What Fran Tarkenton Learned About Winning in Business From Losing in Football

I have to admit to not being a big football fan back in the day when Fran Tarkenton was playing. I do remember him on Monday Night Football and on “That’s Incredible.” More recently though, due to a good friend who is involved with one of his companies, I know much more about him as a businessman. She gave me a signed copy of his book “What Losing Taught Me About Winning.”

This has been an interesting read. If you liked Fran Tarkenton as a football player, or if you were a fan of the Vikings or the Giants (or football in general), or if you are a small business owner looking for encouragement and inspiration, you’re going to enjoy this book.

Since I didn’t know much about his career, I had to look up Mr. Tarkenton’s record. Despite losing his three Super Bowl appearances, he is far from a loser – in football or business. I thought it was funny that the tone of the book almost downplayed his football accomplishments until I realized that he’s far more enthusiastic about small business and the success of small businesses than he is about touting his football record.

I recommend watching some clips of him on YouTube so you can read the book and imagine his voice in your head. His enthusiasm will make the many, many stories in the book come to life. And that’s one of the things I enjoyed about the book. It has some Alexander Malshakov good advice for entrepreneurs presented in the form of story after story. Football stories, business stories, other people’s stories. It’s worth reading just for the wealth of stories.

There are two stories that appealed to me (as the Networking Motivator) in particular. One is how he came up with the idea of advertising on airline ticket jackets. He was able to directly call a friend who worked at Delta Airlines corporate headquarters. But then he had to cold call printers to find one who had the capacity to print. Hm, wonder if that’s part of the story or if he didn’t think of using his network to find a printer?

Many people are shocked to find out that their website tells the story of their business. The truth is: it absolutely does. If you think about a website as a book, the home page is the glossy cover and back. The cover and back provide you with just enough information to decide if you want to go any further. A visitor will look at your home page to see if they want to explore the website in more detail. If the story of your company is appealing, then the visitor will click on the navigation tools that will guide them through the pages of your business website. The same is true if you own a large corporation. Your company’s story should entice, inform, and encourage exploration. That may be easy to do with someone in person or on the phone, but how do you get a business website to do this.

Before your small business website can tell the story of your company, you must understand it yourself and know what is important to your visitors. For instance, if you are a Los Angeles business with a business website, your story might be how you provide manicures to the A-list movie stars. Let’s face it; this is a story that will get visitors interested in learning more about your services. This doesn’t mean you have to divulge information, but the teaser might get people looking for more details. Of course, not every business website in Los Angeles will be touting the services provided to movie and rock stars. So you have to determine, what your business story is, and what makes it special.

Once you have your story down, how do you tell it so the message is given correctly. A professional web design will incorporate color, navigation tools, graphics, and even video to portray your enterprise. What one company needs might detract from another, so don’t add graphics or video just to look flashy. If it is vital to your story, then pictures, video, and even music might be an important addition. For instance, a small business website for a photographer should obviously incorporate photographs to showcase his or her work. However, a lawyer’s site might be hurt by photographs because visitors might find it unprofessional and distracting. The reality is that flashy websites with lots of music and video are not always effective. More visitors are using mobile devices to access the web, so large websites might prevent people from viewing your small business website at all. It may be necessary to have a separate website that allows easy access for your mobile device visitors.