How to Be a Successful Business Owner: Tips from a Former NFL Player

How to Be a Successful Business Owner: Tips from a Former NFL Player

Life is full of highs and lows, a roller coaster riveted with thrills and chills. Some of us go on to become a successful football player, retire from the NFL, start a business venture that becomes worth millions, then make a business decision that slams you into filing for bankruptcy. Alright, that’s one specific roller coaster with some steep climbs and a catastrophic, quick drop that did not end with cheers. Nevertheless, Marques Ogden was right up front for the ride.

“I made that one catastrophic bad decision that ended up taking me on a downward, financial ,emotional spiral,” Ogden said. “I ended up losing my home, my cars and filed for bankruptcy.”

As a previous NFL player, some wonder how it was possible for someone like Ogden to end up in such a jam. Unfortunately, about 80 percent of former NFL players go bankrupt after one or two years of retirement, according to a Sports Illustrated article. This is a frightening number and Odgen became a statistic.

Before becoming an NFL player, Ogden graduated from Howard University with a degree in Finance before he started playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003. In 2008, Ogden started a construction company that skyrocketed in five years. Eventually, he took on a project from one of the largest contractors in the nation. In 90 days, he spent 2 million dollars on the project and never got paid back.

Ogden could of just as well given up but instead he fought to get his life back. After experiencing the ups and downs of being a business owner, he is now a motivational speaker and aims to one day speak at the same conference alongside his idol Tony Robbins. Not only does he teach people how to be successful business owners, he also wrote his autobiography “Sleepless Nights”, which became a best seller on Amazon.

“Life is full of ups and downs so try to remain balanced as much as you can,” Ogden said. “Try to have an even keel attitude and emotional stability.”

“That’s gonna help you get far in life.”

Of course it wasn’t easy for Ogden to get to where he is now, when at one point he had lost confidence in himself, he says. Fortunately with new goals, such as getting his next book on the New York Times Bestseller list and becoming a full-time speaker to help others be successful, he is off to another great start.

Here are some of Ogden’s tips of what not to do when you own a business:

Who are you going into business with?

Get to know your potential business partner before you dive into a new venture. This is a huge investment and knowing your business partner will make a world of a difference.

Are you an expert in the industry you want your business in?

Never go into a business that you don’t know like the back of your hand. Do not rely on your employees, business partner or outside people to know how your business should run. If someone ends up not being trustworthy or reliable, you need to be able to take the reins to keep your business functioning.

Are you hiring qualified and reliable employees?

Make sure to conduct background checks and make calls out to people who have worked closely with a potential employer. Without checking an employee, they can turn out to not be a good fit for your company and eventually must be let go. Hiring and firing employees too often gives others a bad impression of your business. Don’t be a “merry-go-round” in business.

Are you properly and adequately funded?

Starting and owning a business needs solid funding to ensure its success. If your business can’t afford taking on a project that is more than 20 percent its net worth, stay away. You should avoid putting in personal finances into a business that should be self-sustaining.

Is it time to walk away?

Know when to walk away. Don’t stay in a business that is not generating or creating revenue for you or for your company. You are at risk of accumulating debt that can later be crippling.

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Hazel Ramos
Hazel Ramos is completing her B.A. in Journalism at the University of Houston.

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