True innovation
Business Tips from the Baseball Diamond
Erica Roberts | September 7, 2016

Nothing screams summer more than catching a baseball game on a hot sunny day, beer and dog in hard, cheering on the home team. But if you’re an entrepreneur, and if you pay close attention, there’s more than just a fun afternoon to be had at the ballpark – there are some pivotal business lessons you can glean, too. Here’s what we mean:

The Power behind the Pitch

Like Clayton Kershaw delivering a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded, the pressure is on when someone asks you to pitch your business idea. Similar to a solid strike, a good business pitch should be quick and right down the middle, that is; the explanation of your business should be succinct and focused, lasting no more than a few minutes. Have a few sentences prepared that articulate your business plan in an interesting and quick fashion.

What’s a Balk?

Most Americans understand the basic rules of baseball – three outs in an inning, a hit over the fence signifies a homerun, and so on. But baseball is chock full of obscure and little known rules – for instance, you may know what balk means, but do you know exactly what signifies a balk? Did you know that it is possible to bat out of order, or that it’s actually against the rules to try to steal first base… from second?

Like the various rules of this favorite American pastime, every industry has a specific set of regulations that must be followed. Make sure to learn all of the rules and regulations that could affect your business and stay up to date with any new proposals, making sure you understand the impact they could have on your company.

Spring Training is Vital

Every year before the official season starts, the whole team gets together to assess each player’s individual skills and come up with a plan to improve upon their weaknesses. Employers should consider adopting a similar practice. To maximize efficiency and effectiveness in your business, you must first determine the strengths and weaknesses of all your employees and then, find innovative ways to improve their skill set and minimize any short comings.

Be Prepared for a Curveball

Nothing confuses a hitter more than an unexpected curveball, but don’t let unexpected events upset your business. Whether its personnel issues or new regulations, curveballs will surely come your way. But, this is what you’ve been training for. Take a tip from heavy hitters like Manny Machado and be prepared to deal with those obstacles you didn’t anticipate by having everything in order when it comes to your business. Keep files organized, maintain constant communication with your employees, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Baseball players have hitting coaches, athletic trainers, and bench coaches to assist them at every turn, and you should too. Use mentors and trusted colleagues as your own personal coaches and reach out to them for assistance when your business experiences a curveball.

Strikeouts Happen

Sure, it’s disappointing to leave the plate after a strikeout. But the great players know that one bad at-bat is not the end of the game. In business, mistakes and miscalculations happen, it’s just part of the job. One bad outcome does not mean it is the end of your business, and a “brush yourself off and try again” attitude can take you and your business a long way. So, assess what went wrong and what you could have done differently to affect a positive outcome. Then, put your batting helmet back on and step back up to the plate.

. . . And So Do Grand Slams

There’s nothing like hitting a grad slam — just ask players like Alex Rodriguez, who has hit 24 in his career. There’s also nothing like celebrating your business’ success, whether your business reached a sales goal or landed a big account. When big successes happen, it’s important to celebrate and learn from the victory, but not let it blind you. Thank those who helped you reach this point, but acknowledge that this is the start of what you hope will be an incredible season – not just one incredible at bat.