As you probably know by now I was a college baseball coach, and you may have heard me mention a number of times before – coaching taught me a lot.
Because we were a program with pretty limited resources I had to learn how to achieve success by doing some things differently than the competition since we weren’t going to compete by having more scholarships (we had about 1/10 the number our best competitors had) or a nicer facility (we used a city owned park).
So I read books on business and marketing as well as the typical coaching fare – looking for an advantage.
Here are three strategies which allowed us to become a nationally competitive program, in spite of resources that were better suited for a high school team, and that I have used to help us achieve similar success in business:
Find Opportunity Where Others Don’t – In baseball, coaches typically allocate a lot of their scholarship money for pitchers and shortstops. They invest a lot of practice time on things like pickoff plays and obscure bunt defenses. In truth – except for a select few they all do the same stuff.
We weren’t going to outspend our competition for the pitchers they wanted – so I focused my energies on aggressively going after players with great offensive potential that were undervalued by the competition and just tried to find diamonds in the rough when it came to pitchers or shortstops. When it came to practice time – instead of spending much time on things that happen 5% of the time in the game I dedicated our practices to 3 things:
- The things that happen most of the time in games. The basics.
- Making our players better athletes. We took an approach to strength & conditioning that was as aggressive as most football programs while most other teams were still using Nautilus machines.
- We approached our skill development strategy in a way that really deviated from the norm.
Sounds kind of obvious, but it’s certainly an outlier in baseball.
Transitioning to my first training business – this approach led me to gravitate toward 30 minute 1 on 1 sessions, group based training and EFT billing all the way back in 2004.
Now it’s teaching fitness entrepreneurs to build their Ideal Business while everyone else either just teaches marketing tactics or asks you to fit into their model of what your business should be.
To apply this in your own business – look at what others don’t do or don’t do well. Be a specialist. Target a gap in the market or approach how you impact your area in a different way. Create a unique experience. Avoid average.
There are undervalued opportunities in EVERY business and EVERY market – it’s your job to find them.
Play To Your Strengths – Once I identified a formula that worked for building our team – I just expanded on it. I worked on recruiting an even better caliber of player that fit the same mold. I kept refining the system.
I didn’t try to also do all the things the competitors were doing. I simply wanted to create the best possible version of our organization.
In the business world – this means don’t try to be all things to all people. Pick a couple of things and be extraordinary at them. When it comes to marketing – hone in on 2-3 core systems and work them aggressively every day until your business is where you want.
Again – be a specialist. Choose an approach to marketing that fits your strengths. Build a culture that matches your personality. If your business is built around your strengths it will be far, far easier to stand out from the crowd.
Get Personal – My biggest strength as a coach was as a recruiter. And my recruiting was simple:
- Create a ‘product’ (our program) players would want to be a part of.
- Build and cultivate relationships with the players that would be a good fit for what we were trying to do.
So I made a LOT of personal calls. A lot of visits to get to know people. I went to tons of coaching clinics to build relationships with the high school coaches. I took the prospects and their families on tours when they came to campus instead of delegating it. If getting the right players was the most important factor in being successful – then getting personal was my way of doing it.
Business is the same. I asked attendees at one of my workshops how many of them had my personal phone number….most all did. I asked the same thing about a few of my competitors…zero hands.
Private consulting takes place at my home office. I try like crazy to personally connect with people as much as I can.
If you want to see an immediate uptick in your business – take every interaction you make up one level:
- If you normally send a mass email – send a personal one.
- If you normally send a personal email – make a call.
- If you normally make a call – visit in person.
I guarantee you’ll love the results.
OK – 3 lessons learned from coaching college baseball that have continued to help me time and time again in business. They’ve all worked well for me – now let them work for you.
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