I often get asked what books, podcasts and movies I turn to for inspiration in business and no sooner than the question is finished I have the word Moneyball coming out of my mouth.
I am sure 90% of the population believe Moneyball to be just about Baseball and this is fair enough, but really it is about the business of Baseball and the beautiful thing about business is, in a lot of cases, it is totally universal with an array of similarities. Some of my best learnings and inner resilience comes from what I saw in this movie and broadly speaking, it is not one commonly mentioned by entrepreneurs. Here are what I took from it specifically:
“Do we believe in this thing or not?”
When things are all going south after implementing their new structure, the two implementers in the movie look at each other and ask this question. It is a simple question, but one all new business owners should ask themselves. Because if the answer is anything but ‘Hell Yes!’ then you haven’t got yourself into the right business and you either need to look elsewhere or pivot, quickly!
What I loved about this point in time is they then go on to realise that if they believe in it so much, then what do other opinions matter? They are doing something no one else has done before and it is irrelevant what others think. Everyone in your family, friends and networks are going to doubt you at times in your business – so the question is, do you believe in your thing or not?
“If we play like the Yankees in here, we are going to lose to them out there”
I cannot stress the importance of doing your own thing. The amount of businesses that try to replicate their way to success and fail are too many to count. When you are taking someone else’s vision, ideas and initiatives, you are always going to be late to the party.
If you try to do what they do, your inspiration will always be the chase.
And when you are the chaser, it becomes impossibly hard to lead.
You hear a lot of businesses say: “all you need is 1% of China”. This implies that if they can just get some market share of the bigger fish, they will be successful. The problem is the modern consumer demands ownership and authenticity of what you do, they go to the source of the inspiration and don’t just buy from the challenger brand. The perfect example we have of this in recent times in Australia was Masters. They tried to take on Bunnings by doing it all the same, the problem was that we already knew and loved Bunnings and everyone knew it was an imitation. 2 billion dollars in write-downs later, Masters exited the market never to be seen again.
“I pay you to get on first, not to get thrown out at second.”
To the non-baseball fans out there, this is the GM asking his player to just get on first base. Play to the statistics and work hard at their craft. The issue on the team was everyone was trying to make moonshot high risk plays and hit home runs, when the reality about how you win baseball games is by getting on base.
Business is very much the same. We are all obsessed with the big, shiny new accounts but quite simply, the consistent, long term accounts can be the most valuable. You win sport by throwing plenty of jabs and not just going for the KO all the time and you should treat your business the same way.
I recently drove past a brand-new drive thru fast food restaurant, they had a line up of cars around the block and clearly were at capacity – but they still paid a guy to stand on the side of the road, trying to wave down more cars.
You are never too good to keep marketing, keep pitching, keep servicing your customers, keep fighting for every dollar and keep being good to your people.
These things are always going to be the things that drive you forward for growth, so just remember – there is nothing wrong with getting on first base and it is a hell of a lot better than getting struck out!
So if you haven’t already, put your TV on and get Moneyball on your screen. There is so much a business owner can learn from it and something I truly recommend to you all.
Managing Director – Blue Chip Talent