I always enjoy hearing from successful business owners from around the world and learning about their journey. Just recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Jared Smith, owner of Victus Sports, and was thoroughly inspired by his business story.
Victus Sports was started in 2012 by two friends, Jared Smith and Ryan Engroff, who were passionate about baseball. While playing in adult leagues, they wanted to make high-quality bats that are the same models that Major League Baseball players use on a daily basis. Knowing how difficult it can be to find a good wood bat, they dedicated their efforts in making the best wood bat they could.
“I was working at a local steel mill and creating wood bats on the side,” said Smith. “We wanted to turn a hobby into a business that we could scale, and bring on employees from different backgrounds that could contribute to our success.”
The Victus team now consists of people that are passionate about baseball and creating fully customized bats for players of all ages. And, that team is also responsible for making bats for more than 100 major and minor league baseball players. It is clear that Jared understands the importance of having a winning team that shares the same vision and goals.
“Being around baseball is the best part of the business,” said Smith. “Every team member has their role, we work together really well and it’s reflected in our bats. We always strive for quality over quantity.”
Using Tools to Help the Business
While it is important to have an amazing product, a high-performing team and a love for the game, it is also necessary to have tools that will grow with your business. One of those tools that Victus has been using is QuickBase.
“We use QuickBase to handle our entire production and invoicing,” said Smith. “It has been integral in keeping our accounting records up to date, and we find it very valuable to our business operations.”
While QuickBase has been a valuable tool, Jared also has been in search of an accounting solution that can create additional reports, as well as keeping track of billing and expenses. This is where QuickBooks® Online (QBO) has stepped in. After researching other accounting products, Jared decided to join the Intuit® family by getting a QBO license.
“Moving forward, QuickBooks Online is going to be important because of its ease of use,” said Smith. “We started the business by handwriting everything. Knowing that we will be able to itemize things and have remote access makes QuickBooks Online the ideal choice.”
Innovating for Growth
While Victus bats have been a hit (literally) at every level of baseball, Jared is always looking to innovate and create products that separate them from the competition. Most recently, they ventured into creating an Axe bat that professionals, such as Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox) and Carlos Correa (Houston Astros), have been using.
In a recent study, Axe bats have shown to be more comfortable, deliver more efficient power and increase bat speed, through barrel acceleration. The Axe bat is also something that can be custom-made to order, and allows them to continue to put out the best quality product on the market.
“Customization has been something that our customers are asking for, and that has helped us continue to grow,” said Smith. “Our price point is a little higher than some of our competition, but our product is better.”
In addition to creating innovative products, it’s also important to network and learn from other business professionals who can help you grow your business. As a business owner, it is vital to love what you do, work hard and often times swallow your pride. These are all areas that Jared has been able to understand, and he has great advice for anyone looking to start a business.
“You have to be willing to sell out and put everything you have into it,” said Smith. “It’s a 24/7 job and when you get pushed the most, you will be a believer and the chips will fall into place.”
The risk is definitely worth the reward, and Victus bats have been changing the game. Victus sells its bats through its website and in area sporting goods outlets. Their bats range from $55 for a fungo to $179 for an axe bat. Also, their ProPACT bat, which has helped separate them from the competition, is at $159.