4 Lessons Small Business Owners Can Learn From March Madness

Author: Anna Eschenburg | March 18, 2015

March Madness is every college basketball fan’s favorite time of the year. With plenty of games available on television, the tournament offers the perfect opportunity to improve your game outcome prediction skills. What you might not also realize is that March Madness offers lessons that can help small businesses thrive. Intrigued? Read our analysis of the ways March Madness can help you become a smarter and savvier business owner.

Winning is always a team effort
Teamwork is one of the key components of winning a March Madness game. Even if one team includes a superstar, that team won’t win all of its games unless members work together. Teams that fight with each other or have members with ego problems tend to be the ones that implode during tournament time.

It’s important to remember that you can’t handle everything yourself. Creating a strong business involves recruiting and building a strong team, which will enable the entire company to bring in new business, solve problems and make the working experience enjoyable and fun.

It’s okay to be the underdog
As a small business owner, you might feel intimidated by the bigger companies in your field, but March Madness shows us is that it’s okay to be the underdog. In March Madness history, there have been many “Cinderella Story” wins where underdog teams came from behind and defeated larger, more respected teams.

The 1979 University of Pennsylvania team, a number nine seed that made it all the way to the Final Four, is one of the most inspiring stories. Underdogs tend to be crowd favorites, which means that being the little guy in a big pond may encourage people to support you and feel excited about your business.

Trust the expert
Making sure everyone is heard and appreciated is important in a small business, but during stressful situations, it’s important to trust the expert or veteran who has experience handling a similar scenario. During March Madness, when games get down to the wire or a team needs a buzzer beater at the end, teams depend on their go-to veterans. These players are often seniors who are the most skillful players on the team and have previous experience playing in high-pressure situations.

Matt Howard of Butler made a last second shot against Old Dominion in 2011 to win the game and ultimately helped the team’s run to the tournament final. In business, listening to the experts when the going gets tough is the best way to ensure that you make decisions that will increase the chances of a successful outcome.

Capitalize on your biggest events
March Madness only happens once a year, and it’s without a doubt the biggest event of the college basketball season. Both the NCAA and the teams capitalize on the success of this huge event. The NCAA receives tons of revenue from ticket sales, merchandise sales, broadcasting rights and advertising. In fact, in recent years, the NCAA has made more than $770 million for selling the right to broadcast games. The organization also uses the event to attract new fans who learn about the event through office pools, marketing, and buzz.

Players learn to take advantage of the pressure and excitement of the event and often play better than they have all season. Use big events during your fiscal or business year to increase revenue, attract new customers and build momentum for your company. Advertising to wider audiences or people you might not traditionally target can help your business grow.

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