Former NFL Star Says Small Businesses Can Thrive on Adversity


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Athletes and small business people have a lot in common. That’s what an ex-NFL player concluded when he hung up the cleats to work as a broadcaster/entrepreneur and consultant.

Jordan Babineaux is a former NFL defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks. And he’s the author of Pivot to Win: Make the Big Plays in Life, Sports & Business.

Small Business Trends contacted him to find out how small business owners can thrive on the same ingredients he’s used to succeed.

“We are all constantly pivoting whether we realize it or not,” he says.  “The one constant thing in life is change. Pivoting away from the NFL was one of the biggest challenges for me. I had to redefine success.”

Former NFLer Jordan Babineaux Offers Advice to Small Business Owners

Babineaux started out with a big hill to climb.

“Growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, I was surrounded by drug abuse, addictions, violence, economic ruins, and living on government assistance,” Babineaux says. “The streets were a much faster way to make money. In Pivot to Win, I share the story of losing my dad at eight.”

From those beginnings, his family learned how to make the most of misfortune.

“We learned from how Mama faced adversity every day,” he says. “No matter what you face, embrace it. Learn how to make the best of it and move on. It’s the only way to build grit and emotional resilience.”

The lessons he’s learned through life and sports have helped him achieve business success. Babineaux  is a broadcaster/entrepreneur and consultant.

So, what goes into his recipe for small business success?

“As a small business, the greatest asset you have, aside from your human capital, is your support group,” he says. “ It’s hard to compete with mega-giant companies. Your competitive edge is how well you build and establish strong relationships.”

He says having a performance partner and/or accountability group in another industry helps. Another box to check on his list is a familiar one

“Persistence is a lifelong practice for chasing something you desire. We’ve all failed at something. But, our shortcomings don’t make us failures,” Babineaux tells us.

Develop a Routine

Babineaux also says developing a routine is important. They don’t need to be perfect and you can always modify them as you go along.

“What do you do when you get to the office to start a meeting,” he asks. “Or before you give a big presentation to land a client?”

Growth is another important element. Babineaux says understanding where you are presently is a good place to start. He stresses that business and personal growth is a voyage.


“None of us start anything we do as the end version of the person we desire to be,” he says. “There are lessons in the experiences, successes, and failures of the journey. Be open to understanding what works well and what doesn’t. Then make the necessary adjustments.”

Finally he highlights the effort needed from everyone for business success.

“I was fortunate to play on championship teams with great teammates and coaches. I recognized that it takes the entire organization to create, develop, and curate a winning culture. The only way an organization can achieve ultimate success is by teamwork,” he says.

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Image: Jordan Babineaux

Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.