It’s March and that means only one thing – It’s March Madness time.

From high school state basketball playoffs to college basketball tournaments, March is a crazy time with lots and lots of basketball. Even if you are not a fan, you can learn a great deal from watching basketball as a business owner. Here are the Elite Eight tips you can use for your business:

    1. Be a great coach – As a business owner, it’s your job to inspire, motivate, teach and share your vision. Part of being a great coach is communicating with your team and teaching them how to handle any situation, whether it is being down 9 points with 4 minutes left to play or the computer freezes and goes blank with two hours before the presentation is due. As the owner, your tone sets the climate for your business. If you are negative, it will carry on to your team.
    2. Pick a good point guard – There is always one employee who can lead the team. This employee is the one who takes charge and directs fellow team members what needs to be done. Make sure the point guard is a team player. If you watch enough basketball, you will notice the difference between winning and losing teams and their point guards. A losing team has a point guard who tries to carry the team on his or her back and doesn’t trust passing the ball to another player. A losing team’s point guard argues with his or her fellow players. You will notice bickering on the court. A winning point guard’s team does the opposite. Trust his teammates. Knows when to pass the ball and when to take the shoot. Motivates and inspires.
    3. Have a game plan. Just as a good coach knows when it’s time to play man-to-man defense or zone defense, a good business owner has a good game plan for how to handle business demands, attract new customers, increase sales, motivate employees and meet deadlines. Make sure to communicate your game plan with your employees so they are on board.
    4. Defensive strategy – As a business owner, you need to make sure you have a strong defense. If a customer rips your business apart on social media or you are dealing with shoplifters, make sure you have a defensive plan in place to handle any negative situation.
    5. Pick your teams with some thought. Ask several of your friends how they filled out their March Madness Bracket and you might get answers varying from “I picked the teams I liked” to “I picked only the highest ranked teams.” The reason is it called March Madness is because anything can happen – A number one ranked team is defeated by a Cinderella or 9th ranked team. As a business owner, it may be easier to hire your best friend from high school or the person who has an Ivy League degree buy you need to ask yourself are they really the best members for your team. Take care when hiring employees and give thought to who will help advance your business goals and who works well together.
    6. Know each players’ skills – When a winning basketball coach puts five players on the court, he knows exactly what to expect of each player. As a business owner, you should know who is great at organizing behind the scenes and who is a good public speaker and who you can send in to close a deal. A good coach will switch in and out players depending on what’s needed during a game. As a business owner, you should know your employees’ strengths.
    7. Adjust to the unexpected – Just as in basketball, things don’t always go as planned in your business. Be ready to adjust to whatever may happen. Know what events are happening in your town so you can make sure you are ready to handle increased business.
    8. Win or lose graciously. One day, you may be winning awards and clients, the next day, may not be so great. In business and in sports, it’s always important to have great sportsmanship. Treat your competitors and your clients with respect. Remember to be gracious and say thank you. Just as a team can be on top one day, the next it can be losing to a Cinderella team. And in business, you need to remember you are always in the game – day in and day out.


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