Tennis and Small Business

Latest posts by Joel Welsh (see all)

I’m a tennis player. Well, let me rephrase … I play tennis. I played last night as a matter of fact. Two hours of singles against guys younger than me. Not bad for a dude with a titanium hip. At this point in my tennis “career” it’s extremely important for me to understand what my strengths and weaknesses are. You’re all alone out there on the court. The dusty court baking in the extreme summer heat … oh wait, sorry about that … I was dreaming again for a moment.

My strength is NOT mobility. Good to know. My strength IS my power rocket flat serve!! I need to win points with my next shot because if my opponent gets it back over the net, I might not get to it, even though the ball may be just a few steps away. No long rallies for me. Hit it extremely hard and hope that the ball stays in play. If it doesn’t, oh well, I would’ve lost the point anyway by playing it safe & keeping the ball on the court.

Ah yes, here come the inevitable “sports is life” analogy: Running a small business is EXACTLY like tennis. Ok, not exactly, but let’s see if we can draw some sort of brilliant revelation out of this. As a small business, you’re going to be strong, very strong, in something. It’s the whole reason that you can be in business in the first place. But you’re small, so you’re going to have weaknesses too.

Figure those out and play to your strength. Your weakness may be that you’re more expensive than a larger company competitor. You just cannot compete on price. So make certain that you DON’T compete on your weakness, price, and you DO play to win using your strength, quality.

I’m hitting the baseball batting cage tomorrow afternoon. Get ready for some more super smart “aha” moments from me on Monday.

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