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Fran Tarkenton
NFL Football Hall of Fame

In his best-selling book, What Losing Taught Me About Winning, Fran Tarkenton says, "I have yet to hear a small-business entrepreneur, or any sort of entrepreneur for that matter, complain about being up to his ears in cash with nowhere to spend it."

" Every business has a cash crunch at one time or another. That is why I think it is so vital to develop your financial 'horse sense' early on so that you do not have to rely on money, money, money to keep your business alive."

Tarkenton continued, "I don't think it does an entrepreneur any good, particularly in the early going, to be able to buy his or her way out of problems."

The way around borrowing and buying your way out of problems is to leverage your relationships. "As a small-business entrepreneur, you have to learn not to limit yourself or your thinking when it comes to marketing and advertising your business," he emphasized.

"You cannot be parochial or narrowly focused. You can't operate in a protective crouch while all of those businesses around you, both big and small, are reaching out and joining forces wherever possible."

The Hall-of-Fame quarterback believes that most entrepreneurs are natural born horse-traders. When they need something for their businesses, they are far more likely to look for a trade than to reach for their wallets.

"I've been bartering all my life," claimed Tarkenton. "In my rookie season in the NFL, we got a couple tickets for each game to give to family and friends, but for one of my first games I traded my tickets for a sofa and some chairs for our apartment."

"Most of our vacations were actually trips paid for by companies who footed the bill in exchange for me playing a few rounds of golf with their executives, or giving a speech to their seminar or convention group."

"You don't have to be a celebrity to leverage your assets," Tarkenton pointed out. "I'll bet you do have something you can leverage to market your product in some way that will help bring business to your door."

"Maybe the publisher of a local shopper or advertising publication would trade an ad for your product or service, whether it is a car tune-up, a little landscaping, or a free limo ride for his daughter's prom date."

"If you are going to succeed as a small-business person, you have to learn to think of your business not only as an income generating tool, but also a leverage tool something that has value that can be traded to create greater value."

In his book, What Losing Taught Me About Winning, Fran Tarkenton, a NFL football Hall of Fame member, focuses his finely tuned business acumen on the burgeoning small-business market. Tarkenton has run twelve businesses with annual revenues ranging from less than $1 million to $142 million. In 1996 he launched the much heralded Fran Tarkenton Small Business NETwork, designed to help it's members build their businesses and increase revenues by providing strength in numbers, resources, and ideas.