Study and keep your attention on whatever it is you’re going into. Build a good team. The team needs to know what it’s doing They need to be people you can trust and people you can work well with.
I don’t have a lot of time for managing [my businesses], so I put a lot of trust in people I hire to manage my businesses. I can’t necessarily attend to [the businesses] while I’m in season. We swap ideas on how we can improve and deliver a better product.
I spend a lot of my downtime studying different businesses and learning from a lot of entrepreneurs when I’m not playing football. They can help me evaluate different ventures to see if they’ll work. I was aggressive with my initial investments, trying to hit a homerun each time. But now, I’m stepping back and being more patient, giving them due diligence.
I tend to go with things people need. Obviously with the barbershop, people will need haircuts regardless of the economy. In a down economy, I choose businesses that don’t require a lot of start-up cash or a cash injection on a regular basis. They might need some initially, but not often after. Rental of properties is a good business in a down economy as people struggle with mortgages.
The NFL has done a great job in giving players information on how to go to a second career after football and how to invest their money while they’re playing to ensure when their career is over, that they have something else in place to fall back on. One of the big things the NFL does is promote education in different fields.
Partnerships can be very big. The relationships you cultivate can help. If you put together a business plan that makes sense and that you can present to other people, they may be able to help you out, especially if you’re short of cash. Angel investors, perhaps, may help. You may not have to go through a traditional bank. If you’re not able to secure funding, you can get up under someone who has experience, learn from that person, and work your way up.