Building Blocks of Successful Sports Based Companies
A misconception as an entrepreneur is that if you’ve had success then you’ll always be successful. First of all, that’s not even close to being true. As my good friend Bill Gates outlines pretty clearly:
In addition to that, if you are already successful, start really honing in on the 3 areas below to continue making sure you separate yourself from the pack. You’ve probably attained your level of success due to these reasons anyway, don’t lose sight of that.
If you’re hoping to get to another level of earnings for your business, then my advice is exactly the same. No matter where you find yourself, taking this 3 step approach for your company will provide the foundation for years to come.
As we help our clients navigate the exciting world of being a sports facility entrepreneur we come across some of the most passionate, driven, and talented people we’ve ever met. The goal of Parkview Sports Group has always been and will continue to be helping sports facility entrepreneurs get the absolute most out of their experience running their own companies.
Being able to truly understand what our clients go through on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis has allowed Parkview Sports to make a direct impact on the success of their sports facilities. Some of our clients are first time entrepreneurs and are in first time partnerships. Some are in a position to hire staff or a GM to handle the daily operations. Some have never been responsible for the entire success of a company. No matter what your previous experience is, operating, marketing, hiring, training, negotiating, selling, all while being the visionary and leader is not a situation many have experience in.
To help personal trainers, sports facility owners, sports complex founders, and anyone in between we’ve outlined 3 areas that the most successful sports facilities and sports based companies focus on.
No company, especially a service based company, can survive and flourish without great people. All sports facility and personal training entrepreneurs live and die by selling their services. The only way to sell a service is by having the people you employ buy into the message and vision of the company. They are your best asset.
The facilities we work with all employ great people, there’s no question. These employees however need to be motivated and inspired to help grow the organization. As an example, one of the baseball & softball facilities we work with has a really difficult time keeping their best instructors and coaches for more than 1 year. Every year they seem to have their instructors jump ship to another facility or organization.
The best thing our client could have done to prevent this was provide structure and an opportunity for them to be successful. There were no incentives, no goals, and no encouragement. A recipe for disaster and a terrible way to create a great culture. We’ve helped them establish a clear way to keep really great people over the long term. Tying staff into the success of the company as well as individually being recognized for a job well done has been instrumental in improving sales. In fact, check out one of our pieces where we outline the specific process we took with a Yoga Studio we work with.
For most sports facility owners the most difficult part of running a successful company is understanding that in order to grow you’ll need to have people that can help you. Delegating what you can’t do and aren’t good at means you need to admit you can’t do it and you’re not good at something. Without entrusting a loyal staff, a sports facility will be handcuffed in it’s ability to grow and expand.
There isn’t a person we’ve worked with that owns their own sports facility or does personal training that isn’t incredible at sales. Every. Single. One. Excellent at sales. The common weakness? Structure. Once the sale is made our clients struggle to make sure the rest is taken care of. Getting in front of someone, speaking about what they do, and closing sales is not the issue at all.
Being able to stay organized, manage time, and develop systems is by far and away where most of our clients struggle. The most successful facilities we work with have clear systems in place for how they run their business. This ranges from how they hire and train staff, how they engage clients, how they track clients, how they manage staff, and how they manage their own time and responsibilities.
Developing a way that works specifically for you is the advantage and disadvantage of being an entrepreneur. The advantage is no one is going to tell you there is a certain way to do things, so you can design systems however works best for you. The bad news is that no one is going to tell you to do things a certain way! You have to figure it out on your own.
Putting pen to paper to really see how you operate isn’t something you can do in a day. It needs to be a way of life. You need to constantly be adding systems and tweaking them along the way. Don’t bog yourself down with a system for every detail, but have a clear way that the company needs to operate if you’re not there.
A way we’ve helped describe the process to our clients is to develop a handbook as if you weren’t coming to work the next day. What needs to get done, how does it get done, and what does a good job look like? Take that approach with your systems and you’ll find yourself amazed at how much more efficient and profitable your sports facility will be.
As pointed out above, service is the life blood of sports facilities. No matter if you provide private training, memberships, parties, rental space, tournaments, leagues, or corporate events the common denominator is that you’re providing a service.
Many of our clients spend a ton of time on the aesthetics, equipment, pricing, and promotional pieces of running their sports facility. All are important, none are more important than actually providing the service that they advertise. For example, spending all that money on making your facility look nice with eye catching promotional pieces that advertise your private training will all mean NOTHING if your training isn’t consistent or what the client expected.
Start to look at your services through your clients eyes. What should be their first impression? Are they getting the same level of service each visit? Are you actually providing the service you are selling? If you were a client of your company would you be satisfied with what you’re receiving?
Before you get too far into the habit of not focusing on the service you provide, take time to really drill down on the level of service not only you, but also your staff is providing. If a client does a batting lesson with you and then one week later they use another instructor, will the client have the same experience?
If they like you more, then there’s an issue. If they like the other instructor more, then there’s an issue. Neither one is more of an issue than the other and that’s the important part that owners need to understand. You are both part of the entire company regardless of your title. If one of you isn’t holding up your end of the bargain then there needs to be real change to make sure that doesn’t continue. Yes, your personalities won’t be the same, but the client experience should be almost identical. That’s the key to longevity. When I buy a pizza from a restaurant it should taste the same no matter who cooks it and I should receive the same level of service no matter who answers the phone. Can you say the same for your company?
Stay Focused On The Basics
Regardless of all the bells and whistles your competitors are adding or the facility that just opened up down the road, you need to focus on these 3 things daily.
Forget everything you’ve ever heard about how you need to run your sports facility.
Focus on developing a really great staff, create clear systems so everyone knows how the company operates, and provide a consistent service for your customers and you’ll be in business way longer than any of your competitors!