I was catching up on the scores in the baseball division finals during the evening news one night and struck by the parallels between major league baseball players and successful business owners.
Major league players, like business owners, spend innumerable hours honing skills before they get their first “at bat”. But it doesn’t stop there. Both require a conscious effort to improve their skills.
Put another way, if you’re going to play in the big leagues you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game.
Optimize Your “At Bat”
After a baseball game, players review the game tape to understand what they did well and what to improve. Business owners have opportunities for that same introspection. Two examples:
- After a customer or client interaction ask yourself what you did well and what you could do better.
- At the end of the day review what you accomplished and what your goals are for the next day.
Successful major league ball players and business owners recognize there are no “do overs”. The ability to think on your feet and adjust is essential. When “at bat” both players and business owners continually assess the current situation and adjust their approach when necessary.
Just as a major league player wouldn’t come to a game unprepared, business owners must do their homework. Research your market to be clear about who your target market is, where they currently buy the products or services you’re selling, when they buy, why they buy, and what they expect from those products or services. Additionally, complete a competitive analysis of your competition and develop mitigation strategies to be competitive.
Getting an “At Bat”
During baseball’s off-season players and business owners do whatever they can to come back for another year and stay in the majors. Just like baseball, in business there’s always an off-season.
Take that time to reconnect with your networks, including previous customers. Review your results from the previous season looking for ways to improve your customer’s experience, increase sales and reduce costs.
Finally, major league players who stay in the majors aren’t just successful because of their individual performance, part of that success comes from what they contribute to the team. Business owners who continually contribute to the success of other businesses in their community, regardless of whether it’s geographical or virtual, have a much higher probability of being successful.
Leah Ward-Lee is an entrepreneur and business writer based in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.