#MoveTheNeedle.

It is a catchphrase that I have grown to love over the past year, so much so that it is written at the top of my dry erase board which is situated above my desk. If you follow me on twitter, you have probably noticed a tweet every morning or so with that same hashtag. The hashtag is usually accompanied by some piece of advice/motivation.

As of late, the catchphrase has been a constant reminder to do the little things that matter on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. They are ‘must do’ actions that help propel your career in the right direction. They get the momentum going. They are the things that get you on people’s radars. They get you noticed. They are the actions and tasks that maybe at times are not necessarily glamorous. Yet, they are essential to moving your sports business career needle, so to speak.

If you take a step back and really assess your career — whether you ar still in undergraduate/graduate school or maybe looking for that first “job” — ask yourself, ‘What are you doing a daily basis to move the needle’?

How do you quantify whether or not you are moving your career needle in the right direction? For me, personally, it is a question of, ‘Am I better off today than I was maybe 3 months ago? 2 months? Last week? Even yesterday’? If you answer ‘Yes’ to these questions, then I would say you are doing well. If not, it might be time for a reality check and a self-diagnosis of how you can be better.

With 2013 ending and 2014 starting, this could be a good time to just wipe the slate clean. Maybe you have not been focused on moving the needle at all? Perhaps, this new year has quickly approached and you have not done too much career-wise? For others, you might be doing everything you can to move the needle, so kudos for that.

Below are 7 suggestions/thoughts on how to #MoveTheNeedle in 2014. Hope you will find them helpful in some way.

1. Read. Read. Read. Resources like Sports Business Journal and Forbes' Sports Money Blog, to name two, are great places to start. Someone once said, "Knowledge is power." It is actually very true.

2. Set up one phone call every week with someone you admire in the sports business community. However, how you keep the conversation going after the phone call is what really matters.

3. Attend 1-2 conferences or symposiums every year.

4. Learn to effectively use twitter to grow a small following and become a presence online.

5. Be bold. Be unique. Take risks.

6. Do not be so concerned about how an internship will benefit you a year from now. Take it because it is a great opportunity.

7. Hustle.

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Mark Burns graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2011 and is currently a third year law student at Belmont University. He has aspirations of breaking into the sports business industry. He was recently named a 2013 "30 Under 30" Award Recipient in Sports Launch Magazine. Mark invites you to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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