Fran Tarkenton Growing a Successful Business Stephen Lahey Smallbiztalent.comThese are highlights from last week’s podcast interview of Fran Tarkenton by Stephen Lahey on Small Business Talent. These are direct quotes:

  1. When your mission is to help people, you’ve got a sustainable business plan because the byproduct of that is that they will do business with you and they will find your products and services valuable and they will pay you money for that and then you have a chance to make a profit.
  2. There are no silver bullets. When someone comes to me and says, “I’ve got the greatest idea, the greatest this or that, and come join my deal and I’m going to make you a billion dollars overnight, it’s easy,” I run. And maybe I’ll miss some really good deals, but this is rule number three to our people. There are no silver bullets.
  3. Reinvent yourself every day. We’ve got to be more relevant every day. We’ve got to be smarter every day. The world is fun today. It’s fast. Creative. Innovative. I mean, ten years ago we thought we were going to be dependent on oil and gas from the Middle east for the rest of our lives and now we’re looking at oil independence. Technology is changing and we’re doing things now technology-wise that we’d have never dreamed of. And so we’ve got to understand, as entrepreneurs, we’ve got to get smarter. We’ve got to reach out. We’ve got to talk to more people.
  4. You learn from your failures more than you learn from your successes. I learned more from losing than I did from winning because when we win we don’t question things. We say that’s just the way it is, everything worked. I did everything right. Well, we never do everything right. So you learn more from your failures than from your successes. Don’t let your failures get you down, it’s a great, great learning experience.
  5. Nothing takes the place of hard work. We’re not digging ditches here in the entrepreneurial world. We’re out helping people. We’re doing good work, work that should stir our soul. I love to come to work every day. I will never retire

I love those last two sentences (emphasis there is mine) especially because they come from a 73-year-old role model, a tireless worker, and a business leader. I just met him a couple of months ago in a meeting hosted by Office Depot about its, which features Fran as a business coach. He’s very effective at running a meeting.

And yes, if you recognize that name, that’s the same Fran Tarkenton who was the MVP of the NFL in 1975 and is now in the pro football hall of fame.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.