From NFL to CEO: Former American Football Star Turned CEO Rick Elmore On What He Learned from the Game

Former linebacker Rick Elmore has become an entrepreneur and marketing guru. Elmore, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, founded a company called Simply Noted after hanging up his cleats.

Elmore is worlds away from the sports betting markets on sites like Sidelines.io. Despite posting 25 sacks and almost 130 tackles for Arizona, and being drafted to the NFL, he never made it past the level of the practice squad. It was in 2013 that Elmore drifted away from professional football. He has since hit the headlines for Simply Noted, a company that offers automated handwritten letters.

Speaking to Billion Success, Elmore described the aim of Simply Noted.

“We want to help businesses communicate with their customers, employees, and partners in an efficient and authentic way. Communicating important messages between businesses and their customers should be easy but can take a lot of time to do well, so Simply Noted makes it possible to ensure your message is seen and valued.”

Elmore referred to a ‘personal touch’ in a digital world. Simply Noted is a company offering something different, and while it’s not the usual path for a former athlete to go down, Elmore has taken some of his competitive spirit into the business world.

“I think any athlete can agree that we love a challenge. It is that competitive spirit, perseverance, and dedication to succeed which has helped me be ready against any problem along the way.

“When you lose a game, you don’t give up, you get back and try harder. Even when things get tough, we stick through it to the very end. It’s a perfect parallel to any challenge that arises with your business and journey to entrepreneurship.”

Much like being successful in the NFL, Elmore talks up the importance of having a good group around you in business when asked about his best piece of advice.

“Have a supportive team but don’t surround yourself with individuals who are “yes men.” Being a new entrepreneur can be difficult, so it’s important to have a group of people who are positive influences around you so that you will be supported.”

Elmore isn’t the first former NFL player to swap the gridiron for CEO status. What his success shows, though, is how translatable so many skills from elite sports are to the business world. Elmore never made the cut in the professional game. He was a practice squad player for the Packers, Niners, Chargers, Cardinals, Browns, and Commanders.

Yet, it is with Simply Noted that he has made a name for himself. The perseverance to become an NFL player has been repeated in Elmore’s commitment to building his brand.

He explained, “One thing I do daily is follow up; I do not quit. I have always been relentless in everything that I do, and it has helped me be successful at multiple stages of my career.”

There is a degree of self-belief that is necessary for sportspeople. Sometimes it borders on arrogance, sometimes it can seem crude, but to reach professional standard in sport requires innate confidence.

Athletes need to always be looking for ways to improve. They must be able to take feedback on board and listen to what coaches are telling them.

Elmore exhibited both self-belief and quick learning in setting up a company in a field he knew very little about.

He said, “My business is based in technology but I started with zero experience in technology or engineering, which as you can imagine, was definitely an obstacle to overcome. But I overcame it by being willing to ask questions, no matter how simple or difficult, and being invested in learning from others around me.” The story of Elmore and Simply Noted serves as inspiration for those that cannot make the final step to becoming an NFL player – the skills learned in years playing football are not wasted.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan