Sports and Business

. Sunday, February 1, 2009
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Sunday was a big day in sports. However, instead of talking about those overpriced 30 second advertisements, and giving another way for agencies to justify spending $2.5 million, I will talk about my favorite sport, tennis.

What can we learn from business and sport?
While watching the epic battle between Nadal and Federer, I was able to observe the same flaw in Federer's game as that in big business.

Federer at one point was the best tennis player in the world. He had perfected his game in such a way that no one could beat him. He went on to win 13 grand slams and was ranked number one in the world for 237 consecutive weeks.

Unfortunately, for Federer, tennis is dynamic and the space is constantly changing. Competitors began to pop-up who played the game differently. The most notable competitor was Rafael Nadal. This young tennis player dressed in short pants, had the body of a weight lifter and played with an aggressive style unlike anyone else on the tennis circuit. Did I mention he played left handed, even though he is right handed?

He revolutionized the game.

What does this have to do with business?
There is no doubt that Federer is a good player. Just like there is no doubt that General Motors is a good company. However they are both playing the game as if nothing has changed.

Watching Federer play, it was clear that he was getting frustrated by the fact that he was losing. However instead of understanding that the game has changed, he continued to play the game how he had played in the past. The problem is that Federer had tremendous success with his old way of playing. Now his strategy is always based on past successes, however this will always fail because the game has changed.

Look at General Motors. They were also getting frustrated because they were losing market share in the automobile industry. Instead of understand that the industry had changed they continued to play the game how they did in the past. The problem was that General Motors had tremendous success selling big cars with huge marketing budgets. Their strategy was based on past successes. However, like tennis, the game had changed. Consumers no longer wanted big cars, they were interested in hybrid cars, and traditional marketing no longer had the same pull.

Don't Be Scared Of Big Business.
When I am talking to small-medium sized business owners, who's competitors are big business, they are usually quite scared of the massive budgets and economies of scale that big business has. Small-medium sized business has something that no big business has.

Agility. Small business can adapt to the changing marketplace quickly and relatively easily.

Big business will always have some old guys in high powered positions. These guys will never agree to a company blog, twitter account, or Facebook page. They will never agree to non-traditional forms of marketing. Why? Because they are scared of what they don't understand. Even worse, if they decide to use new online tools to gain a competitive advantage, they will never do as good a job as small-medium sized business and it will take them a very long time to implement.

Don't be scared of big business.
The worst situation for a small-medium sized business, is when it acts like a big business. It is slow to take advantage of trends, it is scared of new technologies and marketing strategies. Do not be scared of what you don't know. Instead keep posted to this blog and many others like it to keep up to date on the latest successful business trends.

Call MarketR to expand your knowledge and uttilize your company's biggest advantage. Agility.