One of the joys of teaching at Belmont is that I get to keep in touch with so many of our alumni. I offer my students a life time warranty on their entrepreneurship education, which translates into my willingness to continue to help them out on their entrepreneurial journey after they leave our campus. We have made a policy in our program to never charge for consulting with alumni businesses and to never take an ownership stake in their firms.
I met for lunch yesterday with my former student Adam Wynia. Adam was a member of the Belmont golf team. His final business plan in our program dealt with becoming a professional golfer. He has been working to implement this plan by playing the developmental professional golf tours since graduation.
Adam also is doing some golf teaching. He is part of a program that teaches golf in a rather unconventional manner. It is an approach that takes a rather holistic approach, focusing less on the technical details of the golf swing and more on how the body works together to get a natural, consistent, predictable swing.
The philosophy they take is that the golf swing starts with the ankles, which must work with the legs to help open the hips and get the proper shoulder turn. The arms and hands are just an extension of the proper movement from the rest of the body. Too many golfers focus only on their arms and hands. It takes the whole body working together to get a consistent swing.
Adam said that by focusing on the golf swing this way, the golfer is able to focus on balance. With the body being balanced, the body can swing naturally and consistently.
I know….this is supposed to be a blog about entrepreneurship, not golf. But, this has been such a long winter that spring fever has hit me hard and it seems that I can’t get my mind off of golf!
As I listened to Adam describe how they teach the golf swing it dawned on me that this is how I am trying to teach entrepreneurship.
The proper golf swing begins with the ankles, which provide the proper foundation needed for balance. A new venture needs to start with a solid foundation, which comes from proper fundamental assessment of the opportunity — Is this idea a real business opportunity?
With a proper foundation, the legs, hips and shoulders can all work together to get the proper swing while staying in balance. In a new venture, it is the business model that defines how all of the parts need to work together — in balance, if you will — to meet the needs of the market.
If you do everything in balance with your ankles, legs, hips and shoulders, your arms and hands will follow. The result is a consistent, predictable swing. Think of your business plan as your arms and hands — it is the natural extension of getting the opportunity assessment and business model right, thus ensuring that all parts of the venture are working together.
Adam said that only focusing on your arms and hands will not lead to a consistent swing.
Likewise, focusing only on the technical details of the business plan will not lead to a predictable entry into the market.