During the recent US Masters Golf Tournament it was hard not to be struck by the many similarities the game of golf has with business. The golfer is the product, they hire people such as agents and so many of its subtleties are quite metaphorical for many aspects of entrepreneurship. Above all every golfer would testify that this is a dream come true; they love playing golf, they are good at it and they get to do it full time as a career.
Business Lesson 1: Work at something you are good at and love doing (why not?).
There was one point in the tournament where the eventual runner up Louis Oosthuizen putt to within, what was described as, “a dimble from the hole”. Each golf ball has approx 400 dimples per ball and when you consider the size of a ball it will give you some appreciation for how near the ball was to dropping. He still had to putt it into the hole and it counted for one stroke. In contrast Bubba Watson who went on to win, hits one of the longest drives on the PGA tour averaging 313 yards per drive and they also count for one stroke. Watson had the elation of success and Oosthuizen had to settle for second place and bitter disappointment; if only for that dimple.
Business Lesson 2: Celebrate your wins; success and failure is a very fine line and move on quickly from disappointments.
Drives and putts also need to be considered, not in isolation, but in the context of a round. The average social golfer hits 14 drives per round but approx 50 putts. Putting seems a lot easier than driving but it is where the most errors occur. Yet if you go to your local driving range you will see everybody whacking drives until their arms fall off. Ask a professional and they consistently say work on the short game (chipping and putting).
Business Lesson 3: Focus on what will have the greatest immediate impact on your business (the low hanging fruit).
Golf is hugely competitive but so too is the game of business. Irrespective of what you do there are other people out there doing the exact same, so why will you succeed over them? There’s a very fine line between success and failure and golf certainly testifies to that at every tournament where 80 – 100 players tee off at the beginning and literally anyone of them is capable of winning. Your business is no different.