Quotes to be Inspired By: Kevin Plank, Founder of Under Armour

Kevin Plank went from being a college football player to a successful billionaire businessman. He played football for the University of Maryland while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. As a businessman, he founded the sports footwear and apparel brand Under Armour. A lot of his work ethic and his business focus were informed by his earlier experiences playing sports, and he has a lot of inspiration to share through these top 6 quotes.

1. “It’s a fire, it’s a passion to get out and to create and to innovate. And that I’ve always enjoyed and I’ve always been very proud of is that the people I’ve done business with, the people around me have always made money.”

This quote shows that Plank sees his business as a team. He doesn’t only focus on himself and his own success. He cares about the success of the rest of the people on his team, which could include both people who are part of his business and those his business partners with. Others can learn from this by finding ways to combine their own passions with methods that benefit everybody. 

2. “The sports apparel industry was dominated by the big shoe companies. But there was a void in apparel and I decided to fill it.”

In sports, sometimes the key is about seeing the opportunity on the field—the uncovered space on the football field where someone can slip through and get the touchdown. Plank translated that idea to his business. He found the uncovered space and he filled it, finding success. This idea encourages an important business principle of finding a need or void in the market and filling it.

3. “Motivation, passion and focus have to come from the top.”

In this quote, Plank points out that every team, whether on the sports field or in the office, needs a leader. Just as a football team needs a strong yet supportive coach to lead the team, a business needs the same. Employees won’t have the passion and motivation for the company unless the leaders do and they translate that in the right way to the rest of the team. Leaders can learn from this quote to share their own passion for the brand and to encourage it within their employees. Also, employees should work for companies they feel passionate about and where they want to give it their all.

4. “At Under Armour, we’ve created a very strong culture, a culture that first and foremost is built on people. … And it’s not a one-way ticket either … it also has to be the commitment the company has to the teammate. … Frankly, if we’re doing our job, it defines them at some point.”

Once again, he talks about the people in his business as teammates and focuses on how they’re such an important part of the business and its culture. Just as a good football team recognizes that it’s built on its players, he recognizes the role his team plays in his company. At the same time, the team ends up becoming part of a broader culture or brand. It can also be beneficial to see the customer as an integral member of that team and to want to find ways that benefit the customer, not just the company.

5. “I don’t have to be right, I just want to win.”

With this quote, Plank shows his competitive nature, which has been part of his life on the football field and in the CEO chair. If you look at his company, it’s not hard to see how his competitive side has played a large part as he took risks in an effort to move the company forward into further success. Other businesses can learn from this quote that it can pay off to be bold and take risks. After all, the ultimate goal in business is to be successful, just as it is on the sports field. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep this quote in mind along with some of his other quotes, not forgetting that the company’s team members, mission, and customers all matter. Winning is only good if it benefits the team. 

6. “There is no such thing as an overnight success. You have to get up and put your work boots on every single day.”

The idea behind this quote is similar to a sports team, which has to continually show up to practice again and again, and always keep working to be better. In the same way, Plank believes in always showing up and putting the hard work in with a business. People need to have that strong work ethic, which is similar to the commitment to a sports team, to find and keep success in business.