The best plays are sometimes the ones that you don’t make

Yes, you can learn business lessons from video games- hooray! During a recent game of Madden on Xbox, after the virtual version of Peyton Manning threw the ball to the sidelines, instead of risking an interception in a well-covered formation, Chris Collinsworth’s voice boomed out, “Sometimes, the best plays are the ones you don’t make”.

This also rings true in business. Sometimes, walking away from a potential opportunity is the MOST valuable thing that you can do.

Bad Decisions Can Create Serious Damage

Bringing on a bad partner, hiring a rogue employee whom your gut (or your background check) told you was trouble, or dumping money into an expensive project with suspect odds of success can all wreak havoc on your business.

Just like it is better for a quarterback to throw away the ball than to give up an interception, sometimes doing nothing is more favorable than making a really bad decision. Give yourself enough time to make decisions, do your homework and create appropriate risk and reward tradeoffs, so that any decision gone awry does not become a fatal error.

Opportunity Cost

How many times have you been tempted to chase every last client, offer discounted services or work with a customer that had proven to be difficult, litigious, a time sink and/or a bad payer? By doing that, there is an opportunity cost- real the value that you give up by using your time for the task at hand. Opportunity costs could mean lost revenue or even lost free time.

Saying “yes” to projects, tasks or customers has a real tradeoff cost involved with it. If you take on a customer that requires extra handholding that you are not getting paid for, that extra time could be used for something else. Sometimes, it is wise not to “make the play” and hold the ball until a better opportunity comes along.

What plays have you not made in business that turned out to your advantage? Please share your stories.