If there's one thing that has been consistent throughout the years, it is my love of the Dallas Cowboys. Over the past few years, it has been really difficult to be a fan but I've continued because that's my team and will always been my team, win or lose. Even though it is my team, I've always been honest about them. If my team is mediocre or pathetic, I will call them out on that (About 1 year ago, I did) but I cautiously say this year feels different.
*PLEASE NOTE: I use “we” and “us” because I do feel as if I'm part of the team. Fan is short for fanatic.
I will enjoy the regular season and the success that we have experienced and get ready for the playoff but just like last year, I decided to put together something for entrepreneurs and business owners to learn. Here's some good things entrepreneurs and business owners can take from this year's Dallas Cowboys.
- Stay the course – If there's one thing I can say about Owner/GM/President (Any other titles?) Jerry Jones is that he's stayed the course with Jason Garrett. I was not a Jason Garrett fan and I'm still a little skeptical. He says all the right things but I just believed that he was missing something. After clinching a playoff spot in Week 16, Garrett said “We're playing for bigger things.” That's something you like to hear from your head coach. Even though it is a great accomplishment after so many years of being 8-8 for the Cowboys to finally reach the playoffs, it's even better to hear that the coach isn't satisfied. He preaches things like consistency and being your best every day. Good for Jerry Jones staying with Garrett when so many others (myself included) were pleading for him to fire Garrett. Entrepreneurs and business owners must have the same mindset. Running a business is a marathon not a sprint. It takes years and years before a business becomes successful. It took years and years before the Cowboys made it over the hump. While it might look to an outside observer that success just happened, it was years of good habits and great drafting that led the Cowboys to this point. Much of the same is true in business. Making a decision today, can have an impact upon your business years down the line.
- Execute the hell out of your plan – Before the season I spoke with my friend and said that there's only one way we could win and that still lies true. After having a historically bad defense, my friend laughed because we cut our best defensive player DeMarcus Ware and then our best linebacker Sean Lee's season was ended during training camp. With all of that, we decided to draft an Offensive Lineman. I simply told him that the only way it would work and the Cowboys would win is to run the football. If we control the time of possession and keep the defense off the field, then we have a chance to win. I didn't think this season would be good as it has been but that's why we have won. Devoting so many first round picks to our Offensive Line was I believe part of a plan that the Cowboys executed very well. There was a scare that we might end up with Johnny Football but I'm glad we stayed true to our plan. That decision is paying dividends. For entrepreneurs and business owners, there's a plan that you put in place (or should have, if not, get started on your business plan) so execute on that plan. Don't be influenced by outside factors. Just execute your plan. Yes, you can pivot and adjust you plan but do it because you have to change not because you are following trends or doing what's popular. If your plan includes pay-per click advertising, then execute on that and don't start doing Facebook Ads because someone suggested it. If you are building your foundation through networking, then continue to do that until you reach the goal you set. The best teams and the best businesses play to their strengths. Businesses (and football teams) have strengths and weaknesses and the key is to identify your strengths and advantages as early as possible and execute on them.
- Build a Foundation – I wrote a little about the strength of the Cowboys being the offensive line and with a 34 year old QB it was very important that the Cowboys built that foundation and took some pressure off of Tony Romo. The game is won in the trenches and that appears to be what the Cowboys have tried to rebuild and strengthen through the draft and free agency. It made it easier on DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo and even the defense. When starting and establishing your business it is very important to build and lay a foundation. Depending on the amount of startup capital, you may not be able to build the ideal foundation on Day 1 but it's important to take step after step with the goal of laying a strong foundation for decades (if that's your goal).
- Fight – Successful people fight for their teammates. Fight for their goals. Fight to be their best. (#finishthefight). This was the motto for the Dallas Cowboys this season going into Training Camp. The team even got into a fight with the Oakland Raiders during a joint practice. The point as Jason Garrett said is that anyone who has accomplished anything great has had to fight and the Cowboys so far have put up a fight. Things have not been perfect but they have persevered in games and it has made them a stronger and more mentally tough team. Business is not perfect and even though it is glamorized, it can be very difficult and people can be cutthroat. It's important to remember that the successful people fight for their business and fight to make sure it succeeds. You only fail when you quit. If you keep going and keep fighting for what you want, then you and your business can be successful. As Will Smith said, “He is not afraid to die on a treadmill” and you shouldn't be afraid either. Keep working and don't quit.