Small businesses share many similarities with football teams. In the NFL, general managers are in typically in charge of overseeing a team’s strategy, and allow the head coach to make all the game time decisions. Being a head coach is not much different than a small business owner, as your success is heavily dependent on the choices you make. Both positions require leadership and the ability to act under pressure. You get to see how everything operates first hand, and can see what areas need the most improvement. Much like a coach, a small business owner can determine what resources his company needs, and must inspire his staff to perform better.
The first thing a business owner needs to know is their market, much like a coach needs to know everything about the league they compete in. Conducting research on competition and planning ahead are key strategies to surviving as a business. While a football coach may develop game plans on a chalkboard, a small business owner can create marketing plans that will leave opponents in the dust. Both roles require behind the scenes work that take place “off the field,” such as finding the best people to fill the roles necessary for success.
Like many businesses, football is seasonal. However, coaches and players work year round to make sure everything is running fluidly. The offseason in football is just as important to a coach because it is the time when he/she can make the biggest choices in preparation for the new year. As a business owner, you must work day in and day out to keep your company in tip-top shape, constantly assessing the weakest areas to make improvements. During crunch times — when cash flow may be an issue — an entrepreneur must know when to call in the reserves and perhaps take out a small business loan.
While a football coach manages a majority of a team’s game plan from the sideline, he will look for suggestions from the offensive and defensive coordinators, who specialize on one half of the team. The adjustments a coach makes are very similar to the advice a business owner needs to seek from his/her partners. Whether you need to readjust your business financing terms or take out a new loan for operations, looking to outside sources is always a good idea. Remember, there is no “I” in “team,” and a business owner cannot win alone. A small business runs smoothly when every member does their part, just like a football team. When things aren’t going in the right direction, take a time-out and deliver a motivational speech.
At the end of the day, coaches will determine what went right and what went wrong. As a business owner, you must calculate your expenses, revenue, market strategy, and a handful of key components after each day. While coaches review same-day film of games, you can analyze what strategies are currently working or what the competition is doing better. These day-to-day assessments are crucial to both a team and a business’s survival.