If opportunity knocked today, would your business be ready to make the most of it?
During a recent post-game press conference, Ned Yost, manager of the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, explained the extensive preparation behind successful base stealing.
His pinch runner, Terrance Gore, made two mad dashes from first base to win the game in extra innings. Sounds easy right? After all, this guy’s speedy. That’s his job.
Actually, it was the work Gore had done well before he was even put into the game that made him so valuable that night. “It was a perfect read, a perfect reaction,” Yost said. “He didn’t hesitate a second. He’s got world-class speed, but what sets that up is his anticipation. He was looking for that.”
Preparing for Serendipity
Many of us talk about how the right circumstances would launch our business into the stratosphere, yet few of us are positioned to take full advantage of them when the moment presents itself. What can your business do today to position itself to seamlessly pounce on a game-changing opportunity? Here are a few areas to consider:
- Quality Control: How are the quality control checks working for your current offerings? You can’t tackle new business opportunities with lightning speed if you continually have to stop and put Band-Aids on your existing operation. The “old work” pays the bills today and will still need to in the future. That’s the only way your new success can be termed growth!
- Vendor Relationships: Can they scale fast enough for you should the need arise? This could be anything from IT capabilities to tangible goods. Barnett Helzberg Jr., founder of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, advocates always having two vendors. Not only will that decrease your vulnerability, it could position your company for better pricing, deliverables and profits.
- Banking Relationships: I once heard a business owner say that any banker in town would love to do business with her. Can you say that? Do all the bankers in town even know your company exists? They should. When bankers know how you’re growing and positioning your company, they’ll make better recommendations that could help you get there. After all, they too want to seize profitable opportunities.
- Employees: Are you training your employees to have the versatility and intuitiveness necessary for accommodating new opportunities without sacrificing your current core business? Whether it’s training, networking or building morale, the “big opportunity” often adds intense pressure. Having enthusiastic employees embrace new opportunities with 110 percent effort will be an important key to success.
- Networking: When it comes to being ready for a great opportunity, nothing beats listening to your customers, your industry and those who’ve come before you. Get out there and have the conversation! Members of HEMP often note that the key to their success in the program comes as much by learning from other member entrepreneurs as it does from the invaluable guidance from their mentor. If you’re not part of an ongoing business program, simply choose to attend a Big Breakfast or even one program hosted by the Kauffman Foundation, Central Exchange or your local chamber of commerce.
You Can Do It!
Position your company to quickly grasp a big opportunity just like a game-winning Major Leaguer. If preparing for the unknown seems daunting, remember, you can do it. After all, even the 6-foot-tall, 250-pound Billy Butler—who’s never been called speedy—ended up stealing second base!
The Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program pairs established small business owners with more seasoned executives, who help them improve their operations and seize opportunities for growth. Is your small business interested? Learn more here.