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Never Waste a Time at Bat! Good Advice in Baseball, Even Better in Small Business!

small-business-blog-employees-time-at-bat-2Preparation leads to success!

My avocation is baseball, where I coached at every conceivable level for nearly thirty years. My prime focus was teaching hitting. Now, hitting a baseball, especially at a high level of competition, is, perhaps, one of the single most difficult things to do. When a hitter is ready to hit ("at bat," for those of you not familiar with the game), he is facing a pitcher who may have a half a dozen different pitches that he can throw, at least one or two in the 90+ mph range, trying to get his pitch past the hitter, either with speed, guile or location. Add a screaming crowd and the hitter has some real challenges. And my advice to the hitter? Have a plan for every single at bat. Never waste one. Determine how to approach that specific pitcher in that specific situation. You can never tell when that one at bat, might be the game changer.

The same thing holds true for small business owners.

In opportunities for sales, partnering or investment, you have to have a plan, well thought-out and then well executed. Because, you often face formidable competition, much larger partners and investors who have preconceived notions. And, you can never tell when that opportunity might be the game changer for your small business. Further, you never know when it might be your only (or last) chance to be in front of that individual or company. And that's how you should treat every single instance for a sale, a partner or investment.

Entrepreneurs don't often consider that approach. It's most especially important because the population of the various targeted areas (for sale, partner or investment) is not limitless. In fact, for partner or investment there could be but just a few opportunities available that fit a particular business.

So here's some guidance and questions to ask yourself about how to approach an opportunity so that you "never waste a time at bat":

Know Your Audience

It's like knowing the pitcher; what pitch he throws in what situation. How much do you know about the individual or company that represents the opportunity? What's their individual or company background? What have they done, how have they have reacted, in the past, in a similar situation? What are their "hot buttons" - those things that they feel strongest about?

Create a Plan

What are you going to present, how and why? How will it meet the needs, requirements or profile of the targeted audience? What's going to make them want to do business with you?

Be Prepared

Executing a plan is not just completing a series of tasks. It's meeting the objectives of the plan, sometimes, in ways not envisioned by the key tasks. Sometimes, you have to react to new data, new people, new requirements, "on the fly." To do this, you have to be ready, not just with a rehearsed presentation, but with potential "what if's" that might come up during your meeting(s). Being prepared engenders confidence. Confidence breeds success.

Approach every key sales, partnering or investment opportunity like it might be your last chance. It also might end up be a game changer for you. Never waste a time at bat.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!

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