By Cathy Yen
Following OPRF Wrestling's third state championship in as many years, the temptation to draw life lessons is overwhelming – especially from a sport as allegorical as wrestling. But there is much the business world can learn here. The top ten key success factors are all in place.
Like any business, it starts with strong leadership. The organization also managed one of the biggest small business land mines: succession. When Mike Powell handed the reins of head coach to Paul Collins, the program didn't miss a beat. As a result, the people within the organization – the wrestlers and volunteers – have stayed committed.
Our wrestling program tells a story that resonates. A story about training young men in a difficult environment. Now more than ever your customers are interested in your story. What makes your business unique and why should they care? People buy into the story before the product.
Story turns into brand and the wrestlers manage their brand well. They know what they are about and are consistent in their messaging. Liberal but intentional branding through logoed gear reinforces the message. Their loyal tribe of people spreads that message with pride and energy. Newspaper stories only reinforce the message people already have heard and embraced. Smart use of technology, including website and social media binds together story, brand and tribe.
With a strong brand promoted through technology and tribe, resources become available. Access to capital and customer revenue in the form of fundraising, t-shirt sales and even sponsorship provide leverage for the organization. An investor in a large corporation may be interested in only financial return. In a small business, investors and customers want impact as well.
Finally, hard work and focus - the essence of any successful organization. Laser focus on a goal and the willingness to put in the work. The wrestling program has this is spades.
Look around at the small businesses that truly succeed. They embrace these same key factors. And those of you just starting out in business – take a look at the OPRF Wrestling Program. You'll find their offices just past the big trophy case.
Answer Book 2019
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