If you’ve watched the Mayweather versus McGregor boxing match, you know the outcome… Floyd Mayweather won… At the top of round 10, it is clear that McGregor was fatigued and just couldn’t withstand the sharp blows from the undefeated opposition. It took me awhile to ponder and think about this match. As a student of success, I wondered how Mayweather “weathered” through his boxing career with a 50-0 record? How did he beat McGregor when it appeared that McGregor was winning in the first 3 rounds? After digging through the clips and videos of the match interviews and commentaries, I realized why. The same reason can be applied to the entrepreneurship world. How did Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates all came out swinging to claim their great legacies? Now, I respect both McGregor and Mayweather’s track records and their athleticism. These two men are true champions of their respective sports but one triumphed the other for the following reasons and the same can be said about any business.
Watching all the pre-match videos gave it all away. Both athletes claimed that they can knock out the opponent in less than 3-4 rounds. A third of the entire boxing match. Connor McGregor is an outstanding UFC fighter. To give you the context, there are maximum of 5 rounds of 5 minute fights in the UFC world. However, this is a modern boxing match. It’s 12 rounds of 3 minutes. The difference is 25 minutes versus 36 minutes respectively. Floyd Mayweather made all the preparation to last the entire 36 minutes or perhaps even more. He had years and years practicing to last up to 36 minutes. At the age that he is in, it’s clear that he has more than 10,000 hours of deep practice into his endurance. You can tell that not a hint of fatigue was shown by Mayweather. On the contrary, take a look at McGregor at the post 25 minute mark. You can start to notice McGregor’s fatigue right away from his facial expressions to his body language. McGregor was not prepared for it. He has half, if not, less than half the amount of practice than Mayweather in terms of endurance in a boxing ring.
In the business world, there’s no time clock and no rounds. It’s 24/7 for 365 days a year. There’s no “break time” or a time for a pause. Your opposition is everywhere. Political, social, competition, environment changes and the list goes on and on. With lack of preparation, your business can take a blow to its existence. Preparation is the key… You must prepare not just for tomorrow, a week from now or even next year. You must make preparation to last at least a century. Even then, you must always be ready for any new changes, opposition and from self-implosion. In the book, Built to Last by Jim Collins, it’s clear as to what successful businesses do. They prepare for the worst. They prepare for the world’s worst recessions. Companies like Coca-Cola has survived because they are always taking new measures to prepare themselves from turbulent times. Always be ready. Have cash reserves, contingency plans, and systems that cushion losses in unpredictable times.
Think Long Term…
One of the things I noticed from the boxing match is the consistency of how much energy is exerted. If you noticed, McGregor went all out in the first 3 rounds. He shot his best “swings” in those 3 rounds as if he only had 3 rounds in mind. He was trying to go for the “kill” like he mentioned in his interviews. Mayweather said the same thing but he knew that it was all just for a marketing ploy to get more viewers. Mayweather didn’t actually believe that he would knock out McGregor in 3 rounds. He had all 12 rounds in mind. McGregor’s mistake was that he expended all of his best swings in the early stages and the remaining rounds were lost to Mayweather. On the flipside, Mayweather staid rather consistent til round 10 when he recognized the kink in McGregor’s consistency of energy. Mayweather saved his best swings for the final opportunity.
In the entrepreneurship world, there are many rookies that try to cash out in the first 3 years. They expect millions of dollars of revenue in their first 3 years as a brand new entrepreneur. Wisdom says that is unlikely to happen. Don’t be the McGregor of the business world. Think long term. The questions you need to be asking is, “What would my business look like in 10 years? 20? 30? 50? How can I continue to scale my business even when I am long gone? How can I stay persistent and where can I remain consistent in best delivering my products/services to my customers?” Too often, the new entrepreneurs start their business with a pipe dream of cashing out early. BIG MISTAKE. Think long years, long hours, long years and long struggles. Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Outliers, express it perfectly. The true champions and the world-class stars are born out a 10,000 hours of deep practice and development. I did the math on this. How many days and hours of work are required to hit the 10,000 hour mark? It came out to be 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for about 3 and a half years. That’s 8 hours of deep practice. Not the fluff or messing around on Facebook and telling yourself that you’re running a business. No, it’s 8 hours of pure development, growth and innovation. Not just activity. I’m talking productivity here. Be the Mayweather of the business world. Have all 12 rounds in mind. Be patient and strike at the right opportunity.
Know thyself and the Opposition
One thing that struck me was at the end of the match when Mayweather talked about his game plan. He had a strategy. He paid very close attention to McGregor and it was all about timing, timing and timing. Mayweather tells the reporter at the end that he stuck with the game plan. He was going to weather through McGregor’s minutes. Remember the 25 minute mark that I mentioned earlier? Mayweather knew himself and his opponent. Mayweather knew that he was prepared for all 12 rounds like I mentioned in the beginning but McGregor wasn’t. When the clock hit the 26 minute mark, Mayweather began his offensive strikes against McGregor in which it looked like a knife cutting right through butter. Had Mayweather went in without a game plan and followed McGregor’s moves by hitting it hard in the first 3-5 rounds, Mayweather may have also followed suit to McGregor’s fatigue and the playing field would have been even. However, it was all about the patience and timing. This was only possible because Mayweather knew himself and his opponent. Sun Tzu says it the best in the book Art of the War (and I’m paraphrasing) “To know thyself, you will lose a battle for every battle that is won but to know thyself and your enemy, you will win thousand battles.”
Your business is like a boxing match without a referee, scoring cards, time limits, a boxing ring or sometimes even rules. It’s a world of fierce competition and champions are rewarded to those that always think long terms. Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Starbucks, and Samsung… All had and still have long term game plans. What we can learn from the McGregor and Mayweather match is patience, preparation, self-awareness and keen timing.
IMAGE CREDIT: Esther Lin @allelbows & ShowTime