Founded in 1996 by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz.com has helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. They currently serve more than 47,000 small business owners across the U.S. and Canada. Peach State has partnered with GoSmallBiz to provide tools that can help you run your business more efficiently. We’re excited to share this guest blog post from Fran.
One of the most important themes in my life has been continual learning and reinvention. As a quarterback in the NFL for 18 years, I had to continually learn to improve my game and overcome what defenses were trying to do against me.
But you don’t learn to play quarterback just any way you want. You learn it by working with and talking to other quarterbacks. So who did I go to when I was looking for insight? I went to my fellow quarterbacks. I learned from the great players in previous generations, who had done it before, like Otto Graham. I talked to my peers, like Don Meredith and Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr, to learn what they were doing. And I learned from coaches who understood the game, like Don Shula and Vince Lombardi. I reinvented myself and improved my game all the time, which helped me succeed over a long career through many changes in the league.
As my football career ended, I had to reinvent myself. I had worked during offseasons, and began starting businesses during the second half of my time in the NFL, and became an entrepreneur full-time. I learned how to start and run a business, and I did it the same way I learned how to play quarterback—by learning from people who had experience in business. I found mentors who had done it before and talked to them—listened to them—and learned the fundamentals of becoming a small business entrepreneur.
I had the good fortune to learn from some of the best businesspeople of my lifetime. I learned marketing at The Coca-Cola Company. I learned from the great Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. I talk to small business owners every day, in every kind of business, to learn about what they’re doing, and ways I can get better in my own business. I have learned at every opportunity I had, and today, 36 years after retiring from football, my life in business has been every bit as rewarding as my time in the NFL.
Being able to reinvent yourself is so important for everyone. We always have to be looking for ways to get better, both improving at what we’re doing now and preparing for new opportunities. Now I’m 75 years old, and the secret is that I’m still learning and reinventing myself. In fact, I’m learning at a faster rate today than at any point in my life. I have new ideas, and the passion to go do something new every day.
We’re never finished learning. If we are finished learning and are no longer open to new ideas and new opportunities, what’s the point? And that’s what I’ve dedicated my life to for the past 19 years—helping people learn and reinvent themselves to build better businesses. I hope all of you continue to see yourselves as lifetime learners. Whatever you’re doing, think about ways to improve every day. And look for new opportunities to reinvent yourself—life always has new things in store to reward us!