Yes, I am going to shamelessly use my husband’s team (UB Men’s Basketball) tournament win last night to compare business with athletics. Often, I think there is no better example.

Here’s where I am coming from:


“Jeenathan Williams clearly outlined the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team’s strategy when it came to preparing for overtime in a playoff game.
Throw the first punch.”

Before the game, the coaches spent hours strategizing and coming up with a plan, considering the best strategies needed to beat Akron’s strong and talented team. With each time out, half-time (or overtime) break, a new plan was created.

Would you even consider launching a new venture, product or service without creating your own strategy? Of course, you would take into account your own business’ strengths and weaknesses along with those of your competitors to come up with your winning game plan. Hopefully, you adjust and create a specific action plan every quarter.


Athletics –
The players never go it alone. They have coaches, trainers, and educational support people to help them on their tough and intensive journeys as student-athletes.

Business –
Who has your back in your work? Family, friends, associates, employees? Accountability partners, complementary business referral partners, coaches? Make sure you are not going on this business development journey by yourself.


“We owned our problems instead of looking the other way, and just said, ‘look, we’ve got to keep playing through.’ Each week, we got better.”

Athletics –
The team comes to play and to execute the plan. They practice regularly to build on their strengths. The beginning of any game incorporates the established strategies immediately. They take 100% ownership for their problems, challenges, and results.

Business –
As business owners, we do the same. Our “practice” often looks like consistent marketing and continuous learning. Our “games” are the conversations we have with potential clients and customers. We are responsible for everything that happens in our work.


“We weren’t at full speed in December and we started playing better, and lost a heartbreaker at Syracuse, then we got hit with Covid, so then you almost have to go back to ground zero and start over again,” UB coach Jim Whitesell said. “We lost some close games and I told the guys, we’re not that far away but we’ve got to improve. We’ve got to improve in three areas: defensively, our transition defense and our ball screening. And win-lose, guarding your man. And getting more quality possessions. Moving the ball and upping our assist level. The guys really responded to it.”

Athletics –
Who could have predicted that a pandemic would have had such an impact on all areas of our lives and a team’s season (multiple ones)?

During any season – When it’s game day, guess what? The other team has been studying your team too! They have an answer to certain called plays and players’ strengths. Adjustments to the plan typically are needed pretty quickly in a game. That’s why backup strategies are created and why players often have to think quickly on their feet.

Business –
As business owners, we often face unexpected opportunities and challenges. To be successful, we don’t give up. We adjust, we get creative, and we think quickly on our feet.

* * * * *

⚡️The team has now won 10 or its last 11 games and will be playing for the Mid-American Conference Championship tonight. ⚡️

As a business owner, I bet Covid had an impact on your work too. How did you respond? Did it work? Do you need to pivot and try something new?

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if what you are doing in business no longer makes sense to continue, shift and use your talents, experiences, and knowledge to create something new and powerful in the world.

Good luck to you as you engage in your own championship tournament!

Here is the full local article on last night’s game. See how many comparisons you can make to business in just this one athletic event.