Why Sports Teams Are Often Better Run Than Businesses

I know that the analogies between sport and business can be over used at times, however I believe that businesses can learn a lot through copying some of the process’s sports teams use. Top sports teams and individuals don’t get to their peak without help. Yes, they are talented but they have a number of people who help them harness this talent along the way.

Here are three areas that sports teams focus on that retailers don’t:


I have always said, after training thousands of retailers over the past 25 years, that one of the biggest issues is that team members never get a chance to practise, they are always playing the game (serving in the store). By this I mean, it’s hard to practise when the doors are open and customers are coming in. Sports teams spend many hours practising, working on what didn’t work well last week and looking at what did work well so this can be repeated.

Very few retailers provide the opportunity for their team to practise, they are always too busy playing the game of serving customers or unpacking stock!!


Sports teams have any number of coaches, who often specialise in certain areas. Their sole role is to get the team or individual to the highest level. One of the key roles of coaches is to analyse and provide feedback to individuals base on their previous performance. Players know what they need to work on and this is an ongoing process.

How many store managers have been trained in how to coach and help their team to be the best they can possibly be? Even if they have, how many have the time to focus on this?


How much time is spent on recruiting top talent in sport – a lot, as this is a key focus of the team’s current and future success. There are talent scouts whose sole focus is to identify top talent and bring them to the club. A lot of sports have drafts, so the weaker teams can have access to the best of the best and be more competitive.

Once again retailers often let themselves down, by employing bodies and not talent. Sure, it’s a lot tougher but retailers need to have and follow a rigorous process, otherwise the wrong people are employed which causes all sorts of issues.

Retailers can learn a lot from sports teams and become the Melbourne Storm or Richmond Tigers of their industry!

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.