How Entrepreneurship is Like Baseball

I spent last week learning how entrepreneurship is like baseball. Well, really, I spent it watching my son play about a million baseball games at the beach. Before last week, I knew little about baseball. I thought it was about hitting a ball hard, and running around the bases, with the goal being to get to home base before being tagged out.

Baseball

At a macro level, that is what baseball is all about. But after studying the game all week, I've learned that it's about so much more than just hitting and running. There is a lot of strategy involved. Like entrepreneurship, a baseball game is won or lost first in your head. Here are three ways baseball is like entrepreneurship.

1. You must anticipate the best play

Let's say you are playing center field and the bases are loaded. You know in advance that if the batter hits the ball to you, you must either catch it before it bounces to make the out, or you must field the ball as quickly as you can after it bounces and get it to home plate before the player on third base gets there. You know all of this before the batter even steps up to the plate because you assess the lay of the land before the pitch.

Entrepreneurship is the same way. You don't just pitch your products to any and every potential customer. You first assess the lay of the land, choose the prospects that are most likely to take favorable action, and then make your best pitch.

2. You have to see the ball

As one of the coaches explained to me last week, baseball is not just about hitting the ball. It's about seeing the ball. If a batter becomes so wrapped up in the mechanics of the hitting the ball, he may end up forgetting to see the ball when it's coming his way.

Entrepreneurship is very similar, with the baseball being an opportunity. If you don't train yourself to see opportunity, it doesn't matter that you have great products.

All of the mechanics can be in place, but if you don't see the ball, you'll lose every time.

3. A second chance is good, but not as good as a first chance

Since most hitters are right handed, most balls are hit in the direction of the short stop. This makes the position of short stop, between the second and third basemen, one of the most important positions on the field. Unless they are fly balls, the short stop is in a unique position to prevent the batter from getting to first base because the distance he has to throw the ball to get to first base is so short.

When the batter hits the ball to the short stop, a huge opportunity arises to quickly throw the ball to the man on first and get the batter out before he is even halfway to first base. But if the short stop misses the ball, it's often not picked up until an outfielder runs in to get it. By then, the batter-runner has usually had time to get to first base. There are still chances to get him out, but the first and best chance is gone.

It's the same way in your business. If you miss an opportunity the first time, it may come around again. But by then, you are already behind the eight ball … and behind the person who grabbed the opportunity that was initially meant for you.

Conclusion

The more I learn abut sports, the more similarities I see between sports and entrepreneurship. It boils down to knowing your goals, knowing your options, and taking action. It all sound so easy, doesn't it? But we know it's not so easy, don't we?

If you liked this post, you might like the one I wrote back in 2008, when my son was just getting started playing baseball, that also compares an aspect of baseball to entrepreneurship.

Question

Do you know enough about baseball to share some of the ways you feel it is similar to entrepreneurship? What about other sports? Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.