facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause

Sports and Business

There are lot of parallels between the world of professional sports and running a business. Many business lessons can be learned from past achievements or setbacks in the sporting world. Below is an interesting case coming from the sport of boxing and how it ties directly into today’s business environment.

After seven years as a professional boxer Carl Daniels achieved his lifelong dream on June 16th, 1995 when he won a twelve round unanimous decision against Julio Cesar Green to win a world title belt in the super welterweight division.

However the win did not bring Daniels a lot of accolades in the boxing community. He had already lost to the man who held the other belts in the division in Terry Norris and thus his claim as being the best in that weight class fell upon deaf ears.

In addition Daniels’ fight against Green was not necessarily a highly anticipated fight and therefore did not bring a big payday to Daniels.

To earn that big payday Daniels would need to first prove himself against a viable contender. That contender would come in the form of former super welterweight champion Julio Cesar Vasquez.

A win against Vasquez would all but assure Daniels of getting a big name next time out. The names Felix Trinidad and even Oscar De La Hoya were possibilities. With that big name opponent would not only come a great opportunity but a massive payday for Daniels.

The fight with Vasquez would take place on December 16th, 1995.

Vasquez was known as a dangerous puncher who was very plodding and slow on his feet. Daniels had a significant speed advantage and needed to keep the fight at range behind his jab.

In the early going Daniels’ speed proved to much for Vasquez. The fight was easy for Daniels and he even knocked Vasquez down in the third round. Weary though of Vasquez’s power Daniels did not go after his hurt opponent seeking to end the fight and instead stuck to boxing at a safe range.

After ten rounds Daniels had put on a masterclass performance and was well ahead on all judge’s scorecards. Just two rounds stood between Daniels and life changing money.

The eleventh round opened as the others that preceded with Daniels boxing behind his jab and keeping his distance. But Daniels inched a bit too close to Vasquez while at the same time briefly dropping his right hand. Vasquez looped a left that landed flush on the exposed chin of Daniels. And that was it, the fight was over and Vasquez was champion.

It can be a long and grueling path just to get a business started. Even after being up and operational the rewards are not necessarily present at the start. But as time goes on and the vision starts to become a reality the fruits of all that labor begin to become evident.

As part of the journey to success many businesses bring upon employees that are essential to the business. As time passes these employees basically become necessary to the everyday operations of the business.

Many business owners come to realize when it’s too late just how essential some employees are to the business. Maybe it’s a key salesperson or someone who essentially runs all the administrative functions of the business. And then one day they announce they are leaving to go to a competitor. It’s like suffering a knockout blow just when the business seemed to be taking off.

The good news is there are creative solutions out there that we have tailored for our clients. For example what if a key employee were offered a long term cash vesting arrangement that was paid for by the employer that would fully vest only if the employee stayed for a certain time frame? Would that employee not then be incentivized to stay around until at least that policy vests? Most likely the answer is yes and that solves the big issue of retaining key talent.

Carl Daniels worked hard for seven years to live his dream of becoming a champion. Winning the title was like launching his business. Once launched the goal was clear. This is prizefighting after all and the big money fight was within his reach.

But after things were going his way he got complacent for just a moment and was hit with a punch he never saw coming. And it all ended.

As a business owner it’s important to be proactive in retaining key talent. Remember Carl Daniels had an opportunity in round three to be proactive and end the fight. Daniels didn’t and played it safe which seemed fine for awhile until he made the slightest mistake that ended the dream of getting that big payday.

Being proactive as well as not being complacent is essential to retaining key talent. It just takes one mistake that is often not seem coming to knock out the hopes and dreams of a once successful business.