There’s at least one way that any small business owner can be just like the greatest football coaches of all time: you have to have a plan! In the highest competitive levels of sports, there’s only one possible outcome if you go into a game without a plan: you’re going to lose. The plan is…

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In 18 seasons with the NFL, I won more than I lost. But, like everyone else who plays professional football, I lost a lot. In far more years as an entrepreneur, I’ve achieved plenty of successes. Behind every one of them was a failure. Often more than one. Some of the failures were altogether mine,…

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Before you can own your failure, you first have to know what you’re failing at. True knowledge is a start, not an end. It is a question, not an answer. When Walmart’s Sam Walton or Home Depot’s Bernie Marcus sought meaningful and productive knowledge, they did not attend a seminar, assemble a committee, convene a…

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Sometimes a business idea comes from a passion. There’s something you love, you’re completely immersed in it, and it becomes a business. The whole idea of the gurus who say, “Do what you love,” and “Follow your passion” comes from this path. But that’s not the only way to start a business. That’s never really…

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Like a quarterback, an entrepreneur works in a cycle of success-failures-success. In business, this cycle parallels the innovate-fail-innovate rhythm found throughout much of today’s business environment, especially among enterprises introducing new products and services or new approaches to established products and services. The upside of our new Networked Information Economy is tremendous opportunity. That’s why…

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For me, the 1955 high school football season and state championship was special for urgent personal reasons. At fifteen, during my junior year, we had a tackling drill in which I separated my shoulder. I probably should not have played again until my shoulder had healed, but I didn’t think about not playing. I just…

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None of us ever has an original idea. Everything we know and think of ultimately comes from what we see, what we read, and what we hear. So what better way is there to get new ideas than to go out and engage with more people, more sources of information? During my NFL career, I…

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You get your customers to come back more often to buy more and occasionally pay more by constantly providing them with relevant benefits (through your products, your service, and the total customer experience with your business) that are differentiated from all competitive options. That’s it. That’s how to succeed in business. Relevant needs drive half…

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We might like to believe otherwise, but the reality is that things don’t always go smoothly. Whether you’re just starting out, or have been in business for decades, no matter how successful you are or what you do, there are surprises waiting around the corner, obstacles for you to overcome, and problems to solve. So…

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To succeed in business, you need to see the signs. The signs are reality. It’s true in business the same way that it is true in sports, relationships, or any other part of life. But what does it mean to see the signs in business? What should you be looking for? On the one hand,…

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