If you’re like the more than 56 million participants of fantasy football, you’re probably gearing up to start your fantasy draft. But as you’re getting ready for your draft party, you should also take a page out of fantasy football and apply it your business. Here are 12 priceless business lessons you can learn from your fantasy team.
1. Do Your Research
Prior to a fantasy football draft, enthusiasts check out the rankings created by experts, keep up-to-date on player injuries or progress, and even participate in a mock draft so that they can draft the best players possible. Even when the season starts, it’s not uncommon to seek the advice from online forums or personally seek advice from other fantasy players when you want to improve your team.
For businesses, they also need to do their research from defining their audience, knowing their competitors, and how to market their products or services. When all else fails, never hesitate to seek out the advice of a mentor or an industry expert.
2. Don’t Let Your All-Stars Ride the Pine
Let’s say that you have Aaron Rodgers and Nick Foles on your team. Rodgers may have one or two games that aren’t his best. But you wouldn’t bench him in favor of Foles – even if Foles had a couple of excellent games. When push comes to shove, you always have to start your stud players and let them carry your team.
The same can be said in the business world. You have to not only recognize your top talent, you also need to give them the freedom and encouragement to keep them motivated and passionate. Passionate and motivated talent will take your company to the next level.
3. Keep An Eye Out For Rising Stars
Throughout the season there will be players who have a remarkable season. That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on the waiver wire for future superstars. Even if you have an All-Star, you could find a potential running back or wide receiver that could help take your team to the playoffs.
Always keep a lookout for top talent in your company, or even in your industry by checking out job boards or professional networks like LinkedIn. If you’re able to acquire this rising star, you should be able to see your productivity and profits take off.
4. Know When To Hold’em,’ Know When to Fold’em’
A lot can happen between a draft and the football season. For example, your top wide receiver could get injured in the third week of the season. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may have to drop him because he could be out for the rest of the season. A running back that you drafted may have a couple of bad starts, but you may want to hold on to him because he bounces back and is one of the leading RBs in the game.
While the stakes are obviously higher when it comes to your business (maybe!) the idea between knowing when to drop a player in fantasy football or hold onto them is relatively the same. Do you keep a team member if they’re underperforming? Or, do you stick with them because you realize that the potential is there? You need to have a process in place to help you make these difficult decisions.
5. Look At the Data
If you’re into fantasy football, you probably notice that the same players are ranked in the top 10 or 20 year after year. Why? Because they’ve proven during the previous seasons to be the top players in the game. However, if that player is dealing with an injury or has joined a new team, they may not be as productive. You also have to realize which players have the potential to have break-out seasons.
As business owners, you have to analyze as much data as possible so that you can stay ahead of your competitors. This means looking at past data for consistency, taking into account any changes, and using data to predict the future.
6. Be Fair, Ethically, and Firm When Making Trades
If you want to make any improvement on your team, trading is one of the best ways to accomplish this. However, there’s an art to making trade offers. You have to be fair and give-up players for the players that you want. For example, you wouldn’t offer a third-string running back and back-up quarterback on the Jaguars for Peyton Manning. You also you have to be ethical. For example, there used to be two players named Adrian Peterson in the league. If you knowingly traded the AP who was on the Bears because someone in your league didn’t know that there were two AP’s, that’s completely unethically. However, you also have to be firm when it comes to trades. If you received that offer for Manning you would decline that offer immediately.
When negotiating deals for your business, you have to be fair, ethical, and also realize that you may have to budge a little more than you anticipated so that both parties are pleased.
7. Separate Personal Bias
It can be tough to separate personal bias when it comes to fantasy. For example, a 49ers fan may have to put their bias aside during the draft because Jimmy Graham is available. It would be almost foolish to select the best player available because they’re on a rival team. At the same time, you wouldn’t give up Calvin Johnson and Matt Forte for Roddy White because you’re a huge Falcons fan.
In business, you also have to set aside personal feelings when it comes the best interest of the business. You may not care personally for a vendor or client, but if they are great at what they do and always deliver on-time, for the business, you must take a close look. It wouldn’t make sense to dissolve that relationship because your personal feelings are getting in the way of logic. At the same time, you shouldn’t hire a friend because they’re your friend. They may not have the talent and skills to help your business move forward.
8. Add Depth
Players are bound to either get hurt or underperform throughout the season. That’s why it’s important that your fantasy team has depth. For example, you could ‘handcuff’ players together, like a pair of running backs on the same team. This way if a player doesn’t play, you already have his replacement on your team.
In the workplace, you’re going to have times when employees get sick or have to deal with an emergency. While that will impact your productivity, if you have a talented team that can pick up the slack when someone isn’t in the office for the day, productivity won’t suffer as badly.
9. Identify Issues Before They Happen
Whether it’s having depth on your team or keeping up with player updates, you should always be thinking several steps ahead when it comes to fantasy football. For example, if you read that your starting wide receiver has been dealing with trough toe, then you should be eyeing up the waiver wire or taking a long peek at your bench for a starting WR.
You have to address any problems in the office before they arise. Whether that’s making sure that all team members are on the same page, having an emergency backup and keeping everyone in the look, you don’t want to be caught off-guard when the worst case scenario happens. In short, you always want to have a contingency plan.
10. There Will Be Trade-offs
During the course of the season, you may see one of your offensive players face your defense. It’s also common for your opponent to have Aaron Rodgers and you have Randall Cobb. So while you would want Cobb to score several touchdown passes, you also don’t want Aaron Rodgers to keep throwing TDs. But if he is, they should be going to Cobb.
When it comes to your business, you have to consider opportunity cost. If you decide to market your business on Twitter, you may be neglecting your Facebook audience. However, your Twitter followers are more likely to convert, so you’re willing to live with that tradeoff.
11. Look For Partnerships
If you don’t know who to draft or pickup on the waiver wire, then look for players that are not only on great teams, but players that are catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning Tom Brady. Even if they’re not Pro Bowl players, they’re working with some of the top players in the game. But which of these players are trying to make strategic partnerships? Rodgers is trying out numerous receivers to find out whom he can count on for a partnership pass.
Want to succeed in business? You have to form strategic partnerships to help you gain new customers or exposure, increase credibility, and build your business overall. You just have to find the right partners, think of Uber partnering with Spotify, that can help expand your business.
12. Healthy Competition Is All Right
Fantasy football is all about competing with the other people in your individual set up – and even a little smack talking is expected. In fact, this is so commonplace that FX created a show, “The League,” that involves a group of friends heavily competing against each other during the football season.
There’s nothing wrong with competition in the workplace. It can bring out the best in employees and even drive them to reach their full potential. Just keep the smack talking to a minimal, you don’t want to cross any lines.