What the Cleveland Cavaliers Can Teach Small Business About Strategy

small business and the NBA

The NBA’s Lesson in Business Growth Strategy —

“We’ll win next year,” is a quote all too familiar to sports fans in Cleveland, Ohio. At least it was, until their beloved Cavaliers brought home the first finals victory that the city has seen in over half a century. Roaring with excitement and disbelief, the city held each other as they wept tears of joy because for the first time, in a long time, they were shown what it meant to never give up.

Not only was this NBA win a lesson for the Cavaliers’ competitor, the Golden State Warriors, to always expect the unexpected, but it also provided an important lesson in strategy that any small business should not take for granted. This lesson lies in the power of being adaptable.

Adaptability was the heart of the Cavaliers’ effort as they kept fighting for victory despite having all odds against them. Cleveland native and Finals MVP, LeBron James, took advantage of this key tactic in myriad ways to lead his team to success.


So, how can your small business use the Cavs’ strategy?


Know your fans and what they want

Your customers are the main motivators of your business. Make sure you know where their interests lie, where they prefer to be reached, and how they change. Customers, both current and prospective, like to know what is going on in your business. So, don’t let them down with outdated websites and newsletters. Instead, choose a forum that your customers prefer and make it the best it can be. Having one forum that is constantly updated is better than having many that are rarely touched. The language you use, the content you add, and the specials you offer should all make sense with current trends. Above all, make your customers feel like you’re easy to reach and available to answer questions. After their previous victory, the Golden State Warriors revamped their consumer-outreach approach by using tech-savvy methods, making it quicker and easier to keep in touch with the team. In no time, their effort drove ticket and merchandise sales, while keeping their brand dynamic.

Know when you need a new game plan

One of the most important aspects of business growth strategy is the ability to learn from your mistakes and recover as quickly as possible. Don’t rely on past performances to predict future successes. Trends and interests change rapidly, and it’s up to you to change with them. Take advantage of moving trends by allowing them to let you grow whenever you can. Don’t wait to adapt—just do it!

Be a team player

Take advantage of personal strengths both in yourself and in your team. Success is easier to accomplish when you are not alone. Make sure you constantly communicate with your team to ensure everyone knows where your small business is headed and what his/her role is in the change. Allow your team time to practice or learn a new skill in order to make the next play run smoothly. As team leader, your players look up to you. Make sure you have a strategy, and effectively communicate that strategy, so your team doesn’t aimlessly execute your directions. You’ll be surprised to see how easy adapting is when everyone is on board and working together.

Coordinate your strategy with your goal

Each adjustment in your business model should align with your goal. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice the aspects of your business that make it unique. Instead, make sure your adjustments point toward a specific goal while maintaining your brand’s voice. Take advantage of analyzing your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Assess what they do better than you and where you can improve. Alternatively, consider what you do better than them and what you should keep up. By acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, your goal becomes easier to reach because you’ll know how to get there.

Small businesses should realize that being down is an opportunity to change and grow. Let your right-brain go wild as you think of ways to improve your business strategy and brand. But, as you transition, always remember to keep the Cavaliers in mind and never give up! It’ll pay off in the long run.

Not sure where to go with your small business? Factoring could be your next step!