Tiki Barber shares 4 lessons from football that have helped him grow his business

GettyImages 120980659Tom Berg/GettyTiki Barber rushed for over 10,000 yards and scored 55 touchdowns in his 10 seasons with the New York Giants.

Hanging up his cleats in 2006 did not mean fully parting from competition for New York Giants star running back Tiki Barber.

He entered an equally competitive arena: that of business.

In 2012, Barber cofounded Thuzio, which provides businesses and professionals with an all access pass to celebrity talent through database, booking, and event services.

What began as a six-person company in the basement of a town house in New York City is now a thriving business. And much of Barber’s entrepreneurial success can be attributed to the skills he picked up after 10 years in the NFL, he tells Business Insider.

Here are four key lessons he learned from professional football that he applies to business today:

1. Collaborate.

“Collaboration, and not having pride or ownership when you’re trying to accomplish a common goal, is critical for success in football and business,” Barber says.

Just as each of his football teammates owned their specific role to create an efficient team, Barber looks to create a well-rounded and diversified business team, which is why he hires and collaborates with people who have a specific strength that he does not.

2. Fail hard and learn from it.

It’s impossible to win every football game. A career in sports will inevitably be littered with losses and failures.

“The same thing happens in entrepreneurship,” says Barber. ” You have great ideas and grand designs to do exactly this, and then you realise that it’s not quite right.” When you reach a roadblock, you have to learn to pivot, change, and find the right path, he explains: “You have to keep pounding the rock until you get success.”

3. Jump on every opportunity.

“When you see an inefficiency — when you see something you can take advantage of — grab that opportunity and create something,” says Barber.

Tiki barberAndrew Burton/Getty ImagesTiki Barber cofounded Thuzio in 2012 with Mark Gerson.

In business and sports, all it takes is a fraction of a second for the tables to turn. The ability to capitalise on even the smallest of opportunities could determine whether or not you’re successful, Barber says.

4. Establish a routine.

“In sports, there are so many variables — weather or an injury, for example — that can derail your focus,” explains Barber. “Creating a routine helps you limit the amount of things that can go awry. The same things can happen in business. Try to keep things as regular as possible so that the problems that arise don’t completely knock the ship off course.”

While Barber’s routines have significantly changed since his playing days, he still has daily staples that give him structure and the feeling that he’s always standing on solid ground.

Here’s what a typical day for Barber looks like:

1. He reads the New York Times every morning on his commute. “As a radio host, current events and sports are always important.”

2. He hydrates with at least two full cups of water, and never skips breakfast.

3. The first thing he does upon arriving to his office is to check email and tag anything that he needs to respond to.

4. Following his CBS Sports Radio show, which airs on weekdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm, he calls his wife to check on her and their daughter Brooklyn.

5. He responds to the tagged emails.

6. He finishes a workout, either a run or lift. “I’ve been hooked on running lately. I’m in the middle of the NYC Borough Series, and have the NYC Marathon coming up in November.”

7. After the workday, he rocks his daughter to sleep by singing “bad renditions of ‘Fly Me To The Moon,’ ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business,’ and ‘Rock-a-bye Baby.'”

8. He lays out his outfit for the next day to get a jump on the following morning.

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