Spring training season is officially underway; and for baseball players and fans, it represents a time of year when the playing field is level for every team and anything is possible.
For many small business owners, the first few months of the year may also be ripe with possibility. Whether you are the owner of a new business or an experienced entrepreneur who has been thrown your share of curveballs, here are six lessons to be learned from the approach players and managers take during spring training that could make this a game-changing year for your small business:
1: Get in Shape
Spring training gives players the opportunity to prep their bodies and minds for the season ahead. Small business owners can help their employees get in shape by giving them the tools they need to excel at their jobs. Whether this means updating computers or software, offering education and training to help staff improve their skills and stay on top of trends in the market, or providing benefits that will keep employees engaged and foster a healthy workplace, helping your team be the best it can be will pay dividends over the long haul.
2: Practice, Practice, Practice
Some star athletes are blessed with natural skill and ability, but many great athletes attribute their success to determination, focus, and continuous practice. The same is true for entrepreneurs. You may have a great idea or be a born leader, but running a business requires more than intelligence and management skills. Successful entrepreneurs must have the tenacity and grit to move past roadblocks and rise above the competition. Just as athletes need to practice, business owners need to push themselves to understand their industry, continuously build their skills, be open to learning from others, and develop the mental toughness and physical stamina to deal with daily stress and grueling hours.
3: Focus on the Fundamentals
It’s no secret that small business owners wear a multitude of hats. This means that on any given day, you may be so caught up with the tasks at hand or focused on the bottom line that you forget about the basic principles that fuel your success. From conditioning drills to batting practice, spring training is all about zeroing in on improving the fundamental aspects of the game. If it’s been a while since you revisited the key questions you considered when you first opened your doors, now is the time.
Review your brand strategy to see if it remains relevant, determine if your marketing plan is effectively reaching your target customers, and ask yourself if your products or services are still fresh and exciting. Sportswriter Grantland Rice’s famous quote, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” holds true for baseball teams and small businesses alike.
4: Develop Bench Strength
Many baseball coaches use spring training to develop their rosters, focusing not just on the starting lineup, but ensuring they are building a deep bench. Historically, the teams that often make it to the post-season are those that have the “bench strength” to overcome the injuries and fatigue that go hand-in-hand with baseball’s long season.
As your business grows, make sure you evaluate the depth and strength of your team. Are you developing a chain of command that allows you to delegate responsibilities? Are you hiring people or providing current staff with the skills and tools to handle the changing needs of your organization? To avoid frustration, loss of productivity, and employee burnout, it’s essential to have the right number of people in the right roles and provide the support and resources they need to excel.
5: Build a Solid Bullpen
When it’s the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two out, baseball managers want to know they can count on their bullpen to get the team out of a jam. Small businesses who run short of cash or lack the resources to take advantage of a golden opportunity want a partner they can rely on to provide the funds they need – fast.
When it’s time to make a call to the bullpen, you can count on Summit Financial Resources. We can help you access funds to purchase additional raw materials, upgrade equipment, or pay for staff training to increase sales. Our working capital loans involve using your accounts receivable and other assets as collateral. We can mix and match from a variety of flexible financing options, including invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing. Because we are not regulated like a bank, we can help you swing for the fences by expanding your cash flow in a matter of days or weeks, not months.
6: Consider Each Day a New Opportunity
Baseball fans often marvel at how a player or a team can suffer a humiliating defeat, only to turn things around in the next game. Some of the greatest professional athletes have an almost super-human ability to see each day as a new beginning, while at the same time working to improve on what they did yesterday.
Small business owners can do the same thing. Rather than dwelling on last year’s failures, look at what went wrong and what went right and use the information to help you and your team shift gears. Just as spring training offers players and teams a chance to make a fresh start, the key is to let go of negative feelings related to past performance and focus on doing what it takes to have a winning season.
Working Capital Financing is a few clicks away.
Summit Financial Resources specializes in working capital financing for small to medium-sized businesses that need increased cash flow. We provide working capital financing through invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing.