Yet Another Golfing Analogy for Entrepreneurs

Having previously posted some golf analogies applicable to business, another one comes to mind. Learning how to build a smooth golf swing is similar to growing a business.

Before you start the golf swing, you need to have a proper setup that includes the stance, grip, posture, balance and so on. It is no different for a business. One needs to make sure that you are established properly – the relevant name, legal and tax structure, banking relationships, basic facilities, web presence, initial IT infrastructure are present.

The backswing is critical to the full swing. If the fundamentals of your backswing are not correct, it will be difficult to swing your club on the proper plane for a straight, long shot. Similarly, businesses need to make sure that when they start, the basic fundamentals are in place – a quality product or service with sufficient testing, core group of employees, proven customers and vendors, an organization to support growth, etc. If the backswing is rushed, the total swing is destroyed. When the business starts to run before it can walk, growth will be very difficult to manage.

The downswing starts slowly and accelerates just close to the point of impact to generate maximum power. If acceleration is sooner or later in the swing, optimum power is lost. In business, if one grows too fast without controlling the timing it can be problematic. Business growth has to be synchronized with the capability of the organization. If the orders come in but the organization cannot deliver, it leads to challenges. Timing is critical for the proper growth of a business, as it is for acceleration in a golf swing.

A nice, smooth, balanced finish completes the ideal golf swing. However, if the business is successful a finish is not what we need. Let us end the analogy before that.

Golf has many lessons for an Entrepreneur!

Ravi Patel


Riding versus Walking on a Golf Course – Lessons for Entrepreneurs

This is not a philosophical discussion on whether a golfer should walk or ride in a cart to play a round of golf. Rather, it is the continuation of applying golfing analogies to business (see A Golfing Analogy for Entrepreneurs, More Golfing Analogies for Entrepreneurs).

When you ride a cart while playing golf you breeze from hole to hole without really understanding the golf course. However, when you walk the course, you get a sense of the course layout, the conditions of the fairways, the contours and slopes, the strategic placement of bunkers and hazards. Walking gives you a better feel for proper course navigation.

Similarly for Entrepreneurs, it is important to know your customers and employees. Take the time to “walk” with them instead of breezing by while “riding.”

When you are with key customers, resist the temptation to just have quick lunches or drinks; try to spend quality time with them to understand their business issues and how you can assist them. Get a feel of their operating environment and the factors affecting their business success.

For key employees, instead of a cursory greeting, get to know them and understand factors affecting their performance. Find out by being with them in their operating environment how things can be improved.

Practice management by “walking” instead of “riding!”

Ravi Patel

More Golf Analogies for Entrepreneurs

As I play and watch golf, I am constantly amazed by the analogies between golf and business.

On a macro level, course management is extremely important to professional golfers. Days before a tournament, pro golfers and their caddies study a course, especially a new one, to evaluate the layout, the challenges, the distances and so on. Entrepreneurs should be doing the same things – evaluating the market, understanding the layout, their own SWOT analysis and how it fits in the market landscape and so on. Preparing ahead of time is a contributor to success.

Playing from behind and winning, or being in the lead and finishing first in golf requires unique strategies by pro golfers. It is fascinating to watch these plans unfold as someone like Tiger is playing on the final day. Similarly in business, Entrepreneurs need to develop unique strategies for either playing from behind in the competitive marketplace or constantly maintaining the lead.

Golf and business – lots in common!

Ravi Patel

A Golfing Analogy for Entrepreneurs

Being somewhat of a golf enthusiast, I am taking the liberty of applying golfing analogy to Entrepreneurs intending to grow their businesses.

As you get ready to play a round of golf, you must check your golf bag to ensure that you have 14 clubs and they are the right combination for your game. Similarly, Entrepreneurs must verify that all the tools and resources needed to grow their specific businesses – such as the right people; a solid management team; correct product/service and market strategy; efficient business processes; financial capability; appropriate infrastructure are all in place and ready to go.

The driver is normally the first club off the tee. It is also the most difficult to master. Same in business. The vision  (or driver) for the business is of ultimate importance for an Entrepreneur. Similar to a golf driver, it is often the most difficult to create and work with. But once, you know how to use it, the driver gets you in the middle of the fairway ready for the next shot. If an Entrepreneur can develop the correct vision for his/her organization, it allows the company to  be in a great position to take the next steps for growth.

The long irons are also difficult for most amateurs to hit consistently. Constant practice and refinement of the swing helps the golfer play these irons confidently. The long term business plans for the company are also diffcult to prepare given the uncertain economy and three to five year time frame. With time and repeated learning cycles, the Entreprenuer can learn to refine the long-term planning process for better road maps for growth.

The medium and short irons are the golfer’s bread and butter.  These irons, if played well, allow the golfer to reach the green with consistent accuracy. Successful Entrepreneurs need to master the preparation of the annual operating plans and budgeting process to make sure that their companies can deliver consistent results and meet established objectives (reaching the green).

The wedges not only help the golfer get close to the pin, but also allow recovery from the sand or rough. In business, Entrepreneurs who have developed crisis management plans and recovery tools most often turn challenges into successes. The short game is what separates the so-so golfers from the great ones. Entrepreneurs with management teams that can develop and execute pinpoint action plans never fail to deliver.

The putter is where golf matches are won and lost. Look at Tiger Woods. I rest my case! Perfecting the short and long putts and avoiding three-putts saves the golfer valuable strokes in improving their score. The Entrepreneur, with the management team, needs to develop and implement business processes that continually improve to produce consistent results. Avoiding mistakes (three-putts or more) and delivering quality results most efficiently and cost-effectively (two putts or less) will definitely improve you financial performance (score).

Although golf is considered a pastime and waste of natural resources and time, there are a lot of valuable learning lessons for Entrepreneurs, not to mention the enjoyment and camaraderie that it affords.

Keep your eyes focused on the ball, whichever one you are looking at  – in golfing or business!

Ravi Patel