Life Change

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

" You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go. " -
Dr. Suess

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Business on the Gridiron, Business and Football Comparison

Your business can learn a lot from the game of football.  

From a broad view, it’s easy to describe the goal in football and in business, just win the championship, and just be No 1 in your business.  That’s easy to get your head around.   It’s when you start drilling down into the details that the real similarities for achieving victory in business and victory in football begin to emerge.

Winning the championship in football could equate to being No1 in business, and there are some very closely related traits that No1 teams and No 1 businesses have in common.   The largest factor in the success of these is having a
good solid game plan, or a good solid business plan.  This is what all successful coaches and business leaders do.  They devise a game plan or a solid business plan to get them to the championship.   These plans are an integral part of the game, understood by the coaches, the leaders, and the players.  Be sure to understand that these plans are not cast in stone but are fluid, and adaptable to the conditions on the field and the changes in the marketplace.  And they can’t be left back on the chalk board, or on the clipboard in the locker room, they have to be out on the field during play.  A solid but adaptable game plan is necessary to win the championship.  

The overall goal of winning the championship or becoming No1 in business can be broken down into many separate but interconnected goals that all add up to a series of wins.  This is where your business and the gridiron become intimately related.   To win the championship you need to win, you need to win more than the competition to earn the right to play in the championship game.   Winning more games than the competition is a goal achieved by outscoring the competition, or in business, by selling more product, or giving better service than the competition.  To outscore the competition you sell more product, or give better service than they do, you move the ball down the field into the end zone more than they do.  Giving better service increases your ratings.  Higher ratings grant you more exposure, and more exposure means more business.   You’ve got to put points on the board to outscore your competition.  Sometimes you settle for a field goal, just 3 points instead of 6.  The lesson here is important; 3 points is better than 0 points, and the 3 pointers still add up.  If you are scoring, moving forward with momentum, you are working toward the goal of outscoring your competition.  Keep momentum on your side.  

Drilling down even further, to score and move the ball down the field you set and achieve mini goals.  A mini goal is moving the ball few yards at a time until you score or get a first down.  With a first down you get another chance to score just like making a customer happy, you get another chance at his or her business.  You do this by using your plays from your playbook or defined tasks from your business plan to move the ball a few yards at a time, reaching for the mini goal, the first down, the first sale, and the next sale.   In business, mini goals are making that phone call, contacting your customers, marketing to get your product and your name out there in the marketplace.  You’re doing what your business plan requires you to do to move forward a few yards at a time by flawlessly executing your plays, with a laser focus on one play at a time.  After one play is over then you can then focus on the next play. To focus and fully execute the current play at hand is the difference between success and failure.  Sometimes a play doesn’t work out quite like it was designed, or your competition saw it coming and got there first.  It’s not the end of the world or the end of your business.  Failure provides a way to learn from mistakes.  All great business people have had failures and have overcome them with perseverance and determination.  And in business we have the luxury of having more time than the 60 minutes allowed in a football game.   In business we can play and win as long as we want. 

Another key ingredient in both business and football is team work.  Team work is critical to the overall success of the team where every coach, every leader and every player executes his or her assignment to make the play work.  Think about it, if each member of the team did the same assignment, the plays and the whole game would fall apart, in other words, you would lose.  The same idea applies in business, if each player just surfed the web, the phone calls wouldn’t be done, the web page wouldn’t get published, the accounts wouldn’t get reconciled, the products wouldn’t get distributed, and the customer service wouldn’t happen.  The key idea here is every team member has his /her specific task designed to make the overall game plan work as designed.  So now you say, what if you are the only player, the whole team of one?  That’s OK, many small startup businesses are a one person team, and more importantly many one player businesses are very successful.   Many ex-football players are successful business owners.  They understand teamwork, disciplined execution of a well-defined plan, and how to stack up a series of mini goals to get to the win.  The number one reason they are successful is because they have practiced these drills over and over.  They do their daily tasks without fail or distraction, they practice a daily method of operation, fine tuning their skills, learning new skills, and executing all the mini goals on a daily basis.  This leads them to meet their daily mini goals, one yard, one win at a time, which leads to the big win - your overall business success.

Keep it moving, keep the momentum.
To your Success,
Harv Whitman


  1. Hello Harvey,

    I like your writing style. I would point out one difference between football and building a home business: if I'm not no. 1 in my business industry, but I get awesome results, that's all right with me.


  2. Thanks for reading and commenting Philippe. I appreciate it. I agree that awesome results goes a long way in a home business. To your continued success with Kind regards, Harv

  3. Wow! What a great way to explain the importance of a business plan