Greenwood: Supplier vs. Partner?

Business is a lot like golf. Both require the discipline, decision-making skills and focus to make your financial target a short putt for par.

During the “lazy, hazy” days of summer, I’m sure you’re getting in many rounds at a more profitable sport than golf? By that, I mean never-ending rounds of business decisions. So what did you learn this year?

Maybe you’ll see here how the disciplines required in golf parallel the disciplines required to operate a successful shop. Consider the following:

  • As you approach the tee, you must study the layout of, say, a par-4 hole and make a judgment call about which club to pull from your bag to effectively master its challenge. In business, you must study the layout of your marketplace and determine which value you need to adopt to make you distinctly different with your clientele.
  • After your tee shot, and as you’re walking toward your ball, you’ve got to constantly judge the remaining distance to the green, then study your exact lie before taking the second shot. In business, you’ve got to constantly keep an eye on the changing industry and your local marketplace as you proceed through the year to meet your goals. And you always have to be aware of your exact placement in your market.
  • Let’s say you’re now in a position to take a chip shot and a one-putt to save par. The chip shot must be executed so that it gets you within a foot or two of the pin on the small green. You decide to concentrate on shortening your grip on the pitching wedge, and smoothly follow through on your third shot. Similarly, your business demands that you fine-tune your sales mix, gross profit and expense numbers so that you can focus on creating the net profit you desire. After making your choices, follow through with your decision without hesitation, or you could miss your target net income.
  • When your ball stops two-and-a-half feet from the hole, you draw on your past experiences because you’ve been here before. This time it looks as if the green breaks slightly to the right. You approach the ball, adjust your angle and focus clearly on your purpose, shutting out of your mind all outside distractions. You follow through with a smooth, precise putt, and your ball rolls into the center of the cup. You’ve judged the putt just right. Way to go! You made par.

Your business also requires you to make important judgment calls from time to time, and it’s imperative that you call upon your past experiences so as to not repeat the mistakes you made before. Give your decision-making process total focus to create the desired net profit, and, to reach your goal, demonstrate the discipline to ignore outside distractions that would make you miss your objective. Congratulations, the effort paid off, your profit is growing.

Slow down and bring to your business the same disciplines you use playing golf. The results could be outstanding, which would give you more time to enjoy the greatest summer game ever invented.