Success and Motivation:Drowning in Opportunity /Winning the Battles you are in

There are few things more exciting than starting a business and getting things rolling. The fear, the adrenalin, the excitement, the hope that every entrepreneur feels, are all intoxicating. In fact, very often they are TOO intoxicating. Very often, along with some success comes the feeling of invincibility. I have been in situations where I have told myself that Im smart, I know what Im doing, that I will figure things out as I go, so its OK to take on this new opportunity.

Those were usually the times I made mistakes. In a lifetime of running businesses I have developed a lot of rules that have been almost infallable, here are a couple of them that I use religously to this day.

1. Everyone is a genius in a bullmarket
A lot people think that if they are picking stocks that keep on going up, its because they are smart. They fail to notice that EVERYONE is able to pick winning stocks when all stocks are going up. (Much like we are seeing in this fall and winters stock market). The same principle applies to business. Entrepreneurs have to be brutally honest with themselves and recognize where they have added value and where they have gone along for the ride. There is nothing wrong with going along for the ride and making money at it, but it will catch up with you if you lie to yourself and give yourself the credit for the ride.

Sports Leagues were the perfect example of an industry that thought they were responsible for growth when in reality it was a bull market for rights fees.

First the advent of cable created competition for sports rights that increased the value of sports rights. Then Satellite TV came along that created increased competition for cable and broadcast for sports rights, so sports rights values went up. Then the competition between rights holders themselves creating regional sports networks increased the value of sports rights. Today, sports are in a sweet spot because of the rise in adoption of TIVO like capabilities by TV viewers. Sports is the most TIVO resistant programming.

Smart sports rights holders, like we are trying to be with the Mavericks, recognize that it wasnt our brilliance that to this point had pushed up our TV rights revenues. It was the market. Its our challenge to recognize what we can do to push the value of our programming further. Its a bigger challenge to recognize that its possible that the bullmarket may end and we have to be sure our programming is of sufficient value to our customers and viewers to be able to maintain or continue to increase in value.

Its also our challenge to recognize whent there is opportunity.. Sports is one of the few TIVO proof programming options to advertisers. We have a unique chance to lever up our viewership to prove our value as a TIVO proof option to advertisers by integrating value for our advertisers into our games and by working to increase our viewership. Its critical not just because we want to protect and increase this revenue stream, but because across our revenue streams it has the most upside. Advertisers want a way to stay in front of the largest possible TIVO proof audiences, with the unique experience of HDTV, congregating at the same time, rather than picking them off one at a time as in an on demand universe. One gives you a number the next morning, the other takes a long time to aggregate into an audience size of value. That makes it a unique opportunity the Mavs have to work hard to leverage with our partners.

For the Mavs, its also important to realize that we cant raise ticket prices forever without pricing ourselves out of the market. In fact, we lowered the price of all tickets in our upper bowl and created a TWO DOLLAR ($2) ticket for 10 of our games. Fans can get 10 games for 20 bucks. That lowering ticket prices is the most powerful, least expensive marketing we can do. It leads to a more positive brand value and committment to the Mavs, which helps us create new products that leverage the live nature of our product.

Its not easy, but we recognize that much of our past increases in revenues were the result of industry trends as much as our efforts. We have to make sure to do whatever we can to focus on winning the battles in case the bullmarket does not continue.

Which leads to rule #2
2. Win the Battles you are in before you take on new battles
Everyone of my businesses has a make or break battle going on and so do yours. There is one battle in your business that you are not winning, or are battling to stay in front.
In our film business, its the battle to get people to theaters without spending more than we bring in box office. With the Mavs, its the battle of making our game experience in the arena and on TV so compelling that its strong enough entertainment on its own to draw an audience and make our advertisers happy. I cant control how a game on the court goes, but I can make sure that if you come to, or watch a game you have a great time doing it. On HDNet, its how to keep on raising the bar and find or create programming that our subscribers feel committed to and take ownership of. I can spend as much money on a show as a big network, but they are wrong 95pct of the time. Its not a model i want to copy. Its the ultimate challenge to find a new way to get results.

THese literally are the 3 problems that I focus on. They arent issues that just popped up. THey have been challenges in these businesses for years and present a moving target that require my ongoing and continuing focus, today and most likely for years to come. Its an intellectual challenge I really love. Its truly the sport of business. Sure, I deal with operational issues, but pretty much every other strategic element of my businesses I have learned to delegate. Thats not easy for an entrepreneur to do. In my past, I would have taken on everything and anything that I thought could add value to. I had to be in the middle of everything. No longer. Ive learned to hire people that I can build trust in and let them take the ball and run with it.

Of course not every business has bench strength. Some entrepreneurs wont hire people that have complementary skill sets. Others just are small business and cant afford it yet. For those businesses, this rule is all the more important. If you are the main engine behind your company, taking on new challenges will only dilute your ability to win the wars you are in and of course increase the risk of injuring your primary business or core competencies.

In fact, this is the biggest issue I have with the NBA and our international efforts. Its not that I think there is no opportunity internationally , there is. The problem is that the “CEO” of the NBA is in the front and middle of every effort. His efforts are diluted on both fronts and we risk losing multiple important battles. If the metrics for the lines of our business that drive 75pct or more of our business were skyrocketing, thats one thing. But we aren’t winning the battles we are in. We aren’t losing, we just aren’t winning, we are treading water.
International isnt going anywhere. China as an example has great potential and it always will. If we were dominating in our core revenue lines, I could easily be the biggest proponent of an International NBA effort (minus contributing our players to competitive enterprises) . The NBA needs to find someone who can lead and win each of the battles. Trying to use one person as the leader for both is a huge mistake that is not worth the risk fto lack of execution it exposes us to.

I have used the same logic with HDNet. HDTV is taking hold all over the world. In many areas its booming. We sell those markets content via salespeople, but I have said no to offers to bring HDNet t
o the rest of the world as a linear or online network . Why ? Because dealing with the rest of the world takes a lot of time and focus. It takes going out and hiring people to run it, and training them and then being available to help support their efforts on an ongoing business. Every minute that i spend, or our top people spend dealing with the rest of the world is a minute not spent fighting the battle to make HDNet and HDNet Movies the best networks they can be here in the US. We are not a business that has maximized our growth here, we are just starting to accelerate. Taking any resources away from that battle would be a huge mistake.

Its the same with Landmark Theaters. We could go international, but winning the battles here are far more important and again, every minute our leadership spends on the rest of the world is time and focus lost on Landmark here in the US.

Its a huge lesson for entrepreneurs. Win the battles you are in first, then worry about expansion internationally or into new businesses. You do not have unlimited time and/or attention. You may work 24 hours a day, but those 24 hours spent winning your core business will pay offer far more. It might cost you some longer term upside, but it will allow you to be the best business you can be. To use a sports metaphor, get the fundamentals right and then add to your fundamental skills before you try to take on the trick shots.

Rule 3 is the natural extension of rule 2.

3. You can Drown in Opportunity
Few businesses only have one opportunity. Every entrepreneur’s mind goes crazy with the new and exciting things they can do beyond the new and exciting things they are already doing. The risk is that you can drown in all these opportunities. Far too often when an entreprenuer hits a rough patch or competitive challenge, the temptation is too “turn on the thinking cap” and find something new for the company to do. Don’t fall to the temptation. As an entreprenuer you have to know what the core competencies of your business are and make sure that your company focuses on being the absolutely best it can be at executing them. Bottom line is this. If you are adding new things when your core businesses are struggling rather than facing the challenge, you are either running away or giving up. Rarely is either good for a business. In fact, by chasing these opportunities, you may be assuring that you drown in them.

These rules are things I check off against before I undertake new elements of a business. Hopefully if you are an entrepreneur it will

66 thoughts on “Success and Motivation:Drowning in Opportunity /Winning the Battles you are in

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    Comment by Sodefoota -

  2. One of my favorite posts so far .. some very practical advice here.

    Comment by Ancestry -

  3. There are the best tips.

    Great job.

    Comment by Catalin -

  4. Late reading this,but very interesting.Friend writes Motivational Books and recent on changing to a career you like.Very interesting on guts to become Enterprenuer(an overworked word to me)Clearing your Head and being positive apply to your ideas also.Sticking in face of adversity and criticism is a basic.

    Comment by I K -

  5. Yup, starting something new, especially, when it concern such risks as money and business is always hazardous and causing a lot of problems… though these problems sometimes lead to something useful and rather worthy of taking such risks… As for the rules, the best one is simply to be confident in your own possibilities…

    Comment by Schina -

  6. Great post. I’m “posting” it myself — on the wall in front of me. Good guidance for all the budding entrepreneurs at Revver.

    Comment by Angela Wilson Gyetvan -

  7. “Sure, I deal with operational issues, but pretty much every other strategic element of my businesses I have learned to delegate.”
    I suppose there is a mistake here, maybe you could correct it.
    Great blog.

    Comment by R.Danila -

  8. Dear Mark,

    I stumbled upon your blog while surfing the net. Sure am glad I did. Your astute advice about entrepreneurs staying focused is one that I totally agree with. My daughter is a fashion designer and recently started a company called Jahqoi. We’re a Black family in Los Angeles and we don’t have much money. But, we’re all behind her 100% and having the time of our lives, helping her build this business. Jahqoi specializes in plus-size clothing and can be found online at http://www.jahqoi.com.

    A lot of my daughter’s friends aren’t having much success launching their ideas because they’re running off in too many directions. I keep telling them to stay focused, but they are allowing themselves to be misled by the celebrities who are wearing several hats at once. They just won’t listen. I’m glad my daughter isn’t that way. She’s very focused and determined to get this business up and running before taking on anything else.

    Thanks for all the great advice in that article. I’ve bookmarked your blog so that I can come back to it frequently.

    Much continued success to you!
    - Dorez
    http://www.jahqoi.com

    Comment by Dorez Douglas -

  9. Mark,
    Excellent artile. I printed it and will be highlighting the points that hit home with me.
    Awesome.

    Comment by Sam Crowley -

  10. True.

    Business certainly is an art.

    Thanks for sharing your insight on things…..

    Comment by Maria Stella -

  11. Mark, I enjoyed your rules and will surely try and go by them. I think I broke one already, :). Any I have a question. I have what I think is a great idea but am afraid to tell anyone about it thinking that someone will take it and run with it. I am not sure how to even explain anything about it without giving it away. I guess the reason is that it seems like such a simple concept but it hasn’t been done to my knowledge yet. I believe it could be as big or bigger than Tivo. I just remembered your reality show and how you told one of the players that they should go get a patent for their idea. So I researched the patent thing and it is pretty expensive and not very user friendly. The whole thing about getting an attorney or not, etc. What would you suggest I should do? If you are intrigued I could send you a letter with the details? I believe it is up your alley. I would almost compare it to your radio idea. I wouldn’t want to send something unsolicited so I thought I would ask first. We have a mutual acquaintance that I could give it to if you didn’t have any objections.

    Comment by Randy -

  12. These are exellent guidelines for your focus and ambition with respect to purchasing the Penguins. Your drive and ambition to stay the course, combined with an eye toward innovation, is just what the franchise needs. Here’s hoping you follow your heart.

    Comment by Mari -

  13. Hi Mark,

    I recommend your readers to take a look to “Success University”
    Great source to learn about success online and offline…

    Pedro Sardinha

    Comment by Pedro Sardinha -

  14. It was an excellent post. I am fighting since one year to avoid beeing “transported” from one opportunity to another.

    I got a very point from your article, and I will remember this one. I hope it will help me in my entrepreuneur life.

    Comment by Franck S -

  15. I particularly like your advice on humility – don’t think you’re so brilliant that it gets to your head. Realize that maybe you’re getting a ride on a good market. This is excellent advice because inevitably the good markets go down, and if we’re not prepared then all our hard work could be for naught, and we could lose everything while marveling at how successful we are.

    Comment by Miriam -

  16. thanks for this great post mark!
    the last line is cut off. what are we missing?
    thanks again!
    paul

    Comment by paul kontonis -

  17. So Mark, speaking of new opportunities and knowing in your heart of heart which one is the one you want to pursue. Are you going to pursue the Penguins?

    Comment by Benn Dunn -

  18. Great post Mark,

    As a entreprenuer launching my fledgling busniess, I can very much relate to the conept of ‘drowning in opportunity’, and the ensuing procrastination of trying to select ‘the big idea’

    MH.

    Comment by Michael -

  19. I totally identify with your post, Mark, especially this part: “… mind goes crazy with the new and exciting things they can do beyond the new and exciting things they are already doing.” It’s been a constant struggle for me, and even though I knew I was “drowning,” as you put it, I kept swimming away from the shore! Your message is just the virtual smack upside the head I needed to turn myself around. Thank you!

    Comment by Bonnie -

  20. Mark,

    Thanks Thats was phenomenal blog post.. I read three to four business books a week and every business mag I can get my hands on and cant get the type of real world examples that you give on your blog.

    Im working on a start up now and Im a senior in college. I tend to get so excited about so many different industries that are emerging through the Internet that I loose focus on the market that Im pursuing. I read about every industry and every startup. When I should be focusing on a niche of the market I have picked

    Do you have any advice on how you dealt with making order out of chaos when you started your first venture? With the business plan, dealing with venture capitalist etc.

    Comment by Bob -

  21. Two people have already mentioned it, but it needs to said again.

    Sports is not “TIVO proof”. In fact, I would argue that it’s the most susceptible to a TIVO smacking. I now watch pro football games in 20 minutes and Celtics games as well. (Their defense is so bad that I can only bear them when on offense.) The only parts of Lakers games I watch are when Kobe has the ball. If a game is a blowout, I start fast-forwarding in bigger jumps to see if a comeback materializes. If I hear that a game I taped earlier in the day was a depressing blowout I don’t even watch the game at all.

    Sports is watched by people of all ages, but young men are the most loyal fans and the most sought after advertising demographic (since they save nothing and live paycheck to paycheck). This is the precise group that is most tech savvy and therefore most likely to wield a DVR.

    Maybe sports teams will be able to recoup lost ad dollars from the cable tv companies – but I’d be shocked.

    Comment by CaptiousNut -

  22. Mark – Fantastic column on the entrepreneurial spirit, which leads me to the question of the night (And something that is keeping me awake @ 1:30 AM). Now that Balsillie has dropped out of the running to buy the Penguins, I am extremely interested in how you perceive the investment. I know that you want to keep the team in Pittsburgh, and that the franchise has the talent to sustain itself for the foreseeable future, but I’m wondering what factors are preventing investors (such as yourself), from jumping all over the opportunity. If the fear is driven by the fact that the NHL is trying to put a clause in the contract to force the team to stay in Pittsburgh, how is there no possible Option B, if the casino falls through?? I’m baffled by the entire ordeal and am hopeful that you’d be able to provide some of your thoughts on the matter. Cheers!

    Comment by Michael -

  23. Mark – Fantastic column on the entrepreneurial spirit, which
    leads me to the question of the night (And something that is keeping me awake @ 1:30 AM). Now that Balsillie has dropped out of the running to buy the Penguins, I am extremely interested in how you perceive the investment. I know that you want to keep the team in Pittsburgh, and that the franchise has the talent to sustain itself for the foreseeable future, but I’m wondering what factors are preventing investors (such as yourself), from jumping all over the opportunity. If the fear is driven by the fact that the NHL is trying to put a clause in the contract to force the team to stay in Pittsburgh, how is there no possible Option B, if the casino falls through?? I’m baffled by the entire ordeal and am hopeful that you’d be able to
    provide some of your thoughts on the matter. Cheers!

    PS – I read your column back in the beginning of November about how you regretted your inability to purchase the franchise. You had mentioned your lack of hockey knowledge as one of the compounding factors in passing over the opportunity – As a diehard Penguins fan from Toronto, I would like to be the first to join the Cuban ownership group and ensure that the Penguins remain in Pittsburgh.

    Comment by Michael -

  24. Focusing can be so hard when you have the ability to blast new websites out in 24 hrs simply out of sheer boredom. I need to put a giant sign by my chair that says “FOCUS”

    Comment by CT -

  25. Hey egomaniac, how many things are you going to be wrong about?

    http://www.wired.com/news/technology/internet/0,72272-0.html?tw=rss.technology

    Comment by Ryan Schwebel -

  26. Mark,
    I like the post. However, I do have to slightly disagree with you on rule 3. Brainstorming for new opportunities allows for your company to have many options to pick from in the future. It is just something you have to control and moreso keep track of, rather than acting on all of them. You somewhat say this, but I thought I would point it out further. You did hit a lot of major points when it comes to starting a business…thanks.

    Comment by Gunner -

  27. Great Job mark tell it like it is.

    Comment by Robert Drakes -

  28. Thank you Mark. Truly wise advice. I shall try to remember them well.

    Comment by Issamar -

  29. Wow. Mark, your timing could not be better. It seems that our business comes up with a new idea at least once a week, and I have recently began saying “not now”.

    Comment by Tom Kirkham -

  30. Great tips and insight for any entrepreneur. I sometimes get lost in new ideas when trying to grow my small real estate company. I even do the same thing when blogging about my local market (http://atlanta575realestate.com), there is just so much to cover.

    Thanks for the reminder of staying focused!

    Comment by Brad Nix -

  31. Great first hand insight. This advice should strike a cord with any current college student who cant quite figure out what path to follow during or after school. This coming from a college student who after 5 years and many sleepless nights thinking about life’s possible direction, has finally settled on a path; Entrepreneurship. now if i could only convince my parents this the right one!

    Comment by Kirkwood -

  32. Great Mark,
    As a internet startup that is going live in mid-January, these are very important words. I seem to have lots of new and progressive ideas that take me away from focusing on the main issue….making revenue for the core idea….then develop the new ideas into rev 2.

    P.S. Good luck with Black Christmas…to bad your producer didn’t get back to me;(

    Comment by Taylor Moore -

  33. Get Iverson, PLEASE!

    Comment by James -

  34. Mark,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog. I am a student at Oregon State and an HUGE Mavs fan. I am a business major and reading blogs like this one that have advise in the business world are very interesting. Seeing as I will be graduating soon and going off into the real world, it is nice to get some advise from such a successful business man.
    On a side-note, how do you feel about the NBA bringing the old ball back mid-season. I’d really like to hear what you think, and if that is one of the success’s in business that you were talking about, seeing as how you were against the ball change in the first place, and made it known.
    Thanks,
    Josh

    Comment by Josh -

  35. One of the big “problems” with creative, entreprenuerial people (like myself) is the tendancy to take on too much. Hearing you say you have to focus on a few key items is a good reminder.

    Comment by wailea -

  36. I have to agree with someone saying sports isn’t necessarily TIVO proof. I tend to watch most things on TIVO now so I can skip the commercials. But the bottom line is that the value of BNA franchises has gone through the roof because of Cable TV rights…which won’t really feel the affect of TIVO.

    Comment by basketball -

  37. Great inspiration for effective entrepreneurship!

    Comment by Name -

  38. I enjoyed your blog entry, it is very informative and great to see it a point of view of a person who knows what they are talking about instead of listening to one side of the story.
    Thank you for posting this blog.
    -Krystal-

    Comment by Krystal -

  39. Mark,So it sounds like you are saying that a person or company ought to take care of “all” of the problems a business has before they attempt trick shots, correct? What about your Landmark Theatre Chain?
    Are the problems there so abundunt that it is impossible for you to take on anything new with that business? Is that why from all of the thousands of free ideas you recieved from your readers, you didnt pick any of them to impliment? Or maybe you did and just didn’t tell us. Could be.To me that is almost like saying to a person, “Make sure you have no issues in your life before trying a trick shot or something new.” IMHO , it is often in trying the new that the old issues dry up an go away. I mean , isnt the definition of crazy doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?I thought you were the ultimate Maverick, risk taker/business man.But maybe when you have more to protect (monetarily and asset wise), that tendacy wanes a bit. Which I guess in a way I understand.

    Comment by Erica -

  40. Thanks for the free advice, Mark. I’m pretty sure you just saved me a lot of time, my company a lot of money, and my Year 2007 a lot of headache.

    Comment by Bryan Lindley -

  41. Thanks Mark. But like my stupid ex-wife once said, “some battles aren’t worth fighting for”.

    Comment by Bob King Neverland III -

  42. Mark–you say

    “Sports is one of the few TIVO proof programming options to advertisers.”

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who Tivo’s Mavs games and starts watching 20 minutes into the game–that way, I catch everything, and can skip the ads, at least for the first half. Is anything really Tivo-proof outside of web-video?

    Comment by Mark -

  43. Great post with many great points. Every newbie should read it and learn a thing or two or three.

    Comment by Riley -

  44. Nice post. Just what I needed to read.

    Comment by miltownkid -

  45. Mark, I agree that many entrepreneurs may “drown in opportunities” as a result of looking for new ways to expand their businesses. It is usually wiser to fulfill the potential of what you have before expanding on it.

    However, there’s another reason why people may opt to divert themselves to other opportunities as well – they don’t want to deal with the challenges that are rising up with what they already have. It’s a way to avoid dealing with problems you don’t want to deal with.

    It may be relatively easy sometimes to start a business (especially online) and get it going. However, it can get increasingly difficult to keep it growing. Although growing it to its potential may be the most profitable thing to do, as well as the best way to ensure the future of the business, it may be less enjoyable than doing something new.

    Many people will choose to start something new simply because it’s more fun and less difficult. Either adding a new element to their existing business or starting a whole new business. But by doing so, they are limiting (or even killing) what they already have.

    It’s important to understand whether or not you’re the type of person that is willing to take a business to its potential before you even start it.

    Comment by Dave -

  46. Mark,

    It looks like the last line got cut off mid-sentence. What were you saying?

    > Hopefully if you are an entrepreneur it will

    It will what?

    (Great post, right at the core of my thinking in the middle of my second startup, http://LgDb.com )

    -Scott

    Comment by Scott Yates -

  47. Mark –

    Well stated, I have done so many things out of college trying to fulfill that entreprunuer spririt inside me. In fact, while all my buddies in my mid-20’s were buying boats and motorcyles, etc……I was out there shelling my extra cash on many failed business attempts, which left me no fun toys to show off and number of excuses as to why they never succeeded.

    But truly, what I did learn from those ventures was that I have focus on one thing and perform it better than anybody else. I admit, it’s hard because of the number of new opportunities that come about, and with each opportunity looking like it has greener grass than where I am currently, those new opportunities are something that really plays with a guys mind and thoughts…i.e., daily focus on the task at hand.

    But, seriously, Mark, if you out in the market looking for a vacation/real estate development – I know one for sale in the new wine country of Washington State called the Lake Chelan Region! Really, the grass is greener here!

    Thanks for the advice man and have a great Christmas!

    Later – Jeff

    Comment by Jeff -

  48. I agree wailea. It’s a problem I notice that myself and my three business partners all share. And even being aware of it does not make it easy to stop the behavior.

    Comment by Will -

  49. The notion of “drowning in opportunity” is a compelling pulse check, and coming from you an effective motivational tool to stay on purpose. Few industries present with the scale and level of dysfunction characteristic of healthcare finance and delivery today. Incremental tinkering won’t work and too many “pigs at the trough” (special interests) only guarantee more of the same for the forseable future.

    Thanks for the insight!

    Comment by Gregg Masters -

  50. This is an amazingly informative blog entry. Not trying to flatter Mark too much…
    But in reality, these are major, important issues facing business people, especially smaller entrepreneurs. This is very useful advice and good reading. Bravo.

    Comment by basketball -

  51. I’m about to turn 19 on the 14th, and it’s great to read some insight on what I could do wrong by drowning in opportunity. Being in my 2nd year of college, I’m still trying to make sure I’ve picked the right major. I’m pretty sure business is my thing, but I also have a desire to build sites and web program. So I’m going for a minor in CIS, but I’m still not sure exactly what I’ll be able to do when I graduate in 2009. Of course I’d love to be an entrepreneur, but what if that doesn’t work out? I need a back-up plan.

    Comment by James Stevens -

  52. It’s ironic that you posted this today because I was JUST sitting here in my home office about to re-evaluate some of my methods and see if I need to add some other services to generate revenue. But you’re right; you’re absolutely right. Win the battles I’m in now before trying to create new battles. Thank you for this post; perfect timing!

    Comment by Lamarr Wilson -

  53. This is a great reminder about the importance of knowing what business you are in. If you chase ‘two rabbits’ they both may get away. -shon

    Comment by shon -

  54. I couln’t agree more Mark.

    One of the biggest business mistakes I ever made was always trying to get bigger. There’s nothing wrong with trying to increase revenues obviously, but sometimes that doesn’t necessarily mean getting bigger, it may simply mean running your current business model more efficiently and making your current business better and your customers more happy.

    I think so many entreprenuers (especially young ones) always think bigger is better and like you said… focusing on your core business and winning the battles you are currently in often times will create even more success than just growing bigger and taking on even more problems.

    http://www.BryanHauer.com

    Comment by Bryan Hauer -

  55. You couldn’t be anymore right about winning your battles before starting new ones. I think a perfect example is the youth programs for the three major sports. Little League which is obviously well funded by baseball is the leader. The NFL which is 2nd has developed a great NFL Flag program and also does a great job funding Pop Warner. And lastly, the Junior NBA program is a joke. Why is Stern going after the youth of China before he properly provides a good program for the youth of the US?

    Comment by Joe -

  56. Great advice. I have been expanding my videography into photography, which is really stretching me due to opportunities. But in the same note, opportunities can drown you, but expanding with more people will allow you to take advantage of essential opportunities. This allows diversification, which is arguably more important than having one cash cow.

    Comment by Gavin the photographer -

  57. Great tips Mark!

    Maki

    Comment by Maki Papadopoulos -

  58. Point #2; Most Entrepreneurs fall into this trap of being a Jack of all trades and a master or none.

    Im always tempted to roll out new business models, and its nice to hear you reiterating the point that a business must stay focused

    Comment by Andrew Beckman -

  59. What the heck does Drowing mean?
    Success and Motivation:Drowing in Opportunity /Winning the Battles you are in

    Comment by Luis E. Giner -

  60. Who ever gets paid to make those videos they show at the games has the best job in the world. I wish they were all on youtube.

    Comment by Katy Alonzo -

  61. Mark:

    These are great rules to follow but how do you get motivated to do any of this?

    None of your enterprises seem to be world changing and you apparently have enough money to live however and wherever you may wish.

    I caught a rising tide as a young entrepreneur and made enough money to demotivate me for half a lifetime.

    How does the NBA, HDTV, and the 100+ year old movie exhibition industry get you motivated at all?

    Comment by Trey Tomeny -

  62. Absolutely. And it is particularly true since the internet gives instant gratification to a lot of start-up businesses. I am being a real stickler with the quality of webcontent I post on http://www.smartremarx.com/ specifically so I can achieve some longevity with the product. Naturally, I think I have a great deal to offer, but that falls into rule #1 and being too bull-headed in a bull market. ~Andrew

    Comment by Andrew -

  63. Mark,

    As far as drowning in opportunity is concerned, I think we are starting to see that a lot with college-aged kids. The fact that no option is seemingly shut off to bright kids makes it difficult for many of them to decide what to major in and/or what to do vocationally. I’m starting to see more and more kids with great potential blow it by chasing after every opportunity that presents itself rather than just specializing in a reasonable number of areas.

    In our personal lives, just as in business, good options often keep us from choosing the best option.

    Comment by TCz -

  64. I’m not trying to give my man Robert Greene a plug here, but this post reminds me of some of the strategies that he writes about in his book: 33 Strategies Of War.

    I wonder if you’ve read any of his books?

    Comment by Brian J. Mann -

  65. Mark,

    Great post, I am going through some of those same challenges right now. As an upstart I get about 5 new ideas a day and it is diffiuclt to stay focused.

    P.S. Great hire with Casey Smith, was trainer for my college bball team at ASU, he is one of the best!

    Comment by brandon -

  66. I’m glad to see you are Blogging again…

    and it’s great being first!

    Comment by Wolfe & West -

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