With 23 players selected ahead of him in the 2008 NFL Draft, including a number of running backs, Chris Johnson came into his rookie season with the Tennessee Titans with a big chip on his seemingly small shoulders. Over the next two years Johnson has proven that those shoulders are much broader than 23 other NFL franchises realized on Draft Day back in 2008.
Entering the 2010 NFL season Chris Johnson is coming off of a record breaking season in 2009. Chris Johnson broke Marshall Faulk’s record of total yards from scrimmage (both running & receiving) with 2,509 total yards. Johnson also joined 5 other running backs in the NFL history books as 1 of 6 players to rush over 2,000 yards. Looked at as undersized running back who probably wouldn’t be anything more than a specialty player in the NFL because of his size, Chris Johnson is showing everyone just how broad his shoulders are, as he intends to carry the Tennessee Titans to a Super Bowl Championship in 2010.
Watching Chris Johnson run and understanding his story it’s easy to see a number of parallels to successful small businesses. In this post we are going to highlight three aspects of Chris Johnson’s game that makes him so successful. We are then going to show you how Chris Johnson’s traits are mirrored in successful small businesses. There are many small businesses out there who are already the Chris Johnson of their local communities. For those of you who want to take your small business to Chris Johnson status you should find this post both refreshing and informative.
The three characteristics that define Chris Johnson’s success as a running back in the NFL are:
- Constant Improvement
Fearless Businesses Thrive
Chris Johnson might just be the very best player in one of the toughest sports in the world. A trait that all successful NFL players must posses is fearlessness. In a game where 200 – 300 lbs players are running around at speeds that would make sprinters marvel, only the strong survive. The strong survive and the most fearless thrive. Chris Johnson takes on competitors two and three times his size and he’s not afraid to both get hit and deliver hits of his own. Chris Johnson doesn’t let one bad play or one big hit take him out of his game. He gets back up and goes at it even harder the next time. Playing without fear allows Johnson to try new things, take on bigger defenders, and get up after being knocked down. The same things can be said for successful small businesses.
Small businesses that thrive in today’s economic environment are fearless. There are a number of reasons why businesses might be fearful today; economic & political uncertainty, increased taxes, big drops in consumer spending, and the list goes on. The businesses that we see thriving today are the ones who don’t let those fears creep in. The know they offer great value in their products & services and they are constantly on the lookout for new ways to educate their customers & prospects. Successful small business owners aren’t afraid to fail, yet they are smart enough to ensure that any failures are small failures that can be learned from. Businesses of tomorrow will be the ones who exhibit no fear in moving through these rough times and continue to get up after being knocked down.
Creativity Drives Success
For those of you who have not heard of Chris Johnson until now and even for those who have, you have to check out the highlight video below. On a number of his plays you will see his creativity in how he moves down the field with the football. He makes a lot of people miss tackles against him. For those of you who don’t like hip-hop music, please turn the volume on the YouTube video player down.
As you can see from the video, Chris Johnson is pretty incredible to watch. He does things that not many other running backs can do or have even attempted. This creativity allows Johnson to excel as a running back in the NFL. He’s always looking for an angle; a way to beat his competition. Creativity is a KEY to Chris Johnson’s success, as it is a key to the success of small businesses.
Small businesses MUST be creative in the way they approach running their business, creating products & services, and especially their marketing. Being creative can help you stand out from your competitors. As you may know from reading some of our other blog articles we are big believers in creativity. We always say that a strong strategy, the right tools, and a little creativity breeds success. We think Chris Johnson would agree.
Get out there and host your own fashion show, run a foursquare Christmas promotion, or partner with local businesses to create value for local residents. Do something that will help you achieve your goals while engaging your customers & prospects. You must take advantage of the many online tools that are available for free and develop creative promotions to run through those tools. By being fearless and getting creative you can blow right past those bigger, and seemingly stronger, competitors!
Compete, Analyze, Improve, Repeat
Ask any successful NFL player and many will tell you that 80% of his success is due to how he prepares for games with only 20% coming from raw talent. Throughout the weeks and months (and even during the off season) NFL players like Chris Johnson are working to improve their game. They do this through technique training, strength & conditioning training, and especially film study. The process is usually prepare, compete, analyze, improve, and go after it again! Chris Johnson does this better than most. He uses the film room to see what he did well during games and what he can improve on. He also studies his competition to understand what their weaknesses are. He then goes out game after game trying to improve on his last performance by trying new things and exploiting his competition’s weak links. Successful small businesses do the EXACT SAME THING.
Successful small businesses are always looking for feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. Positive feedback reinforces the good things that they are doing and can be used to promote their offerings to new potential customers. Negative feedback allows them the opportunity to improve their offerings and turn a frustrated customer into an advocate.
When successful small businesses run creative marketing promotions they are always pushing the envelope and finding ways to capture feedback. Their film study comes in the form of customer feedback and they know there are ways to elicit that feedback from customers & their community. Each time they hear from a customer they analyze the feedback, make any necessary improvements, and then they go after it again! This process allows small businesses to thrive in today’s economic environment.
If you didn’t know Chris Johnson before reading this post, hopefully you do now. You see number 28 for the Tennessee Titans is much more than a great NFL running back, he is a symbol for success in anything you do. Whether you own a small restaurant, walk dogs, run a local gym, or operate your own jewelery store you can learn how become a successful small business by watching Chris Johnson run.