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Is Your Business Playing Basketball with a Hockey Stick?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing a lot of hockey — well, a lot more than I typically play, which is none — and my longstanding belief has been confirmed without a doubt in my mind.

Have you ever played hockey? Or any sport?

Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you can use your imagination and follow along…

What if I said we’re going to play game, a new sport that you’ve never played before.

We’re going to give you a tool, like a hockey stick, but one that you’ve never used before. We’re going to use a ball, but an odd shaped one, and their will be baskets to score in as well.

But we’re not going to tell you the rules, we’re not going to tell you which basket’s yours, we’re not going to tell you who’s on your team, or who’s against you, and we’re not going to tell you how to win.

The game starts the second you decide to step on the court, of course after you come up with the buy in price. After that, it’s go time.

Oh, and did I mention that you’ll be playing against a majority of professional players who know the game better than the back of their hand.

What do you think your odds of success would be?

I’d bet, 100 to 1 that you will surely lose that game.

Okay, that’s a bit crazy right. Obviously you’ll get your butt handed to you and sent home with your tail between your legs.

Let’s pretend it’s basketball.

Let’s say you’re familiar with the game, you’ve maybe watched it from the sidelines before and you think you know some of the rules — but not all of them.

You step on the court and it’s go time. You have a feel for it, you sort of know what you’re doing, but you’re fumbling a lot, dropping the ball often, missing the basket, missing passes, and don’t pass often enough.

Oh, and did I mention you went at it alone? Yeah, crazy right. You challenged the opposing players, the team, on your own.

Odds are pretty good you’ll get skunked.

Let’s step it up. Let’s assume you know the rules, you have an understanding of how it’s played, and you put a few folks on your team to help you out, so again you step on the court and challenge the opposing pros.

You do alright, you get by enough to get out of total discomfort, and enough to maybe keep playing.

But let’s face it, you’re out of practice, you’re constantly chasing the ball burning yourself out instead of being where the ball is going to be, you’re constantly reacting, you don’t anticipate and, despite a very strong effort, you fall short of what you truly deserve — to win big.

At this rate, following this system, I’d wager the success rate of new-comers to be upwards of 95%.

Here’s the kicker…

Business is the ULTIMATE team sport.

You wouldn’t play hockey effectively if you’ve never skated, held a stick or took a shot before.

You wouldn’t play basketball effectively if you’ve never dribbled a basketball or shot a basket before.

You wouldn’t play football effectively if you’ve never thrown a football or dodged an attacking opponent before.

And sure, if you play long enough you MAY catch on, learn a few things and improve — but at what cost?

Will you learn enough to win before your broken down both mentally, physically and financially?

Far too many people jump into business the same way an amateur would into a sport they’ve never played.

They’re blind, they’re constantly reacting, they don’t plan and strategize, they don’t know the rules, and they’re basically out of shape.

What if you didn’t know that you could automatically personalize emails with your clients info?

What if you didn’t know you could sync your physical store with your digital store to sync up your inventory?

What if you didn’t know you could set up automated systems in your website so that when someone visits a page about X product they then receive an email about that same product?

What if you didn’t know that the headline is the most important part of a an ad, especially a digital ad, and that 99.9% of them suck and don’t work.

What if you didn’t know that hiring based on the VALS character study can identify the right person for a job? And tell you why someone isn’t working out.

What if you didn’t know that your current WiFi could be set up to capture information, send out surveys and reward loyal clients?

What if you didn’t know that how you display your inventory can have a negative or positive effect on sales?

What if you didn’t know how to properly set up your taxes to give you the best return possible?

What if you didn’t know how vital it is to understand which VALS character you’re after so you can use wording that strikes that market perfectly rather then turn them off?

I could go on and on… But I think you get the point.

Too many entrepreneurs are going through their business life not understanding the sport of business, the rules, the ins and outs, the need for a team, etc.

They’re playing basketball with a hockey stick in hand — and they don’t understand why they’re getting hit in the head with a football.

Business is the ultimate sport, and it’s ruthless and unforgiving.

Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, those that go on to build massive businesses without any form of “know how” right out of the gate, but those are the exceptions.

The majority leave the sport with their tail between their legs, bank accounts drained and lives torn apart blaming the economy, the market, the competition, the clients, their city, the weather, Santa Clause, etc.

Business acumen does matter. And if you want to play Business, learn the sport, and learn how to win.

Of course, just like any other sport, you don’t have to rebuild the wheel.

Learn from others, study what worked, what didn’t, and repeat. Be observing of patterns and trends, innovate and follow best business practices.

And don’t ever forget to ACT.

If you want to be a sports commentator, that’s one thing, but if you want to be a player, if you want to win that Superbowl ring you must ACT.

What are you doing today to learn and apply?

Make time each day for it!

To your success,

Al

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