If you've ever thought entrepreneurs are like fighters, you are not very far from the truth. Being an entrepreneur has more in common with mixed martial arts (MMA), than you probably might ever imagine. Entrepreneurs have to learn how to fight, strategize, persist and take down obstacles, while always ensuring their own bodily integrity isn't harmed. Without following some common tactics that MMA fighters practice, entrepreneurs run the risk of losing their business battle entirely. In this article, let us take a look at 10 things that entrepreneurship and MMA have in common.
1. Engage in planning and strategy
MMA is all about getting the right strategy in place. One needs to know when to deliver a kick, and how to avoid a punch. Not having a strategy will render a fighter vulnerable to blows delivered by opponents with better a strategy. Similarly, an entrepreneur will need to strategize his moves and ensure that there is enough planning. He or she must always expect his competitors to have a better strategy and prepare for that. Without a strategy in place, entrepreneurs run the risk of never reaching their goals.
2. Practice, practice, practice
You might have noticed that most MMA fighters practice a lot, before going in the arena. They wake up early in the morning, get mentored by other experienced fighters, and practice with their superiors or equals. This ensures that their skills are sharpened, and that they learn newer tricks to beat their opponents. If you are an entrepreneur, you will have to practice your game too. If you do not, you might watch your skills rust right in front of your eyes. Find a mentor, a trainer or a life coach, and sharpen your skills so that you can deliver the best your situation allows you to.
3. Take care of your health
An MMA fighter knows how important it is to nurture one’s body and take care of it. In fact, many of the Eastern religions which inspired MMA's evolution often focus on the mind-body-spirit trinity, in which the body takes the center stage. You will have to be at peak health in order to deliver the kind of blows that will bring down your opponents. Being in prime health ensures that you are always productive and efficient, and that is very important for entrepreneurs. After all, if you are not strong enough physically, how are you going to manage a business that must thrive in a competitive market?
4. Be prepared for blows
Any MMA fighter will tell you, that he cannot always expect to win. He will lose and will also receive some severe hits in the process. Every fighter is prepared to take these blows, and that is why defeats can define a fighter. If you want to survive as an entrepreneur, you will have to be prepared to take blows and fall down sometimes. Be prepared for financial crises, competitor threats, and any other surprises that may unsettle your business. Even when you are struck badly, remember that it is a game, and a game in which you have no choice but to survive and thrive.
5. Invest in the right armor
MMA fighters invest in body armor, and gloves, which protect them from the blows that they receive. Even when the strike an opponent, they can crush their knuckles. This is why, they wear gloves to protect their joints. Similarly, an entrepreneur should invest in the right tools to keep you ahead of the curve. You could choose to invest in a virtual receptionist, who will ensure that you are covered against more established peers who have 24/7 customer service. You could also invest in automation technologies, bonds, and other contingency plans which help you to protect yourself from technical, financial and market threats.
6. Mentally prepare oneself for the ring
The signs of a good fighter are physical and mental preparedness. MMA fighters place a lot of importance on being ready for situations that they may not foresee in the ring. A blow may strike from the back, or from the front, and it is difficult to predict how severe the blow will be. Moreover, one needs to ignore the distractions that one encounters in the form of crowds cheering and jeering outside the ring. Similarly, an entrepreneur has to prepare himself for all kinds of blows mentally, and ensure that he is not distracted by criticism or flattery.
7. Analyze and outwit the opponent
When the MMA fighter is actually in the ring, he has a responsibility to analyze and outwit the opponent. He needs to study the body language of the opponent and ensure that he is quick enough to defend himself or to go on the offensive. Similarly, an entrepreneur needs to observe his competitors and use analytics to come up with creative marketing and branding strategies. Before a market situation or a competitor can harm the company, an entrepreneur has make quick decisions that will help him to trudge ahead.
8. Get up as soon as one falls
When a fighter is hit in the face or the gut, it is natural to fall down and groan. Yet, a fighter manages to get up and deliver a blow to the opponent even when it hurts inside. Similarly, an entrepreneur should have a ‘never say die’ attitude, and get up even when he falls. There are many reasons why companies go through tough times and almost shut down operations these days. It could be rising inflation, lack of governmental support, debts, etc. Yet, entrepreneurs should not feel disheartened and should immediately take steps to recover and try another tactic.
9. Find yourself spiritually
Most mixed martial arts derive from Eastern religions such as Taoism, Shintoism, Buddhism. These religions focus on the importance of meditation and inner soul nourishing. Find time to understand what’s ailing your company or your culture, and how you can improve the lives of your employees and customers. All this can have a spiritual effect for your company, and you will be able to function better as an entrepreneur.
10. Respect your game, and the players
There is nothing more important than respecting the martial art that one engages in. Every fighter respects his game, and also the opponents whom he has to fight against. Similarly, every entrepreneur should respect his chosen business, his market and also his opponents.
Not surprisingly, there are a few books popular among entrepreneurs that are based on martial arts fighters or fighting. Here are a few we recommend: Laws of the Ring (Urijah Faber), The Way of the Fight (Georges St. Pierre), The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game (Sam Sheridan), and Living the Martial Way: A Manual for the Way a Modern Warrior Should Think (Forrest E. Morgan).