As the World Series begins, we cannot help but marvel at the rise of the Kansas City Royals. Returning to the post-season for the first time in nearly three decades, the small market team has overcome long odds to make it to baseball's biggest stage.
Watching the Royals ascend is comparable to what many entrepreneurs do with their businesses. Kansas City has demonstrated youthful exuberance, risk taking, and the ability to outperform better established, well funded competitors--key elements for entrepreneurial success.
Watching the excitement with which the young Kansas City Royals play baseball is what is bringing them new fans. The same can be said about start-up businesses.
Entrepreneurs have passion and optimism. They believe in themselves, and expect to succeed despite long odds. New companies instill excitement in their customer base. Everyone loves a winner--especially when it's something or someone fresh and exciting.
Some of the biggest contributors to the Royals lineup came to the team by trade. Many times, baseball trades do not work out. Shipping ace pitcher Zach Greinke out of town was not a popular move at the time. However, two of the players they received in return were shortstop Alcides Escobar and AL Championship Series MVP Lorenzo Cain. They have made major contributions to Kansas City's post-season run. The Royals, who generally could not afford to keep star players, traded their top pitcher before the 2011 season. It has taken three years for the risk to pay off, but the trade is looking to be a pretty good move right now.
Inherently, entrepreneurs are risk-takers. They invest their blood, sweat and tears, and often a lot of their own personal money into their ventures. Instead of taking the safer route of having a traditional job, they are willing to take a big chance to pursue their dreams.
Ability to outperform more established, better funded competitors
A small market team, Kansas City usually could not afford to keep its home grown top players and rarely landed the most expensive free agents. The result became multiple losing seasons while deep pocketed teams, such as the Yankees and Red Sox battled in the post-season time and time again. This year is different, however. The Royals defeated the A's Jon Lester, a top playoff performer. Next, they knocked out the high priced California Angels, featuring superstars such as MVP candidate Mike Trout and sluggers Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. They then defeated the high scoring Baltimore Orioles, who led their division for most of the season (while the Royals had to win the "play-in" wild card game). Now we will see if they can become Giant-killers and defeat a San Francisco team that has twice won the World Series in this decade.
Likewise, entrepreneurs work hard to beat out richer, more experienced competitors. Younger businesses are more nimble, are willing to take risks and change when things don't seem to be going their way. Startup companies, like the Royals, take on Giants. We will all have to stay tuned to see who winds up on top.