#Winning Your Super Bowl

What does it take to be a contender at the highest level of competition? We've got two experts who dish 5 strategies to take you from pretender to contender, plus seed industry leaders who give insight as to their Super Bowl and the prep it takes to win.

For the past 54 years, national football teams have gone head to head to determine which one is the best, culminating in what we know as the Super Bowl. This year the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers for Super Bowl LIV in Miami. On Sunday, viewers will witness each team’s strength, speed, agility and mental prowess — all the direct result of intense planning and preparation.

Both teams have not only been training and preparing for the past few weeks and months leading up to the big kickoff, but also for the entire year. Each practice, each team meeting, each game review is a building block that has led to their success.

Business leaders can take a similar approach to scoring touchdowns and winning big. Authors of “Prep for Success: the Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams,” Paul Trapp and Steve Davis share five strategies that can take your business from pretender to contender.

“The importance of preparation for success in business is much like it is for professional sports teams trying to win a championship,” says Trapp, co-founder and CEO of EventPrep, Inc. “Every single significant opportunity in life is a Super Bowl if you really want to be successful.”

As an example, the New England Patriots frequently reach the Super Bowl, but that wouldn’t happen without intentional practice every week, watching countless hours of video and rising above the pain and struggles that come with high-level competition.

“Being prepared for every situation along the way leads to earning their biggest opportunity, and it’s the same way for businesses looking for big opportunities to grow,” Trapp says. “The key to mastering the art of preparation is constant practice.”

Here are Davis and Trapp’s 5 Strategies to win your Super Bowl:

1. Become a disruptor.

“You want your business to standout from the competition,” Trapp says. “To do that, ask yourself, ‘How can my company disrupt the industry? How do we position ourselves in the marketplace so that people will go out of their way to do business with us?’”

2. Attract the right talent.

Picking the right person — one who can be a long-term employee vital to the company’s success — should be a low and strategic process. “For a business owner, hiring people is very much like investing,” says Davis, co-founder, president and COO of EventPrep. “Before you offer someone a job, do research, check references and ask many questions. Do people you are considering have the attitude and motivation to succeed? Would they be a good fit with your existing culture?”

3. Establish a winning culture.

“A business culture is created at the top and cascades downward,” Davis says. “It takes great effort and dedication to build a winning business culture where everyone feels valued as contributors. It goes beyond the professional relationship to the personal — showing compassion for employees in times of need, and recognizing exceptional efforts with tangible rewards.”

4. Befriend Murphy.

As in Murphy’s Law — “Anything that can wrong, will go wrong.” Although all businesses encounter problems in a variety of ways, Trapp says, a strong organization can properly prepare in a way to withstand them and solve them quickly. “Because Murphy is going to show up in any number of forms,” Trapp says, “when preparing to do anything, there has to be a list of solutions in place before a problem ever happens.”

5. Recognize and seize opportunities.

“The key to seizing an opportunity is identifying a need greater than your own — that of your customer,” Davis says. “Imagine you meet someone who can help you solve a need because he or she has the tools and experience to give you what you really need. Think about what real estate agents do for home buyers. They ask specific questions about what the clients are looking for, relate to their excitement about finding the right kind of home and create a vision of that.

“Preparedness is the key in any and all situations,” Trapp says. “The only way you learn and grow as an individual and as a business, is to perfect your unique abilities and a team’s winning strategies through reputation.”

As an international exporter of forage seeds, preparation is done throughout the year to develop and improve products that can be marketed around the world, says Matthew Malin of Desert Sun Marketing Company. Malin explains, from the developmental stages of a new variety through the execution of growing and selling, it's a lot like getting to the “Big Game.”

"Preparation is just like a playbook for the big game," he says. "You may not have everything ready for execution, but you are developing the concept. We spend years developing our playbook, discussing with new and existing customers what their needs are, what the market is missing and how to take a non-existent product and make it a reality."

Malin says the developmental stage is the early stages during the breeding process.

"At this point, we are working directly with the breeder and to create a product that will stand above the rest," he says. "It could be higher yield potential, better feed quality, drought, disease, or insect tolerance depending on market demands."

Once the variety makes the cut, he says the planting season begins, of which many unknowns must be dealt with. Toward the end of the season, only the strongest varieties will harvest and make it to market.

"I consider this our Super Bowl since there is so much build up to this," Malin says, "and if you are not prepared, you will not succeed.

"There are many complexities and there will always be some surprises but you have to be prepared, flexible and able to conquer any challenges that arise from delays to port strikes and shortage of crop."

Malin says it's only when the last shipment gets out the door and arrives to the customer can they take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of the season along with what improvements will be made for next season. However, he adds, there is very little time to rest though as the new season is about to begin.

A Super Bowl win for New West Genetics is successful seed production, shares Wendy Mosher, New West Genetics president and CEO.

She explains that they've been doing a lot of heavy lifting and preparing for the past six years. This work has focused on connecting the whole supply chain and filling in if a partner doesn't exist, which still happens in some regions.

"A win for us is the alignment of sales with grower contracts, enough of the right genetics for the right location, the regulatory applications are filed on-time, the production inputs are at appropriate levels, the combine works, the drying is quick and the seed conditioner is a quality one and accepts hemp," she says. "When all those pieces come together, then it's a TOUCHDOWN!"

But she emphasizes, that's just one part of winning the big game.

"Then we need a whole other system for our breeding plots," Mosher says.

"My Super Bowl is the client call to present varieties for licensing," shares Bryan Gerard, president of JoMar Seeds and Gerard Seed Solutions. "The variety presentation is a culmination of very detailed preparation. A 'study' of the new data is not a road to success."

Gerard says the process is detailed and lengthy. For him, it includes:

  • Studying the initial data provided by the breeder.
  • Walking yield trials 3-5 times, taking extensive notes. "This is the key activity contributor to our success and the most time consuming," he adds.
  • Reviewing the new data, adding to the database and combining numbers with notes to determine adaptability and a success profile for the variety.
  • Creating a strategic plan for the variety and each customer.

"When I walk into the client call, I don't have to 'read' a fact sheet to the customer," Gerard shares. "All the preparation allows for a free flowing conversation that leads to a more successful interaction and places the customer in a better position to be successful with their lineup."

"At BASF, our season kicks off with our customer and research trials — planting with the right seed treatment package protects our seeds like a helmet protects its players. When the seed emerges, it's the play-offs. This is the time to see which teams (or treatments) are looking strong. Harvest is our Super Bowl! The excitement and hard work throughout the year culminate with final yield results," says Justin Clark, BASF technical field manager - seed treatments.

"Our team work and roster of seed treatments protect each seed and maximize potential. Yearly trials are an important part of our R&D innovation and commitment to providing growers with new plays and tools each season."

"Our Super Bowl is easy — it's winning with customers long term," says Bruce Howison, Wyffels Hybrids vice president of sales and marketing. "Our mission is to relentless work together to support growers in the pursuit of a more productive and profitable corn crop. By doing this we have achieved industry leading customer retention and high share of farms."

Wyffels steps to prepare include:

  • A continuous relationship, meaning it never stops. The seed order is just a step in the journey.
  • Discovery, meaning you are always learning more about your customer, helping them to succeed.
  • Pre call planning. What's the game plan and what will success look like?

"We truly focus on customer growth," Howison says. "When we get it, the units come along for the ride."

Do you know your Super Bowl strategy?