- Pat’s experience with baseball shaped his business
- He learned to out-think instead of out-spend
- Find opportunities where others do not
- Practice what gets you points
- Improve your team’s skills
- What can you successfully do differently?
- Sometimes the best path isn’t being taken
- Create unique experiences, stand out
- Trying to imitate someone else doesn’t showcase your talents
- What are you good at? Do that more and build around it
- Be a specialist at something you enjoy
- Get really personal
- Don’t distance yourself from your clients
- Always be on the lookout for your own life lessons
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Hey Pat Rigsby here. And today I want to give you three things that you can do to improve your business. Let’s get to it.
Welcome to The Fitness Business School podcast – the show for fitness business owners who want to grow their income, increase their impact and improve their lifestyle. Be sure to listen til the end of this episode, because we have a brand new special offer exclusive for listeners. So stay tuned.
As you probably know by now, if you’ve listened to episodes of the podcast, if you followed my newsletter, I was a college baseball coach. And man, you may have also heard me say coaching taught me a lot. And in fact, I would say my experience as a coach probably shaped almost everything that I’ve done in some way as a business owner. So I’m going to kind of give you a few things or three core things that I think that really kinda helped me with. It gave me a competitive advantage, a leg up if you will, whenever I started my own business. So because we were a program with very limited resources, I, you know, I had to figure out how to achieve goals, achieve success by doing some things differently than our competitors, right?
We weren’t going to compete by having more scholarships than them. We actually had about one 10th, the amount of scholarships that the better competitors had. We weren’t going to have a better facility. We use like a city-owned field. We didn’t have our own facility. So, you know, I read books on business and marketing, you know, in addition to all the baseball specific stuff and the strength and conditioning stuff. So I, I tried to figure out things that maybe the, the competitors weren’t figuring out. So there are three, three kind of core strategies that I think allowed us to become a nationally competitive program in spite of resources that were probably a lot more like a, a mediocre high school team. And these things really kind of carried over to any professional success I’ve had since then with businesses and, and the like, so the first is finding opportunities where others don’t you know, in baseball coaches typically allocate a lot of their scholarship money to specific positions. They practice a lot of the minutia, the little things that don’t, you know, they, they don’t happen very often in games, but they’re these finite like little details and in truth, except for select few, when I was doing this and mind you like many things that industry has evolved when I was doing this, most people kind of did the same things. So I just said, man, I’ve got to do what they’re not doing.
So I went out and focus my energies on recruiting players that played the positions that, you know, maybe weren’t in his high demand for the other coaches that they weren’t going to pay as much scholarship money to, to in order to recruit when it came to practice time. You know, we spent all of our time on the things that really mattered most in games. And you know, so, so the basics, we, we focused on making our athletes better. If I couldn’t recruit better athletes, I could take the athletes that I got and make them better. And then, you know, our skill development stuff was very different than what other people did now. All of this sounds probably pretty obvious, but at the time I was kind of an outlier in baseball. And so when I transitioned to having my first training business this sort of stuff, this way of thinking carried over, right? Like when everybody else was doing 60 minute sessions, we did 30 minute sessions when everybody else was selling packages. I mean, I was selling recurring revenue 12 month programs in 2004. You know, when, when everybody did one-on-one, we started to explore semi-private and group and, you know, just this willingness to go against the grain, allowed us to grow very quickly. In fact, we grew to over 400 clients in 18 months and you know, it’s not that any of this was rocket science. It’s just that most people in any field find security and just doing kind of what everybody else does. If you look around most businesses, just look a little bit like knock-offs of other businesses.
And so sometimes the best path is to look at what everybody else does and say, well, how can I do the opposite or at least something pretty dramatically different. So how can you apply this? Well, look at what others either don’t do or don’t do very well, be a specialist in something, instead of being a generalist, target a gap in the market or an approach in, in the way that you market that’s different than what other people doing create a very unique experience. Like, I mean, there are very undervalued opportunities in every business, in every market, but it’s our job to find them, right. They don’t just kinda land land in our lap. We have to go pursue them. All right. The second thing that I think helped me a bunch in baseball and translated into to business was playing to my strengths. You know, I tried for my first couple of years to essentially emulate a mentor of mine who had had a great deal of success. He he’s still like one of the most influential people. Like if I look back in my life, how, how helpful he was to me and everything else, but I definitely was not him. Right. So me trying to imitate him I just I was you know, kind of a poor, poor kind of carbon copy and it just didn’t work. But once I did identify a formula that worked for me and allowed me to, to play to my strengths, my, my ability to recruit my, my way of thinking my way of developing players I just expanded on it. I kept refining it. I kept building on it and, you know, I, I didn’t default to saying, well, this is what other people do. So I’m going to do it. You know, I just kind of put blinders on and said, I want to create the best possible version of what I’m doing.
And, you know, it’s kinda been the same thing in my business life. Just saying, okay, what am I good at? You know, I I’m, I’m good at showing up and being consistent. So that means a lot, a lot of emails, a lot of podcasts. I’m good at making things that seem relatively complex to some maybe a little bit simpler. I think, you know, I’m, I’m good at trying to understand people. So I build my business around it. It doesn’t mean that you need to take that exact same approach. It means that you have strengths as well, and you need to build around those. So 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 two or three core things and work them aggressively until your business thrives, be a specialist, choose an approach to everything that fits you, that makes you excited to go to work that inspires you, that it kind of makes you hungry to learn and keep improving create a culture that matches your personality, create a culture or an environment that you know, it is easy for you to just show up and lead because it’s authentic to you. If you build your business around your strengths, it’s going to be far, far easier to stand out from the crowd.
So that’s the second kind of a, I think foundational element I took away from baseball that helped me continue on. And then the third is just, you know, getting really personal you you know, you, you see so many people in business, they think, well, Hey, I don’t want it to be personal. I want it to be a system. I want it to be this organization or operation that is completely independent of me. Well, for me, my biggest strength as a coach is probably being a recruiter. And my recruiting was pretty simple, create a product or program that people wanted to be a part of and then build and cultivate relationships with players. Who’d be a good fit for what we’re trying to do. So lots of personal calls, a lot of visits to get to know people. A lot of time spent getting to know coaches who could feed prospective players to me. You know, I, I wasn’t somebody who delegated the campus tours like most coaches, I wanted to be the one to walk people around and get to know them.
For me getting the right players was probably the most important factor in having a successful organization or operation. So being personal was my path to that kind of outcome. Business is really the same. You know, I, I remember asking people at a, at a seminar that were attending my breakout session. I said, well, how many of you have my personal phone number already in your phone? And like, almost everybody did, right? Because I, you know, I’m not somebody who distances myself from the people that I serve. In fact, I’m really excited about you know, being able to connect and, you know, is is kind of a, an example of how different that was it at that same seminar. I said, you know, I, I asked about, you know, how many of you have people that would be my quote, unquote competitors, personal numbers in your phone? And like almost nobody raised their hands, right? Like when I do private consulting days, it’s in my home office when we you know, had our last couple of mastermind meetings when we were finally back in person here in Louisville, the, the dinner and social stuff was at my house. And you know, I, I think that, that personal thing, everybody wants to automate everything.
But if you want to see an uptick in your business, make tech, like take the interactions that you make and kind of make them one level up from a personal standpoint, if you normally send a mass message, email, text, whatever, send a personal one, have you normally send a personal email, make a call. If you normally make a call visit in person, I’m sure that if you do that, you’re going to love the results. So, all right, so that’s three lessons I learned in kind of the first leg in my professional life. And they carried over. They continue to help me time and time again. And the reason that this really kind of hit home and I wanted to talk about this today was simple. There are plenty of things that have gone on in each of our lives. There are plenty of things that have gone on in your life, and you may not have connected the dots to where you are today and how it can help you. It may have been an experience you had when you were in college. It may have been a previous job. You had, it may have been being part of a sports team or a, you know, a part of a community in some way, shape or form. There are lessons from that that can translate to helping you have a better business, but you have to keep your head up. You have to look for them. So hopefully you can use these three is not only things that can potentially help you, but also as a springboard to find your own lessons and improve your own business.
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