Amit Kleinberger started playing ping-pong 12 years ago. About five years later, he became CEO of Menchie‘
s Frozen Yogurt, a chain with 475 locations in 38 countries and an additional 500 additional stores in the works.
Ever since, he’s applied the important lessons and strategies he’s picked up from table tennis to running his business — and he says they have all contributed significantly to Menchie’s success.
“Ping-pong has many aspects that are similar to running a business,” Kleinberger explains to Business Insider. “They are both strategic and require instantaneous reactions to situations. Failure to react appropriately may cause you to lose the game — as in business. In order to become good at ping-pong, or any other sport, the recipe for success is practice and thorough training. The same goes for running a business, but in business, it’s not just yourself, it’s your entire team that must be trained and that must have all the tools they need to perform.”
Here are seven lessons from the game of ping-pong that has helped him grow a successful business:
1. Ping-pong is a tactical game. You have to plan your moves ahead of time and predict your opponents’ moves to stay afloat. Businesses have to do the same, he says. “They have to constantly evaluate consumer tastes, predict trends in the market, and plan their moves in advance.”
2. It’s all about reacting. In ping-pong, you have to instantly react (with the right move) to stay in the game. “It’s the same in business!”
3. You have to know where your own weaknesses lie and cover those bases. On the flip side, you have to evaluate where your opponents’ weaknesses are and target them, Kleinberger says. “For example, if your opponent tends to be slower at reacting on their left side, that’s where you want to aim.” Employing this same strategy in business can be extremely helpful.
4. It’s a very fast game. One wrong miscalculation or move can result in losing. It’s great practice for thinking on your feet.
6. Games in ping-pong go very quickly, and, like businesses, one day can be a win and another can be a loss. The key is to maintain focus, constantly evaluate the competition, and keep an eye on trends, says Kleinberger.
7. Mistakes can cause you to lose points, but you should never dwell on them. Like business, the ping-pong game moves forward whether or not you are ready, so when you make a mistake, you need to quickly recognise what you did wrong and adjust, he explains. “This is great practice in learning to identify weak points in your business and also being able to calmly and confidently lead your team through hardships.”
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