Blocking and Tackling: The only Football Metaphor that Matters for Startups

You may or may not be familiar with American football.  For me, it is as much as part of my life as entrepreneurship, so let’s start with the basics.

Blocking and Tackling 

Any championship football team excels at these two things.   Blocking is what you need to win on offense, and tackling is what you need to win on defense.  When it comes to winning championships, blocking and tackling are the fundamentals that separate good from great.

Entrepreneurship Ideas vs. Execution

In American Football, everybody copies each other offensive and defensive scheme if it is the hot thing working around the league.

Whether it’s the Wildcat, Spread, No Huddle, Zone Read, and the West Coast on offense, or the 4-6, Wide 9, Tampa 2 or Zone Blitz on defense.

If it works, your competition will copy it.

The same goes with startup ideas.  Your competition will copy your idea if you prove it works.

Execution is about blocking and tackling. Execution can’t be copied.

Execution is the fundamentals. Ideas come and go. You don’t win with ideas, you win with execution. What is the equivalent of blocking and tackling for a startup? Sales and customer service!

So there is the answer to the age old startup question.  How do I execute on my business idea?  Execution is about your ability to sell your product and deliver world class customer service.

Be good at those two things, and you have a better than average chance of winning. Be great at those two things, and you will win.

On the other hand, get those two things wrong and you have no chance at all.