Loosely defined, momentum is simply a mass in motion. But in the world entrepreneurship, business momentum is a powerful force, essentially characterized by a series of successes. Political candidates and sports figures talk about it all the time. They see it as a necessary force and a requirement for implementing a winning strategy.
In fact, if last night’s Super Bowl taught us anything (other than the fact that Lady Gaga’s use of synchronized drone flight was brilliant) it’s that once momentum starts to build, just about anything can happen.
For those of you who missed it, The New England Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons by 25 points with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter — and by 19 points with 9:48 left in regulation — and somehow, as if by some form of Super Bowl magic, managed to win in overtime after tying the Falcons late in the game. The New York Times called it a “comeback for the ages”! How did they do? By achieving, maintaining and capitalizing on momentum.
Patriots and the importance of business momentum
Compartmentalize – Think in yards, not touchdowns
Sure, touchdowns are great. We certainly witnessed enough of them last night to know. But you can’t fill a whole playbook with them. Focusing just on touchdowns could be discouraging and overwhelming if you start to fall behind. In business, like in football, it’s important to break your goals down into manageable, actionable chunks.
For example, if your goal is to be the premiere provider of refrigerated trucks in the U.S.A., perhaps you should first start by being the premier provider of refrigerated trucks in the Midwest or maybe in Illinois or maybe in Chicago. You get the picture. Build your image and reputation one customer at a time, scoring a couple more yards every day, and then see how those individual wins lead to even greater ones.
Enough small wins will help you build serious business momentum and get you closer to that shiny Vince Lombardi trophy.
Short Game – Focus on the goals right in front of you
To work their way up the field, time and time again, The Patriots had to do it one down at a time. Their comeback was not the result of a series of dramatic hail-mary passes. It was, instead, the culmination of a series of small approachable plays. It’s all about forward motion.
If you’re looking to build some serious momentum in your business, it’s important to remember that now is not necessarily the time to be focusing on your epic, long term visions. You should ask yourself, what can I do right now to help my business? Trying to stay focused on the work you can do today or tomorrow, instead of getting lost in the big picture, will help your business get some much needed forward traction.
We’re not saying the big picture isn’t important at all. Far from it. But if your business feels as though it’s stuck in your own end zone, thinking too ‘big’ could prevent you from getting you and your team further up field.
Measurable success – put effort into results
Again, business momentum is made up of a series of small wins. But it only works if the win is measurable. If the Patriots were just working on improving their offense or on-field communication, instead of actually getting into the Falcon’s end zone, the outcome of Super Bowl LI would have been markedly different. But they weren’t. The Pats were focused on one thing and one thing only: putting points on the board.
It’s not so much about style or positioning as it is about scoring. It’s important that business owners clearly define their expectations of all who work with them and what outcomes are acceptable for results. Think in terms of direct response marketing, online analytics and measurable growth. Don’t approach things bi-laterally. If you want to gain momentum by increasing unit sales, put effort into things that will directly affect unit sales.
It ain’t over until… you know the rest
Last night’s comeback was the most improbable comeback in Super Bowl history with a second-half low win probability of just 0.4 percent, beating out the Pat’s other famous comeback over the Seahawks during the 49th Super Bowl in 2014. Last night’s win truly was a testament to the “never give up” attitude.
This one doesn’t just go for sports and business either. Determination can be beneficial character traits in all capacities, be it fitness, creativity, relationships, or even learning a new language. The key is, no matter how bad the outcome looks, or how improbable a triumph may be, there is always hope, there is always a chance to prevail.
So, if there is anything that the Super Bowl truly taught us last night, it’s that perseverance pays off in the end. If you keep trying to get the ball up the field, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll start generating the sort of business momentum you need to get ahead of your competition and start putting some points on the scoreboard.
Way to go Pats! (and Gaga!)