From raises to teamwork to hiring and firing, having a sports team mentality helps put running a business in perspective. Here's why.
The world of entrepreneurship can be a lonely place. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of running a business, especially when so many other things need to be done every day. But if you want to grow your business into something great, you must ensure that you're doing everything necessary to build a solid foundation for success.
One of the most critical factors in building a solid foundation is running your business as though it were a sports franchise. There can never be a successful sport without a strong team behind it. And just like a professional athlete has to train hard and eat right to stay at their peak level of performance, entrepreneurs have to do the same thing to succeed.
Running a business isn't about being lucky or having good ideas: It's all about putting in the work and making wise decisions. If you want to create a thriving company, you have to put in the time and effort to ensure that you're always moving forward.
What first crosses your mind when thinking of a successful sports franchise like Chicago Bulls? Is it Michael Jordan? Or maybe Scottie Pippen?
They both had exceptional skills and talent, but Phil Jackson led them into six NBA championships. He was the coach who built the winning culture and helped them become a dynasty. Here are three reasons you should treat your business like a sports franchise and what we can learn from coaches, with tips on how to do it, too:
Teamwork is key to success
In sports, teamwork is the key to success. When everyone works together towards a common goal, nothing is impossible. Teams that can come together and find ways to support each other usually win more games and often championships.
If you want to build a successful business, you must learn to embrace the idea of working together as a team. That means you need to hire people that buy into the vision of the team and can help you achieve your goals. Having a vision, processes and the right team are the key ingredients for building a dynasty. Think of every great team that had a great sports run, that team bought into the vision of the franchise and became not only the team to beat but the team that all players wanted to join. . As an entrepreneur, every time your team runs a campaign, creates a slogan or concept, you are taking the field. On the field, on the court, or in a stadium your team must operate as a unit for the win.
Everyone has a role to play
Like a sports team, no single person can take over another's role. Instead, everyone needs to play their part and contribute to the team's overall success. That's true even if you're the CEO of a company. As long as you delegate tasks appropriately, you'll be able to accomplish much more than if you try to do everything yourself.
For instance, let's say you're an entrepreneur who wants to start a new business. You might not know everything about marketing, sales or customer service. However, you still have to figure out those roles and assign them to qualified members of your team. Think of this as breaking from a team huddle and assigning a role to each team member to execute the play. As an entrepreneur, you can focus on the vision for the brand while the best team members play their position and handle the day-to-day operations.
Do the best players always win?
The answer is no, the best players don't always win. The most prepared players have the best chance of winning. The best players learn from their losses and create a pathway to a better season. To equate losses and wins with business, when you have a bad month or quarter, you make adjustments. You pivot your position and become more aware. You learn when to sub in players (team members) and rotate positions.
For instance, look at Michael Jordan. No one talks about the over 9,000 shots he missed and 300+ games he lost — all we see is his greatness and the number of titles he won. We see his highlights on the basketball court but not highlights from practice, dedication and studying of the playbook. Michael Jordan was a prepared player, in addition to his tremendous skills he demanded the best from himself and the franchise.
Similarly, the best entrepreneurs don't just succeed because they're lucky; they're the ones who consistently execute great strategies, continuously learn, and continue to improve every year. If you want to grow your business, you need to work hard and stay focused. In sports, the best coaches and players continue to watch films and become students of their sport.
Now that you understand the benefits of treating your business like a sports team, here are the steps you need to take to make sure you get there:
You'll soon see the results as long as you follow the above rules and tips. Once you do, there will be no going back. Now take your team and win a championship.
Image credit: Image from Pixabay.com
Data and metrics are critical drivers of a business's overall success. The more data streams you have, the better you can understand your customers, their needs, what works and what doesn’t.
But collecting data doesn’t necessarily give you all this information. You still have to interpret it and use it to take actionable steps toward bettering your business. To help you do that, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer their best tips for turning data into action items for your business.
1. Ensure Your Data Is Accurate
As a first step, gather good data. Often, companies have incomplete or raw data that is inaccurate due to issues like typos or data aging. You need to make sure your data is correct, accurate and complete. Second, you need to understand who these people are and what they like. You need to be reaching the right ones with the right message. You want to build out a 360-degree view of users to improve your segmentation. It’s always better to send fewer messages that are well-targeted, rather than many poorly targeted messages. With a spray-and-pray approach, you burn out your audience. - Kevin Marcus, Versium Analytics, Inc.
Great marketing requires data analysis. I use data to know which marketing avenues are the most effective. If I get 40 billboards, they will each have a different phone number so that I know which board was most effective. I do the same with digital marketing and experiential marketing. Make sure you know what is working so you can supersize that and drop the rest. - Sheila Nazarian, Nazarian Plastic Surgery
3. Correctly Configure Data Sets
Before collecting data, you need to set up the data sets correctly. Ask the questions first, then set up systems to collect data that answer those questions. For example, let's say you want to know how visitors found your site and purchased your class. Your query needs to address those two data sets. The data will then show you those exact results. From there, you have the information to create actionable steps to increase traffic to your site (in this example). Most people collect data and then try to make sense of it. Make sense of what you want to collect, then set up queries to collect that data. - Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
4. Make Data Benchmarks
One way that we use data is to create benchmarks for future campaigns. For example, we ran a survey for our users last year and this year we pushed to beat the number of responses we got last year. Using data in this simple way helps us understand how engaged our audience is and whether we're really growing. We can identify areas of stagnation in our marketing efforts. If it makes sense, use information like the number of users in your email list, how many downloads your product got, how many forms people filled and more as benchmarks for the future. Over time and with analysis, you should see where your efforts need to change and how to improve your work in the years to come. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
5. Add A 'Why'
What businesses need is to turn data into insights for decision-making. First, identify what kind of data is most relevant to your business. That will vary depending on your industry and goals. Some examples include customer demographics, purchase history, website click-through rates and social media engagement. Once you have identified and collected the right data, the next step is to add a “why” to the data to make it actionable. For example, if you're a retailer, data may tell you most of your customers buy products in the $10-15 range. However, when you add in the “why”—because people are more likely to purchase items they perceive as good deals—you can take steps to highlight products in that price range. You may also decide to offer discounts on products in that range. - Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
6. Create Audience Segments
The best way to turn customer data into actionable steps for your business is to create audience segments. Essentially, segments are targeted profiles that define the needs, goals and pain points of your visitors. These customer profiles can help you create relevant blog posts, offers, and events for your visitors.For instance, marketing firms create unique content for people interested in small business social media tips. Similarly, they would also publish blog posts focused on email marketing since that's another common topic in the industry.I suggest using information obtained from contact forms, on-site behavior and past purchases to learn about your audience and create accurate, value-packed segments. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
7. Understand What The Data Trends Mean
The key to making data actionable is understanding what the numbers and trends mean. Taken by themselves, numbers can be confusing or even misleading. For example, many businesses experienced steep declines in revenue during the height of the pandemic in 2020 to 2021. So a chart showing a downward trend would have to be interpreted in that context. However, it could even be seen as a positive if the decline was slight compared to competitors in your industry. That example also points to the need to look at your internal data relative to wider conditions that you can't control. You always need to ask the right questions about data so you can interpret it in a useful way. Data by itself seldom tells a complete story. - Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
8. Design An Action Plan
Data is a critical aspect of any business. It helps us make decisions, find insights and improve our processes. However, it can be difficult to turn data into actionable steps for your business. The data you collect should be relevant to your company’s goals and should help you make decisions about where to focus your efforts. You’ll want to create an action plan that will lead you closer to achieving those goals. Your action plan should consist of specific steps that will take you from one stage of the process to another in a linear fashion. It's important that these steps are measurable so that they can be easily tracked and measured throughout the process. - Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
Here are five ways to make more time for your small business and increase your productivity.
While having a small business may be something you have always dreamed of — planning your own working hours, being flexible, living wherever you want in the world, the list goes on — it is, nonetheless, a difficult undertaking. Having your own venture may feel like you need to excel in all aspects of your business, from budgeting to hiring staff.
However, that kind of mindset might just be the one that makes you feel like you have no time left on your hands. Are you working a solid 16 hours a day without the impression that you are getting anything done? Do you keep seeing your to-do list getting longer and yet have no clue how to even get through half of the points? If so, you may feel like you just need more time. What if, instead, we found ways to reduce your workload and increase your output? Here are five ways to make more time for your small business and to increase your productivity:
1. Planning, planning, planning
One of the main mistakes many small business owners make is trying to work on everything, all at once and without a certain order to follow. The problem with this approach is that while certain things might indeed get done, there is no long-term planning. This is a mistake, because you aren't able to plan how you will manage all the various small items to get done throughout the day as well as over the next few weeks. You need to plan more! With specific targets, milestones or goals to achieve, you are able to break down the parts of your work that take the most time, and hence, you can figure out what needs to be rearranged.
2. Use block scheduling
While planning, you may realize the following: While you thought you were working 16 hours a day, you were actually busy getting distracted every few minutes by a new email coming in, a Voxer Voice message or something along those lines. These distractions add up. As such, using block scheduling can help you avoid them. Block a few hours at a time (one and a half to two hours is usually a good amount) and stay focused on this specific task throughout the entirety of the countdown. This will save you time that you usually spend being distracted!
3. Outsource time-consuming tasks
Next, think about the tasks that you are not very good at or knowledgeable about. As mentioned earlier, we may feel like we need to constantly be doing everything on our own, at least until we can afford full-time staff. Right? Wrong! Doing it all on your own takes a lot of time away from you that could be spent on scaling and growing. Outsource the most time-consuming tasks you have, such as hiring a virtual assistant or finding talent on websites such as Fiverr.com and Upwork.com.
4. Simplify and streamline your marketing
One of the main activities that can take a lot of your time is marketing. The reason for this is simple: If it is done step-by-step or post-by-post, you may feel like you are spending hours on social media every day trying to market your business. Instead, free up some of your time by creating a content calendar and batching your content. This way, you are not spending valuable minutes and hours on apps as it will all be done in advance.
5. Take time to rest
Finally, and yes, this may be a bit cliché, you need to schedule some time to rest. While solopreneurs, founders and entrepreneurs love to work, we also struggle to stop ourselves from overworking ourselves quite often. The result? We end up burned out and can't stay focused on a task — and that's if we can even get ourselves started on it in the first place. With this in mind, you need to take the time to reboot yourself once in a while.
Image credit: Image from Pixabay.com
A lot of small business owners don’t like conflict, so they avoid it. There can be problems inside your company between employees or controversial policies with your staff or customers. But more progress can be made in your company if you “choose sides”, and not be neutral.
On The Small Business Radio Show this week, I talked with the authors of “The Neutrality Trap: Disrupting and Connecting for Social Change” about how avoiding conflict doesn’t benefit small business.
Bernard Mayer, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the field of conflict intervention. He is Professor Emeritus of Conflict Studies at Creighton University and was a founding partner of CDR Associates, a pioneering conflict intervention and training firm. Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán, PhD, JD, MHA is a Fulbright scholar with vast experience in conflict, healthcare, academia, and the legal system. She is an experienced lawyer, mediator, and facilitator. She serves as the inaugural Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Eastern Mennonite University and Professor in their Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
According to Bernie, “The Neutrality Trap” is that whenever there is a conflict, many people hide behind the statement that they are “neutral” and avoid dealing with real issues that need to be addressed. Jackie adds that “by not taking a position on an issue, you are still taking a stance. That position helps sustain the conflict that is already in place… You need to take a side.”
Bernie says that in any organization, “constructive conflict” is essential for change. In any small business, conflict does advance change according to Jackie; “Lack of conflict will lead to stagnation in your company. Leaders need to understand that conversations about these issues are happening anyways (inside your company), so they should be engaged with instead of avoided.
Image: Bernie Mayer
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.