Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training and education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Scott Jones, Owner of Natural Baseball Academy, located in Olathe, KS, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are in the business of developing young adults thru sports. Our customers are athletes and parents throughout our area interested in more than just baseball skills and looking for their athletes to be a part of a program that looks to develop the person and not just the player.
Tell us about yourself
I spent 25 years in corporate America working in the medical software industry before my brother and I ventured into this business. I continued to work both jobs for four years and then made the decision to be 'all in.' I had coached travel baseball, college baseball, and young kids throughout that time and decided to follow my heart instead of working for a paycheck. To see the smile on the player's faces when they accomplish a goal, master a skill, or just simply feel better about themselves after a tough week is what we really do. We give the player a place to feel comfortable outside of the home, a place they can belong without judgment and just be themselves. No doubt we are proud of the fact we have had over 225 collegiate players since 2010, our overall high school GPA is above 3.5 (over 150 players), and we have a wide variety of athletes that play multiple sports or are involved in band/drama as well. The culture we have created and the work ethic the players demand from each other will help them as they move into the business world. Very proud of our past/current players on how they handle themselves on and off the field. Are they perfect? I doubt it, but more often than not, they make the right decisions.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
To be in this industry for 15 years and continue to grow is an accomplishment all on its own. We have people that believe in us and our philosophy of development. We know we aren't perfect, and we are continually learning how the youth of America is changing, and our parents are trusting us with their most valuable assets...their children. Not sure there can be a bigger accomplishment than that. Sure, we win games, win tournaments, and help players achieve the goal of attending college to play baseball, but the reality is we are in the business of 'building' people. To have other people believe and trust you have their best interests at heart is a blessing.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Decisions that impact the whole and not just the business owner. Looking to impact everyone, to keep building/improving, and at the same time continue to be profitable can be challenging. We have several baseball clubs in the area, so we have to make decisions to give our current clients the best experience possible as well as continue to attract new clients. To offer up new ways to 'sell' our philosophy and maintain the integrity of the business we built.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
This one is a loaded question...first off, I would say be prepared to give it every ounce of your being while getting started. The business will consume your thoughts, conversations, and your dreams when/if you sleep. It will be hard, and you will have naysayers telling you that your ideas 'won't work,' so you will have to believe in your vision. Surround yourself with people who will challenge your vision without destroying you. In other words, you can't have everyone say 'yes, do that' all the time without a solid conversation. The challenge is knowing when to hold your ground and when to listen to your thoughts. Best of luck to you as you embark on your journey!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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