Entrepreneurs who love baseball consider this: Is entrepreneurship like a baseball game? After all, you want to succeed and you want to win. Baseball is the epitome of what winning is all about. Each area of the game is geared to creating a better ball player so that there is a better team.
Good batting, for instance, is the reason you can have the best game ever. Each time you step up to the plate – every time the pitcher sends a ball your way – you have an opportunity for a hit. In the terms of your business, a hit can be compared to the ability to make a solid connection with your customers. And like the batter, sometimes you hit a home run, a grand slam even.
But there are also times when the pitcher, like life, sends a curve ball your way and you miss the ball entirely. You are forced to readjust your stance. You take a look around, check your outcomes so far. Mentally examine the previous pitches. Then you resolutely turn back, look the pitcher in the eyes, all the while anticipating the next pitch. Never let the pitcher retire you, not without trying your best to hit the ball out of the park. Even after a strike, don’t be afraid to step up to the plate.
Constant assessment, readjusting your approach to the customers and occasionally dodging an errant ball or two should be one of the cornerstones of your business. In the end, all the hard work is worth it because you hit the ball, advance the bases and rack up scores that will add up to winning the game and a thriving, successful business. If you have a passion for the game (translation: a passion for the products and services you provide), the tragedy would be that you never get in the game; never step up to the plate. Even worse, that you quit too soon.
What about coaching? Coaching is essential to ball players. Do they know something you don’t know? Maybe. Many business owners are reluctant to contact a coach, but a good, certified business coach can help you take your business to the next level, just as a coach does for the batter and other members of the ball team. The coach is essentially on the outside of the action, looking in, noting areas where you excel and areas needing improvements. In other words, coaches can help you work smarter. Never underestimate the value of coach. Ball players never do.
Then there is the dugout. It can be considered a team gathering place, comparable to social media as a gathering place. The dugout keeps the team connected to what is new, just as social media can for your business. At social media sites you can learn what your potential customers consider important and what they feel they need. The dugout is also where relationships are established and solidified. Ball players don’t overlook the importance of connecting in the dugout. Don’t you overlook the value of social media.
There are months of spring practice in baseball before the real games begin. Compare spring practice to continued learning. No ball player can keep up their best game if they don’t continue to learn and practice the game. Your business won’t thrive if you don’t keep current with your industry. Attend conferences and workshops.. Rest assured the other team (your business competitors) will keep up their game. It is in the best interest of your game, your business, to stay ahead of the game; stay ahead of the pitch count.
Last, baseball teams are willing to invest in the best players they can find. That is how they rack up winning games. You must be willing to do the same with your business. Look for the best to be on your team, whether they are contracted or whether they are a part of your salaried employees. Don’t hesitate to call in experts with small business solutions, but choose the best. Choosing mediocre team members will mostly yield mediocre outcomes and that is not going to put you at the top of the game.
So, what are you waiting for? You can be sure the other team will be improving their game and posing a challenge. The pitcher is always going to be a challenge, working his own special pitch, waiting to send it your way. It is up to you to be exceptional and at the top of your game. Like the ball player, bring in all the tools, all the resources to help you. Ignore that curve ball, even when it comes your way and you are tempted to call it a game because you swung and you missed.
In the end, entrepreneurship is very much like the game of baseball. The game is rarely a foregone conclusion. The fun and the challenge is actually in the play, but a winning outcome is the ultimate goal.