When you hear the word “entrepreneur,” what immediately comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you’re probably picturing a recent college graduate who’s a bit disheveled, brilliant, and obsessed with earning a six-figure income by age thirty.
I failed. As a quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, I failed three times—first against the Miami Dolphins, then against the Pittsburgh Steelers and finally against the Oakland Raiders. Three Super Bowls played, but not a championship ring in sight.
The great Bud Grant, my football coach with the Minnesota Vikings, never made motivational talks before the game. He always said to me, “Well, if I have to go and motivate you before the game, and you need me to make a pep talk, then you’re in the wrong profession.” And that made sense to me.
As a business owner, you have to see yourself as the quarterback. Engage with all employees — not just your “star players” — and work to build a trusting team. Your company’s success is built on this foundation of mutual trust.
One thing I’ve noticed about all the great business leaders I’ve known is that none of them made excuses. They didn’t say, “I did the best I could” or “I guess luck wasn’t on my side today.” They took responsibility for the problem, identified a solution, and focused on improvement.
Building mutually beneficial relationships at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey is essential. These relationships lead to new business ideas, long-term partnerships, growth, and an overall higher chance of success.
One of the best-kept secrets in the world of entrepreneurship is DECA, an organization for high school and college students looking to learn about business and leadership. They have been around for more than 60 years, and have more than 200,000 members all over America, Canada, and other countries around the world.
Adam Silver worked for the NBA for 22 years before becoming commissioner of the league this February. But he was only the man in charge for less than 3 months before he was faced with one of the biggest crises I’ve seen in professional sports. And he aced the test.
In my later years with the Vikings, we measured and studied the criteria of a successful offense, and it made a huge impact on our team. And believe it or not, we did it by applying lessons I learned on the factory floors of the textile mills of South Carolina and Georgia.
Making sure you have a plan is important. But what’s even more important is being ready to adjust and change your plan when you encounter reality. The same scrambling ability that helped me in my football career has proven its worth again and again in my businesses, too.
Small Biz Club is the premier destination for small business owners and entrepreneurs. To succeed in business, you have to constantly learn about new things, evaluate what you’re doing, and look for ways to improve—that’s what we’re here to help you do.