As we approach Conference Championships in the college football world, much of the focus is going to be on the SEC Championship as both Georgia (#4) and Alabama (#1) are highly ranked and will greatly affect the College Football Playoffs.
Because of this unique situation and the fact that both of these teams played against each other for the National Championship in 2018, there are articles galore breaking down team statistics and analyzing which team might have an edge over the other. One similarity that none of these articles mention though is that both of these powerhouse schools host an SBDC (Small Business Development Center).
Both Small Business Development Centers are part of the America’s SBDC Network, which have almost 1,000 offices nationwide and, like their football teams, both the University of Georgia SBDC and Alabama SBDC are very successful and make quite an impact on their states. In Alabama, the average sales growth for a small business is 2.5%. But, with assistance from the Alabama SBDC, businesses on average have shown sales growth of 25.5%. On average, the state average for employment growth is 1.4%. Again, with assistance from the Alabama SBDC, businesses are much more successful showing 19% employment growth.
In Georgia, the average sales growth for a small business is 4.2%. But, with assistance from the University of Georgia SBDC, businesses on average have shown sales growth of 16.6%. On average, the state average for employment growth is 1.8%, but with assistance from the UGA SBDC, businesses are much more successful showing 14.1% employment growth.
Another similarity that both of these schools have, as you know, is Kirby Smart. Before Kirby became UGA Football’s Head Coach, he was the Defensive Coordinator for the University of Alabama’s football team.
As we move closer to kickoff, business owners can look to Kirby Smart for a bit of inspiration. Not many people would think to look to Kirby for inspiration, but football coaches and small business owners have a lot in common… and no one can deny Kirby’s success in his short three year tenure at UGA. Both business ownership and coaching require leadership, dedication, commitment and a strong work ethic in order to succeed. Just like football coaches, as a small business owner, you must take on many roles to ensure everybody is working together as a team to achieve important goals and operations run smoothly… and keep winning… just like Kirby.
Yesterday, the University of Georgia released a hype video before the much anticipated SEC Championship. As I watched it, not only was I inspired because of my love of Georgia Football, but also because of the lessons a business owner can takeaway from the video.
Bring the Thunder
Football coaches and small business owners play a similar game:
To prepare for a football game, coaches research opponents, develop game plans and determine the best lineup of players who will help the team win. Similarly, when starting a small business, entrepreneurs conduct market research to understand the competition and the key economic conditions and indicators. Entrepreneurs also build a business plan, which sets the strategic framework for the organization and maps out the path forward. In addition, small business owners find top talent who will help them execute the plan and beat the competition.
During the game
Over the course of a game, head coaches make adjustments regularly, shifting tactics to put their team in position to score and win. They consult with assistant coaches to get advice on what plays they should run. Entrepreneurs also make strategic moves to adjust to constantly changing market forces and customer demands. You can get guidance on how to set themselves for success by consulting with experts from their local SBA district office, SCORE chapter, Small Business Development Center or Women’s Business Center.
Coaches typically deliver inspiring halftime speeches that motivate players to give their all and function as a team. You motivate your employees by providing benefit programs and encouraging their career growth through training that will help strengthen their skills. Small business owners also foster teamwork by clearly communicating the importance of each employee’s role in reaching a shared objective.
Following a game, coaches review footage to analyze which plays and strategies did or did not work and what improvements the team can make to defeat the next opponent. At the end of each day or period of performance, entrepreneurs crunch numbers to determine how well the business performed and identify ways to boost profits, cut costs and improve customer service.
In coaching, the job doesn’t end just after one game or one season. The same can be said for entrepreneurs who work hard every day to pursue their dream of starting, managing and growing a small business. And the UGA SBDC will be there every step of the way, providing important consulting, training, financial education and other resources that are critical to success. Learn more about how the UGA SBDC helps entrepreneurs.
At the end of the day, it’s all about bringing YOUR OWN thunder. Just like Kirby, who didn’t get lucky with talented recruits and coach staff, but rather created his own lightning moments through play calls, recruitments, facility upgrades, which eventually lead to massive thunder leading the Georgia Bulldogs to their first National Championship appearance in almost 30 years. You too can find success with a little sweat equity and dedication to making yourself (and your business) better each and every day through making your own lighting moments and bringing your own thunder of success.
“We don’t wait for luck or for lightning to strike, we bring our own thunder.”
(Source: J. Ashley Panter, Marketing Manager, UGA SBDC)