It was a painful experience for me last week sitting in Madison Square Garden watching my favorite sports team the New York Rangers play for the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Championship seeking to earn a trip to play for the Stanley Cup.
My Rangers were shut out on home ice, 2-0 after a record breaking regular season of achievement. Yet, hockey teams are only measured by how they fare in the Stanley Cup Tournament.
The experience reinforced for me how difficult it is to win a championship in sports, as the competition gets tougher and tougher every step of the way.
It also reinforced in me the belief that becoming a championship caliber company in the small business world is much easier than winning a championship on the athletic field.
The approach is the same, really.
It’s about strategy, tactics and execution, but the results can be dramatically different.
Once an athletic team gets deep into the playoff tournament, around the level of the final four, or the semi final round, as my Rangers were, almost any team is of the caliber to win.
Often, it’s one or two plays that make the difference and sometimes it’s where the phrase “it’s a game of inches” comes from, as that slight distance is all it takes to go from winning a championship to being just another loser, or vice versa.
In the small business world it is much easier to become a championship company.
Even though there can be competition in the marketplace, small businesses should invest more energy looking inside to refine their approach to get even better and worry less about what the competition is doing.
Athletic teams have to do both and base their internal approach on the scouting of their competition’s skills, talents and tendencies.
Small business leaders need to invest internally to evaluate their company’s own skills, talents and tendencies to refine them against not their competition, but to meet the needs of their ideal clients.
The latter is much easier to do than the former.
Worrying about and investing time, energy and resources to match or beat competition is a distraction in small business.
To become a championship caliber company, a small business needs only to look inside, evaluate, refine and improve to meet market needs and conditions.
A small business is a company competing against itself to become the best it can be.
How good are you at leading your small business in that regard?