Wrestlemania was this past weekend, and Linda McMahon is rumored to be stepping down as the head of the Small Business Administration. I have a rule that when those two things happen in the same week, it is time to link back to my favorite blog post: How Your Small Business is Like Professional Wrestling.
My son and I are still watching wrestling. And there are even more lessons you can learn from wrestling. Here are more to add to the list:
If Your Business is Successful, You WILL Have Competitors
For years, WWE has been the biggest and richest wrestling company. But today, competitors are showing up to challenge. A new promotion, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) sold over 14,000 tickets for a show in Las Vegas in under 30 minutes. It is putting together a TV deal and could soon challenge the soon-to-be former SBA Administrator’s company. You need to realize that there will always be competition for your spot in the market.
Never Take Existing Customer Relationships for Granted
Madison Square Garden has been exclusive WWE territory since the days of Bruno Sammartino and Andre the Giant. This is no longer true. Two companies (Ring of Honor and New Japan) are combining for a show on Wrestlemania weekend at MSG. [Note: My son and I are going to this one. We have already been to a Wrestlemania at MetLife Stadium.] Sometimes we chase new clients or opportunities so much that we lose sight of our special, long-term relationships. Your competitors are always waiting to move in.
Your Business Must Change with Your Customers’ Needs
AEW started as a YouTube series filmed by a couple of wrestlers (Matt and Nick Jackson a/k/a the “Young Bucks.”) More and more entertainment today is being consumed on phones or tablets, in these small bits. The Young Bucks catered to this trend and greatly expanded their fan base, while WWE has the same TV network shows. In all small business, you need to understand what your customer needs. More and more, this is going to include changes in how service is provided or even how your customers are billed. If you are able to make these changes, you are going to be way ahead of people who do not.
Take Care of Your Employees, or They will become Your Competition
The driving force behind AEW is Cody Rhodes. Cody is the son of wrestling great the American Dream Dusty Rhodes (my best friend’s favorite wrestler of all time). Cody worked for WWE for a decade. Although Cody is a gifted wrestler and promoter, WWE never found a place for him in the organization. He got stuck with one stupid gimmick or character after another. After being blocked in WWE, he quit and eventually started his own company. Look at your key contributors. Keeping them engaged and happy is a huge part of planning for the future of your small business.
These two lists are proof that watching wrestling – and allowing my son to watch – has not been a waste of time. I think of it more like a business school. In this business school all of the professors are wearing tights.