Keep your flex spot open until the Sunday or Monday night games. In my 12 years of playing fantasy football that’s one of the key lessons I’ve learned. Oh, don’t berate or belittle me because I’m a 50ish man playing a game that many think is for boys. In fact, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 59.3 million people in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports in 2017 and the average age is 32. Half have college degrees and make $75,000 a year or more. So, we’re not just kids and we aren’t dummies. What’s more is that fantasy sports is a great and fun tool for business owners to utilize for sharpening valuable business skills they need every day to run their businesses.

If you’ll entertain me for a few minutes I might convince you of the merits of playing fantasy sports.

  1. Every business owner needs a hobby. I consider fantasy football a pleasant distraction. It’s something to occupy my time and my mind in the down times. Work, family, chores, personal and spiritual growth all consume our time, but sometimes you just want and need to turn it all off. Some people binge watch Netflix (and at times I do, too), but during football season I’m all about the fantasy. As a business owner, you need to occasionally disconnect from the daily grind of managing employees, making payroll, and pleasing customers. Fantasy sports is a perfect and safe outlet in which to escape and recharge.
  2. Every business owner needs camaraderie. I’ve made great friends playing the game, some I never would have met otherwise. More importantly, with so many divisive issues in our world today, fantasy sports unite people and give us something to talk about. It provides an opportunity and foundation to build lasting friendships. As a business owner fantasy sports is a great way to build rapport with your staff. Host a work league with your employees and offer a prize to the winner. You will create common ground amongst a diverse cross-section of people. When working on your business skills, don’t lose sight of the most important aspect of your business-your employees.
  3. Every business owner needs to learn the art of negotiations. The biggest thrill of fantasy sports is making trades with other team owners. You improve your team by picking up the leftovers on the waiver wire or by making trades. The trading skill you acquire over the years is invaluable because you are always negotiating for something even if it’s the last piece of apple pie at the company picnic. Closely tied to this idea is the art of persuasion-convincing (yes, there is more art than science in that skill) the other team owner that the trade offer is as good for him as it is for you. A business owner is always using the business skills of negotiation and persuasion. Fantasy sports is a fun training tool.
  4. Every business owner needs to develop his analytical skills. Deciding which player to draft, who to acquire off waivers, who to seek as trade targets, what the different player stats mean, which team owners are the best trade partners, which players have the best match-ups, what players have the highest breakout potential if certain things fall their way, how to manage bye weeks, and how to analyze many other variables to act upon makes for a successful fantasy season. Being the General Manager of a fantasy sports team has a few similarities to managing remote employees and running a business. Business owners have to evaluate resumes and employment applications when hiring; they measure work performance when promoting and giving raises to employees; they analyze job budgets to determine which contracts are making and losing money; they assess and decide on vendors and they determine how to best invest their resources. (If you manage remote employees, our call in time clock system gives you all of the tools to help make many of these important business decisions). These business skills can make or break you. Build them up while you are laying around on Sunday afternoon watching football.
  5. Every business owner needs to learn conflict resolution skills. In 12 years of fantasy football, there has been some conflict almost every year. Twelve super competitive guys fighting for a $1000 prize- conflicts will arise. A tilted trade happens that upsets other owners; an owner does something questionable for which there’s no clear rule; a team owner may quit mid-season; an owner may violate a clearly stated rule; or the fantasy site may score a player differently than league expectations or handle a waiver wire add different than expected, etc., etc. There are countless issues that could arise that will require conflict management. The aim is for everyone to have a great time and successfully work through issues for a  good season. It goes without saying that a business owner will encounter conflicts with employees, customers and vendors. Fantasy sports will definitely render the opportunity to sharpen business skills of conflict resolution. Also, your spouse will thank me later.

One more tidbit of advice. Don’t send a lot of lop-sided trade offers to other team owners. You will get a bad reputation and will lose trust as a viable trade partner. And certainly, if you are a business owner with remote employees, let us help you put together and keep a winning team with our clock in and clock out employee management system.

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