Anyone who knows me probably already knows that I’ve been a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan since 1976. But regardless of who you root for, there are some important business lessons that we can learn from the Seahawks’ last minute win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Even if you don’t like football, if you own or run a business there is a message here for you.

seattle-seahawks-logo1.  Be poised and prepared to capitalize on your opportunities.

The Seahawks made plenty of mistakes on Championship Sunday, but the Packers were never able to take full advantage of those opportunities, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns.  Conversely, when Brandon Bostick muffed the onside kick, Chris Matthews was poised and ready for the recovery and the Seattle offense then took full advantage.

How ready are you to pick up the ball and run should your competitors drop the ball on a project?  If you get a last minute opportunity to gain a new client or take over a project, are you ready?  Mistakes happen every day in the business world and winners know how to capitalize.

2.  No matter how many mistakes you make, momentum can change in an instant.

With 5 minutes left to go in the game, Russell Wilson had completed only 8 passes and had 4 interceptions.  With that kind of failure rate, it would have been easy to quit and admit defeat.  Luckily for his teammates, he kept fighting in the face of near insurmountable odds.

What is your commitment to keep fighting against adversity?  It’s rare to meet a successful business person who has not experienced failures along the journey.  How willing are you to stay the course when your business experiences setbacks and hardships?

3.  It takes time to build relationships.

Prior to Wilson’s game winning pass to Jermaine Kearse, he had attempted to throw to Kearse 4 times- with each of them ending in an interception.  Wilson stayed with the “relationship” and it produced in a big way at the end.

How patient are you in developing relationships with potential clients?  Are you willing to nurture these relationships, even if they result in nothing but disappointment for a while, until they have the opportunity to thrive?  Meaningful relationships are the key element to any long-standing business and often they will take time to mature.

12th-man-flag4.  Your fans are instrumental to your success.

The Seahawks refer to their fans as “The 12’s” because they give them such an advantage it’s almost like having a 12th player on the field.  They rely on their fans for energy and inspiration when times get tough.

Who are your fans?  They want to see you succeed and are willing to help you.  Are you using them properly and thanking them consistently?  Testimonials, referrals, and repeat customers are all examples of your “fans”.  Make sure you work to keep in touch with them, provide value, and always have an attitude of gratitude.

5.  The better team doesn’t always win.

I’ll be the first to admit that on Championship Sunday, the Green Bay Packers were the better team for 57 minutes.  However, they let their guard down and an opportunistic Seahawks team was quick to pounce.  The Packers didn’t “close the sale” and the Seahawks were all too willing to take advantage.

Running a successful business means you can’t quit 57 minutes into the game.  If you do, there will surely be one of your competitors just waiting to pick up the pieces and reap the rewards.  This means you must pay attention to details, avoid becoming complacent or over-confident, and see each project through to the end.  But this also means that there will be times when your competitors play a 57 minute game and by being properly prepared, you can score a win in the waning minutes!

The Bottom Line…

The moral of the story here is one we’ve all heard hundreds of times:  Don’t Ever Give Up.

Whether it’s sports, business, family, or any other aspect of life, there will always be challenges and, at times, insurmountable odds.   Remember Russell Wilson’s quote after the game, “We always find a way to finish.”