Billionaire and well-known entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, often compares being an entrepreneur to a sport. In fact, in his interviews you’ll often hear him refer to it as the “toughest sport there is.” He talks about the competition of being an entrepreneur and how somebody is always trying to “kick your butt.” This got me to thinking, if entrepreneurship really is a sport, what position do I play? What sport? Well, I broke it down so you too could figure out which ball (or puck, hockey fans) you would be using.
The “Sport” of Being an Entrepreneur: What Position Do You Play?
The Rookie Quarterback – Ahhhhh, the rookie quarterback. He just finished having the most successful season in his college’s history and was drafted in the very first round of the National Football League Draft. The kid is seriously talented, however, can he bring it all together to be a superstar in the big leagues? Only time will tell.
The “rookie” entrepreneur is someone who is at the beginning of their entrepreneurial career, but it’s evident they have the talent to do big things. They are still learning and should they understand the importance of continuing to grow and learn how to be in business, those big things are going to come to fruition. An entrepreneur who is just starting out needs to be “studying film,” so to speak, and continuing to educate and learn what it takes to be successful in business. In a few years they are either going to find themselves at the helm of one or more businesses or they may find themselves out of business. Again, time will tell.
The Basketball Point Guard – The facilitator. The man involved with all the different players. He spreads the ball around. He brings the ball up court every play and then dishes it off to the various other players. Maybe one play he goes down low to his center or maybe he passes it to the open 3-point shooter. The point guard doesn’t just hone in on one player, he spreads the ball around.
The point guard entrepreneur is all about spreading his time to various businesses. He isn’t involved in just one company, he has multiple. He is a “serial entrepreneur,” as these types of business men and women are commonly referred to as. Being a point guard entrepreneur has it’s ups and downs. The upside is fairly obvious in that being involved with multiple businesses can potentially be quite lucrative and fulfilling, however, if you end up becoming involved in too many businesses, you’re asking for trouble, because you could find your time is spread too thing. After all, we all have the same 24 hours in a day and you can only successfully operate so many companies on your own. But if you are delegating and doing what’s necessary to make sure the little things are always accounted for in each business, you can do quite well for yourself in this role.
The Hockey Goalie – Protect the net with your life is the job of a hockey goaltender. You have one job to do, one focus to keep, and that is doing everything you can to make sure the puck stays successfully out of the net. If that means standing in front of a 100 mph slap shot then so be it. The goalie is loyal and will throw his limbs in front of dangerous situations just to make sure his team succeeds.
The goalie entrepreneur can be defined as the guy who has one single business focus and he is literally going to do everything in his power to make that company as successful as possible. He doesn’t want to be involved with any other companies, he wants to spend 100 hours a week growing this single company and will do virtually anything, even taking the hard “shots,” to make sure it makes a lot of money and is successful. He is going to be loyal to this business through the good and bad times and plans to see it through no matter what ends up being the result of the business, good or bad. The goalie entrepreneur is going to do everything they can to make the save for their business time and time again.
Perennial All-Star 1st Baseman – He just always gets it done. He may not always be the absolute best player, but every single year the perennial all-star 1st baseman gets plenty of homeruns, RBI’s, along with a solid batting average. He is reliable and you can count on him to be consistent year in and year out. He may not even be the most talented player at times, but how he takes care of his body, his preparation for the pitchers he will be facing, and his dedication make him someone you always want on your team.
The perennial all-star 1st baseman entrepreneur is very similar to the analogy of the player described above. These entrepreneurs don’t seem like they are making a splash and may even be a bit under the radar at times, but one thing is for sure, they are somewhere getting the job done. That’s what they do, get it done. With each passing year, the business or businesses they operate are consistently successful. It may not be Amazon or Walmart, but this entrepreneur’s company is successful in its own right and generates solid revenues year in and year out. Another thing about these guys is they understand that failure is a part of the game. You can’t always hit a home run every time you step to the plate, but if you can keep your averages high enough and make a big hit here and there, your business is going to be fruitful over time.
The Steroid User – Which brings us to the steroid user. Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and the list goes on. Some might argue that the achievements of these players are nothing but fake. They were achieved by cheating and injecting illegal substances into your body in order to achieve the levels of success in which they did. Maybe they would have been great players regardless, we’ll never know. One thing is for sure, they can be described as fake.
The steroid user in entrepreneurial terms could also be described as the “fake-preneur.” This is the guy that talks a huuuuge game, but has nothing to back it up. This is the guy that supposedly “owns 3 companies, is on track to be a millionaire by the end of the year, and had lunch last week with Jay-Z.” You can often times identify these fake-preneurs early in a conversation because they will be doing everything in their power from the get-go of the conversation to let you know just how great they are. The reality is the only thing they’ve done is have business cards made with their self-proclaimed CEO title plastered all over them and they spend their days handing them out with the best accompanying store humanly possible. They will never be true entrepreneurs. If you are any type of a people reader, you’ll be poking a pin in these people’s balloon pretty quickly. Nobody likes a fake steroid user and nobody likes a fake-preneur.
The Coach’s Son – How can we not mention the coach’s son? He gets more playing time than the best player on the team! Everyone knows he shouldn’t be the running back, but yet he gets the ball almost every play. He is voted captain by, surprise surprise, his father, the coach! Nobody is too happy about it but this guy has been the coach for 16 years and is best friends with the league president. In other words, his son is going to play the entire game, win or lose.
The coach’s son entrepreneur is the one who you graduated with that couldn’t even pass 10th grade math class. Now? Well, his extremely rich dad made him president of one of his companies and you work at that same company. He isn’t qualified in the least, he didn’t earn it, has no real business skills, but his dad makes the rules, so he gets to play regardless of what anyone else thinks. And he gets to play the most important position, too. You’re upset that you have to take orders from someone that knows less about business than you do and it’s frustrating. Sorry, pal, that is part of being an employee and being the employer, I guess that is why I choose the latter!
So, what position do you play? I would describe myself as a point guard entrepreneur and while I am not a rookie, I am probably only about a third year player. Entrepreneurship is thrilling and the competition, as Mark Cuban attests, can be ruthless at times. Either you are cut out to play the sport or you’re not. Either you have the talent or you don’t. And if you don’t have the talent, just like sports, you better make up for it with some serious work ethic and preparation! Bottom line, I love being an entrepreneur. Oh, and one thing is for sure, I’m not a steroid user and I’m not the coach’s son!