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Special to | March 17, 2014

Making a winning game plan


There’s a moment in basketball just before the ball is tipped. It’s full of possibility but also uncertainty. As the game progresses, fans are constantly running different scenarios through their minds. Will that missed free throw lead to a loss? Will an opposing team’s player fouling out in the last few minutes mean a win in the last few seconds? More importantly, how will this win or loss define the rest of the season? Did this win push their team into the best seed to put them on the path to the Final Four? If fans have this many questions and more, then just imagine how many questions players have.

No one had more questions before the Championship Game of the 1990 NCAA Final Four Tournament than UPS Brand Ambassador Greg Anthony. His future as a player could certainly be buoyed by a win, but his first venture out as an entrepreneur quite literally relied on a win. Once it became clear that his team could be playing for a national championship, Anthony and a couple of friends decided to debut their T-shirt company after the game. A win would potentially catapult them to success. A loss would mean little publicity and a rocky start.

“We basically printed up 15 T-shirts and 15 hats and I had them in a little box,” Anthony said. “I gave them to our equipment manager and told him to give them to all the guys towards the end of the game. It was a big challenge, as it is for most small businesses, because we basically leveraged everything we had.”

Small business owners know the feeling of putting it all on the line when the outcome is up in the air — just like that tipped basketball at the start of a game. Even if the end result is good for business, there’s always the chance for bumps in the road. An unexpected loss in the regular season or the sudden departure of a key partner has the ability to throw a wrench into plans.

“Just like in practice before the game, you’re going to run into things over the course of being a small business owner that there’s no manual for,” Anthony said. “The end result doesn’t necessarily always show you what the process is like, but a lot of the rules I learned as I started that small business are things I still utilize today.”

One thing Anthony learned early on from a business mentor was the importance of prioritization and not overwhelming yourself. You may not be able to do everything yourself, whether on the court or in the boardroom, but having balance and letting members of your team help you along the way can make all the difference.

“Teamwork plays a role in building a small business,” Anthony said. “Ultimately, nobody does anything on their own.”

That’s where UPS Small Business Solutions can come into play. Having UPS as a member of your team can free up time and money that you as a small business owner can put towards growing your company and finding success. Building a team you can trust to want to grow your business can make all the difference.

Anthony cites a few traits such as passion, trust and compassion as the keys to his game plan for success in any business plan. As a UPS Brand Ambassador, he has identified those elements in UPS and our solutions.

“When you have those elements, then that is when you’re setting yourself up to have tremendous success,” Anthony said. “Those are traits that I look for in both the people and the companies I’m associated with.”

Winning a national championship was exhilarating for Anthony as both a player and an entrepreneur.

“You get a tremendous sense of pride because, while you definitely get guidance and advice from others, this is also something that you and your partners have built from the ground up,” Anthony said. “We had invested all of our time, effort and energy. The end of it all was a payoff that was almost equally as rewarding as winning the national championship. They are very similar in that you put everything into it with no guarantee that you’ll ultimately win.”

Anthony was clearly successful on both fronts, and he is someone who also knows the sleepless nights and hard work that goes into building a startup. UPS is proud to partner with hundreds of small businesses and start-ups across the globe. Through all of the questions, trepidation and success, UPS will be there with the assist to help you win.

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