Yes, we’re currently in the middle of March Madness, where the best teams in college basketball compete for league and tournament championships. What a perfect time to talk about building your business. Actually, we can learn a lot from those basketball teams that have successful seasons, and win time after time. Here are a few ideas to help your business win:
- You have to play to win: You always hear commentators talking about strength of schedule when determining team rankings. If you play against teams that are ranked high, or known for their success, you can gain credibility. The same is true in business. For example, does your website look as professional as the bigger players in your industry? Are you active on blogs and social media and community organizations such as your industry association or local chamber? Do you advertise in similar places? When you participate in the same activities that the leaders do, it shows your initiative and drive to succeed.
Have great leadership: When a team doesn’t perform well for a few years in college sports, what typically happens to the coach? They replace him. The same is true in business. Does your company have great leadership behind it, guiding it onward? If not, your business may suffer in the long run.
- You’re only as strong as your weakest player: Just as a team with one great player cannot carry the team, a great employee alone cannot guarantee the success of your business. Hire a strong team of dedicated go-getters to advance your team and beat out the competition.
- Practice makes perfect: The best basketball teams dedicate themselves to practicing diligently and working on their weaknesses in order to improve their game. As business professionals, hard work goes a long way toward ensuring a successful outcome as well. Is there a skill that you or your team needs to learn? Hire a trainer, hold a lunch-and-learn, or pay to attend a seminar or workshop.
- Always strive to rank among your peers: We talked about strength of schedule and team ranking. Everyone knows the best basketball teams in the country, because week after week, the industry publishes rankings, culminating in the final bracket tournament in March. In business, you can rank among your competitors by seeking approval ratings by your clients, and becoming well-known for your quality products or work. Do you have recommendations posted online about your business from satisfied customers? The more you are recognized, whether it’s for an award or simply repeat business or a referral, the more visible your business will become in the marketplace.
- Play both offense and defense: A great offensive basketball team might struggle with a great defensive match-up. The better strategy is to have a little of both. In business, you need to have some business-building tactics, such as a healthy sales team and advertising budget, but also be able to provide a good end product, good customer service and resolve conflicts or crises effectively. A well-rounded company, as well as a basketball team, will fare better amid competition.
So while you’re watching your favorite team play this March, try to remember the rules of a successful season, and discover new ways you can apply them to success at the office.