I grew up knowing about every player on the New York Yankees and their respective batting averages. For a young girl growing up in the 1960s, my passion for sports was a bit of an anomaly. At that time, sports, especially football, were considered strictly a “boy’s” hobby.
Today, I can honestly say my knowledge of sports has helped my career and my business in ways I never would have guessed back on Arrowwood Lane playing catch with my dad and brother.
With the start of football season, now is a good time to think about turning on the sports channels, reading the sports pages, and even attending a local game this season—all to help you grow your business.
4 Small Business Lessons from Football
Like it or not, sports is a universal topic. Beyond “Did you catch that game last night?” knowing at least what sports are in season and the names of top players could fill some awkward silences at your next business lunch. At the very least, try to keep up on popular rivalries and the week’s “big game”, key players and their positions, the home team’s record, and whatever else is trending. If you have a friend who’s really into football, ask for the week’s highlights. Knowing even a little about football could mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful conversation with a client.
Entrepreneurs have business plans; football teams have game plans. Your business plan was created using statistics, studying the market, and predicting what the public wants. Try thinking about your business as a football game in action—it should always be evolving. Watching football, you’ll see the quarterback strategize every play based on what’s happening on the field. He, like you, needs to be proactive, flexible, and ready to turn on a dime to get to the end goal.
Just like in football (or any sport) where players get traded to other teams, today’s business enemy could, one day, be a vital part of your team. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to form an alliance or partnership with a competitor (it’s called co-opetition). Do you admire another business’s marketing ideas? Approach the entrepreneur to co-market at community events and split the advertising costs.
Like the quarterback of a football team, your job as the boss is to create a winning strategy, develop a cohesive team, and lead it to success. But, it’s not all about work—football can help your company culture in another way: Talking about upcoming or recent games, getting together with colleagues to watch games, or debating your favorite college team’s chances of winning can build bonds among co-workers. As long as sports talk doesn’t interfere with getting work done, sharing the joy of football can be a great way for your employees to connect and blow off work stress.
Now, are you ready for some football?
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