When referring to a business, my acid test is always checking the BI-Triangle that Robert Kiyosaki shares in his books. If every piece of the BI-Triangle works, I have no doubt in my mind that the business will be successful.
For those of you unfamiliar with the BI-Triangle, this is how it looks like:
It is called the BI-Triangle, where BI stands for Business owner and Investor. I highly suggest you read his book “Cashflow Quadrant“, where he explains the different people profiles when it comes to financial freedom.
As we can see, in order for a business to work, or an investment to be considered, it must have all pieces of the triangle in order. In order for a business to run, it must have a product or service that is demanded by a market niche. No customers, no business, that is why this is at the top of the pyramid. A business must be compliant with all state and federal regulations in order to be active. If you are about to start a business or invest in a business that is not legal, stop reading my blog and go somewhere else please. A system is the core and heart of a business, to understand the value of a system, think of how many people can make a better hamburger than McDonald’s, and then think of how many people can have a better business than McDonald’s, not many. Communications, you can bring Lady Gaga to give a concert in your town, but if you don’t tell anybody, chances are, no one will pay for a ticket. Communications is not only advertising, not anymore anyways, it is more and more a two-way conversation, where a business must listen first, in order to talk to customers. People skills are highly demanded. And cashflow, the business must be lean and have a good financing system in order to run properly.
Yet this is only the beginning, a great team must be formed with great leadership and with a clear mission in order to grow. There is a reason why team and leadership intersect right above product. How many times have we seen bad leadership ruin businesses? Happens all the time. Also, have you ever faced a group leader and said… there is something about this person that makes me know that he / she will be successful. Investors often say, wrong product, but right team. Some investors decide to invest in talent rather than product, because they know that eventually they will figure it out and come up with something big.
Kiyosaki himself went trough that, he was the right person, not building the BI-Triangle properly. At the beginning of his wallet business, he went broke because he didn’t have the right patents, so his legal part of the pyramid was not working. Some people might say, “but he didn’t know”, to which the law will answer, “ignorance is not an excuse”, and I agree. Having done this, he dropped his wallet business, and moved on to something else, writing many top seller books along with Rich Dad Poor Dad, among other businesses and investments. This is why he is a very successful businessman now.
Now let’s focus on the sports side of this post. A professional athlete must have different facets in order to be successful. I came up with a pyramid similar to Kiyosaki’s, and I’d like to share it with you. As I always like to say in my blog, it’s all arguable, this is just my opinion, and I invite you to share your thoughts:
Think of any successful athlete that you admire and assess his / her story with the Sports Triangle. For practical usage, I’ll pick Andre Agassi for my assessment. Also, I’ll use some of his quotes to give you a better picture.
In my last post, “What adrenaline means to business and sports” I discussed how the human body reacts to adrenaline and provokes feelings that lead to passion. An athlete without passion would never excel at a given sport, because he / she would not be willing to go the distance, to give it all up for a sport. Andre Agassi was a true example of what it takes to be successful in tennis. When he used to play, he would electrify the audience with his game, no only by great plays but also by emotions. The body and the mind must be aligned in order to display such emotive feelings, and he transmitted that to the audience, and to his opponents, leading to his success.
QUOTE: “My father actually moved out from Chicago just so he could play tennis 365 days a year, so it was – it was a place we played every day. We played before school. We played after school. We woke up. We played tennis. We brushed our teeth in that order”.
If there is no preparation, there will be no luck, because luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Agassi was ready at the early age of 16 to go professional, and in his first year as a pro, he made it to the 91st place in the world rankings. Preparation was key for him to become such a champion, but the next slot in the sports triangle is the one that I consider most important, and that is talent. Talent is, like systems, the heart of success in sports. Andre Agassi’s Dad had saved money for him to go to a tennis camp, where he would stay only for 3 months, because that’s all they could afford. After 10 minutes of watching him play, Nick Bolletieri (coach of tennis’ best players) said “take your check back, he’s here for free”. It was pure talent, the minute he got there. Maybe he was born with talent, maybe he developed it, but what is important for us is to find that talent in ourselves.
QUOTE: “If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win”.
Now, what is talent without perseverance? Nothing. I have seen many great prospects in different sports fail, quit, whine, fall into complacency or become overconfident, but those who remain perseverant, humble and constantly learning are the ones that succeed. Andre was one of those, he stayed hungry, went the distance, stayed focused and won game by game. Like the rest of tennis players, he started from the bottom of the ranking, and made it into number 1 going head to toe with Pete Sampras and Boris Becker to name a few. He never gave up, even if it was against the ropes defending a rival’s match point. Trust me, it pays off.
QUOTE: “I question myself every day. That’s what I still find motivating about this. I don’t have the answers, I don’t pretend that I do just because I won the match. Just keep fighting and maybe something good happens”.
Last but not least, mental strength. Andre Agassi won one gold olympic medal, 60 titles, and from those, 10 grand slams. One of the most winning players that the sport of tennis has ever seen, but it wouldn’t have been possible without his immense mental strength. Winning takes a lot of concentration, focusing on the positive rather than on the negative, and becoming number 1 worldwide, requires mental toughness every day of the week, and like any other business, you must know your competition, your strenghts, your weaknesses, objectives defined, strategy to accomplish them, and when winning, how to stay focused and keep growing, finding new challenges. Andre Agassi is one clear example to define the sports triangle.
QUOTE: “Being number two sucks”.
I hope you like this post, feel free to share your comments, and to share this blog with those that you consider could benefit from reading.
All my best,