Bash and was picked up in the IPL by the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Known for their sporting prowess, Stuart and Harry’s business journey would test their strategy, patience, and resilience, particularly after a fire almost destroyed the Tap and Run in 2022.

But like England came back against Australia in the 2023 Ashes, the ex-cricketers showed grit and resilience to turn things around, and battled back to re-open the newly renovated pub in June 2023 with a new look and feel.

As Sage customers and successful entrepreneurs, they not only embraced the challenges of managing a small business but flourished in their new endeavour. We share their experience, advice, and insights on navigating the unpredictable waters of entrepreneurship and growing a business.

1. Find a mentor

“Go and find a mentor who’s been there and done what you’re trying to do, and pay them to come in, teach you to do it and provide consultancy,” states Harry, emphasising the importance of seeking guidance from experienced individuals.

A consultant or mentor can offer invaluable insights, help you avoid common pitfalls, and inspire you to persevere through challenging times with their support and encouragement.

Harry believes that even if you pay for their time and advice, the return on investment makes it well worth it.

2. Don’t think you can do it all yourself

Stuart knows the value of positivity. After a period in the doldrums, he played in an England Test Team rejuvenated by Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum playing a fiercely positive brand of cricket, coining the term ‘Bazball’.

A core idea of Bazball is how the team allows players to choose how they play without fear of failure, which can only work if everybody is working together and reading from the same page.

“Starting a business thinking you can do it all yourself is virtually impossible,” says Stuart. “You need people to bounce off, and that’s the same in sport. You’re learning from your teammates and coaches, and I think business is similar.”

Like sports, teamwork and collaboration are vital in achieving success. Most of the original Tap and Run team returned to the venue for its re-opening, which shows that positive work culture can propel businesses forward despite setbacks.

3. A positive mentality can help overcome challenges

Both Stuart and Harry have overcome major challenges in running their business but didn’t let themselves get knocked down. Stuart explains: “We’ve had two of the biggest challenges I think we’ll ever face. One was Covid, and one was the pub burning down.”

Stuart got a call from Harry at 6.15 am on the day of a Test Match, followed by a picture from the top of a hill of their pub in flames. Stuart half expected the business to end there and then. “Can we even begin to rebuild and grow from where we are?” he questioned.

Harry’s unwavering optimism and determination to rebuild inspired all involved. With a collective readjusted attitude, the team transformed setbacks into opportunities and turned the tide in their favour. “Harry immediately said we’ll make it bigger and better,” Stuart explained. “We were able to adjust and change things. I think overcoming that challenge has been led by the positive mentality within everyone.”

The Tap and Run now has a five-star rating on TripAdvisor, with positive feedback about its transformation into a stylish yet cosy gastropub geared towards the dining experience, but without losing the charm of a local.

4. Be confident being competitive

The cricketing business owner duo also hail their competitiveness as being a driver of success when it comes to managing a business too. “I think having been a sportsman before going into business has built up a level of resilience,” Harry admits. “There’s that constant drive to stay a step ahead and be comfortable with being competitive—because business certainly is.”

Drawing parallels between his sports background and entrepreneurship, Harry underscores the importance of competition in business. Just as athletes constantly strive to outperform their rivals, staying ahead in business is key to sustained growth and success.

Final thoughts: Rising from the ashes

When England lost the first two games of the 2023 Ashes, much was made about the failures of Bazball in the face of the hard, ultra-competitive Australians. But in cricket and business, failure is inevitable at some point.

Even the best batsman gets out in cricket, and even the best bowler gets hit for a 6. Similarly, in business, there will be times when things don’t go as planned. How you respond to these failures in both fields is what defines you.

Find the resilience to get up and fight again, the ability to learn from the setback, and the determination to keep improving.

And that’s what England did. By fighting back with three superb performances to draw the series 2-2, many believed they were unlucky not to win the whole thing.

Take this lesson into business. Success needs passion, determination, and camaraderie to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit. And a little bit of competitiveness to come back fighting.