The Sport of Business

What can business leaders learn from sports coaches? It turns out there's tons to be learned. Here's our take on how winning sports methods can be applied to business to foster business success.

Crack open any business-based resource and you will inevitably see buzzwords that have traditionally been associated with the world of sports.

The Sport of Business

From coaching to team-building, it seems like the best way to run a business these days is to manage it like a sports franchise. But are sports metaphors really a helpful way to think about your small business?

Although the comparison between sports and small business has its limitations, there are certain aspects of owning a small business that are analogous to managing a sports team.

After all, small businesses and sports teams are both comprised of individuals working together to achieve a common goal. As your company's "head coach", it's your job to make sure the team is equipped to achieve that goal. Here's how to do it:

Create a Game Plan

Good coaches know the importance of going into the game with a game plan. The same is true for good business owners, only your game plan is your strategy for achieving your company's goals.

Like every game plan, your business strategy should describe each team member's role and team members should be encouraged to understand how each person fits into the overall scheme of the business.

Also, your strategy should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the marketplace if and when they occur.

Recruit Quality Players

Winning teams consist of winning players. Your ability to achieve your goals in business will be limited by your ability to attract and hire quality employees.

In the same way that coaches scout and recruit talented players, you need to routinely seek out the best and the brightest for your company. Ironically, a good place to begin your search is the same place professional sports franchises go to recruit new talent - college campuses.

Often, small businesses can offer college graduates opportunities that can't be found in blue chip competitors.

Play to Win

Winning teams play to win. Likewise, winning businesses play to succeed - to achieve their strategic goals, and realize steady trends of growth and profit.

As the business' owner, it falls on your shoulders to set a winning tone for your employees. If you approach your goals with a "can-do" attitude, your employees will display a similar attitude and will go the extra mile for the sake of the team.

Focus on Fundamentals

When a coach tells his players to focus on fundamentals, he is reminding them to maintain proficiency in the bread-and-butter skills that are vital to the sport. Similarly, your company's fundamentals are your core proficiencies, the products and services your company is known for in the marketplace.

As your company grows, it is tempting to neglect core proficiencies in favor of new opportunities. However, as a business owner, it's imperative to remind your staff to pay attention to the activities that made your company successful in the first place.

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