This morning AUSTRALIA deliver and outstanding performance against the men’s USA Basketball team. Both myself and Intuit APAC Director, Brad Paterson, were yelling at the TV in our Sydney headquarters right until the end. I even went so far as to bring my laptop downstairs so that I would not miss the action and keep working at the same time.

What an awesome game it was and gee am I looking forward to seeing our boys put it up a good fight against the strongest basketball countries in the world. In which we’re a chance at placing a medal for the first time in our history! How exciting is that.

I’m a basketball guy and I always have been since I was 7 years old. I’ve played basketball for as long as I can remember! Through my glory years of high-school, I was traveling 3 nights a week to Melbourne for training and high level state league games (around 2 hours each way). I always love to share my experiences and how I relate that to business life, as I find for many people, business life can be confusing, challenging and a lot of hard work. What I’ve found playing Basketball, is that it can be exactly the same thing.

Today we’re looking at why our business needs to have both an OFFENSIVE Strategy and importantly a DEFENSIVE Strategy.

Now there’s a lot we can learn from the dynamics of how the game of basketball is played and how it can apply to our small business.

There are 3 key things we can take away from any sport, into our business life especially when it comes to playing offence and defence.

1. You need to have a strategy for offence = (winning customers) and defence = (retaining customers) or stopping the other team (competitors) from scoring your points (your potential customers).

2. There needs to be a balance. If you focus all your energy on offence, then it means you have no focus on defence, meaning there’s no plan for retention! No structure in place to keep your customers happy or anything to stop them from going to the other team. Nobody likes losing to the other team, it’s never a fun time. Now if you flip this around and only focus on defence! Sure you may have stopped the other team from scoring points but it also means you’ve stopped scoring your own points. You’re not scoring, Which mean’s you are not growing your business! Which means your business could become stagnate.

3. You need to be adaptable. A good defence will only last so long. Expect the other teams to be watching everything you’re doing, they are analyzing every move you make, re-watching the game tape, looking for holes in your defence, looking for a way to cut through and score. Being adaptable means you need to also need a watchful eye on the other teams, you’ll need to review their moves. This will allow you to make necessary changes on defence should any gaps start show, should your point scoring start to slow down or should you start giving away easy points.

We’ve established that your business needs a strong offence and defence in order to win.

One Challenge I See All To Often.

My main point here is that you need to control what you can control, because that is what will have the biggest impact on your business and strategy.
Can you control competitor promotions? No
Can you control their Pricing?No
Can you control the conversations they have with their leads? No
Special partnerships or integrations? No.
Can you control how you interact with your customers? Yes.
Can you control how you market your business? How people view your brand? Hell yes!
Can your competitors control you! No they can not.

Do I watch my competitors on daily / weekly / monthly basis? Yes indeed!
Do they watch me! Probably! (I would)
Does it bother me? No. Do I get annoyed? No, if anything it will be a compliment to the hard work you are doing.

This game is challenging, and you will need a balance. We need to understand that competition makes us stronger. It forces us to be smarter, think quicker and keep us on our toes.

Do not waste your energy worrying about the things you cannot control. Instead use that energy to plan out a good OFFENCE + strong DEFENCE.

A good game of basketball requires strategy, planning and importantly hours upon hours of practice and repetition. You want to be good at something. Do it 100 times until you can do it with your eyes closed and then do it another 100 times. Michael Jordan was asked once if he thought he was naturally a lucky guy in his career. His response (which I love) “You see the thing is, the more I practice, the more I train my game, the luckier I get”. Solid answer! People make their own luck.  Remember most overnight success stories takes 10 years to build.

If you want a strong offence and defence in YOUR BUSINESS. You need a clear strategy for both. And it will take time, effort, some tweaking and practice to get it right. Yes you may get some things wrong! That’s ok! It’s part of the journey. Persistence is key. Keep your goals in sight at all times.

Now to close the loop on this analogy. You are the coach in your business!
You might have a team of players (employees), trainers (business coach, legal, HR, supplies) and importantly the medical team (people that give you a snapshot of the health of your team or health of your business). It is so important to have people that keep you accountable to your game plan. People that can give you an outsiders perspective on the direction of your team / business or even insights into the other teams. Surround yourself with people that can help your team succeed and win.

Thanks for reading – good luck and I hope to see you win!


Trent Mclaren

Email: Trent_mclaren@intuit.com
Twitter: Trent_mclaren
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