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  • Tyler Lindvall

What March Madness And Business Ownership Have In Common


Shoutout to all the sports fanatics out there! This blog is for you. Being an entrepreneur and an athlete are similar in a lot of ways. You need to have a certain attitude and work ethic in order to have a winning record.


As we just witnessed the greatness that is March Madness, it seems fitting to talk about the parallels between the two. Here are five lessons to be learned from these gritty, go get ‘em, college teams.

1. The importance of having a game plan

The teams who are most successful in the tournament are those who come prepared. They have put in the hours of practice and played through every scenario. In the world of sports, it’s known as having a game plan. In the case of an entrepreneur, we call this a business plan.

Research shows that entrepreneurs with a business plan see growth 30 percent faster than those without one.

What is a business plan? It is a roadmap designed to ensure you reach your desired destination of operating and maintaining a profitable business. This 15-20 page document typically includes the following:

  • Market analysis: Gathering information about variables that affect your industry

  • Competitive analysis: Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors (SWOT)

  • Customer segmentation: Dividing your customers into groups based on specific characteristics

  • Marketing strategy: Using your research to describe how you will implement advertise tactics

  • Logistics and operations plans: Planning and outlining the most efficient production process

  • Cash flow projection: Preparing and estimating how much money will go in and out of your business

  • Sustainability: Identifying an overall path to long-term growth

As overwhelming as it may seem to tackle such a huge task, you’ll be glad you created a business plan from the very beginning. And keep in mind that it’s a work in progress. Just as the college basketball teams make adjustments throughout the season - and even in the middle of a game - your business will inevitably have to pivot to maintain consistent growth.

2. Know your competition

In the off season, pre-season, regular season and of course, in the midst of March Madness, teams are watching tape to size up their competition. Knowing what you're up against plays a major role in determining what your game plan i.e. business plan will be.

Doing a competitive analysis (SWOT) and A/B testing will help improve your knowledge of the industry. And once you know the lay of the land, you can better identify your USP (unique selling point) and find ways to authentically own it. Identifying the other big players that offer the same or similar products/services shouldn’t hold you back. It should inspire you to find ways to earn the recognition your brand deserves.

3. Loyal fans can be a game changer

Everyone talks about customer acquisition costs but customer retention rates are equally important. No one wants a fair weather fan. You want the people who believe in you, your mission and your ability to succeed despite the challenges along the way.

Just ask any athlete and they will tell you what a huge difference it makes to have a home field advantage. Especially in a win or go home scenario like March Madness. The same can be said of having a loyal customer base. For an entrepreneur or small business owner, turning consumers into brand ambassadors is priceless.

So, the next time you see an athlete stay after a game to give autographs or do charity work with local organizations, think of the impact that has for their brand image and what it says about them as a person. Find ways to give back and show gratitude to those who have supported you in your entrepreneurial endeavors. It makes your business more likable, which makes you more likely to succeed.

4. Trade ego for a team culture

One of the reasons people enjoy watching college basketball over the NBA is that there is less ego involved. You can see the camaraderie that exists and it’s admirable — opposed to the ball hog mentality. On the court or in the office, it is important that everyone understands and embraces their role. This is how positivity and productivity join forces. And once they do, you’ll be unstoppable.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

- Henry Ford

5. Anything is possible

Last but not least, you never know what’s going to happen. This statement is true in sports and in life. How many times during March Madness did we see an underdog arise victorious? Hello, St. Peters 15-seed that made history when they got to the Elite 8 😲 With the right skills and attitude, anyone can win. Not to mention, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of proving the naysayers wrong.

March Madness may have just ended, but the possibilities for building your brand have just begun. Harmonic Media is ready to join your team and play our part in helping you to get ahead of the competition when that last buzzer sounds.

Ready to score some new business? Awesome! Just give us a call and we’ll come up with one heck of a game plan.