The sports industry is one of the most competitive industries and knowing how to make your mark can be difficult.
Everyone’s career path is different, so try not to compare your growth and development to others – you should be your only competition.
If you want to make your sports business a success, then here are some of my top tips learned from developing 5 Star Tennis Holidays from the ground up:
Identify & Define
First of all, you need to define what successful means to you, for some people it can be defined by receiving financial rewards, others argue it's having a positive impact on others.
This step is key in defining how you are going to run your business and is something only you can decide.
In order to have a successful business in any industry, you need to have a viable idea/product that either no one else has, or that yours is an improvement on the existing products on the market.
I believe market research is a key stage in business development; reaching out to influential people in your sector, engaging users on social media and pilot testing the product/service to a small group of people will provide you with feedback that will ultimately shape your business.
At the time, there were very few companies that offered all-inclusive tennis holidays and the ones that did I felt weren’t exploiting the business to its full potential with groups, schools and singles activity holidays.
If you aren’t naturally creative, it may be an idea to receive advice from someone who is, as creative marketing and social media campaigns can make your company really stand out.
It’s important to recognize that you don’t know everything about your industry and probably never will, and so there are always new ways to approach your business, its infrastructure, ways of doing things and marketing – don’t let your ego get in the way of development.
Check out the Competition
Every business needs to identify their industry rivals in order to meet and manage customer expectations, charge competitive prices and stay current in the industry market.
By understanding your competitor's weaknesses you will be able to use them to improve your own business and avoid similar mistakes. Networking at industry specific events will enable you to get a deeper insight into your competition and the potential pitfalls to avoid.
Hire the Right Employees
It is a common refrain to say you are only as good as your team – and I couldn’t agree more.
Surround yourself with employees who believe in your product/service and they will become invested in the company and in turn, go that extra mile to ensure the business is a success.
I worked alone initially whilst I was building up the business, but as my business grew so did my staff size, employing certain tennis coaches abroad to work for me and under the 5 Star Tennis Holiday name. Remember, there is not a right or wrong way to grow your business, while agency staff is a great short term option, they may work out to be more expensive to use in the long term.
It’s important to speculate to accumulate.
When you are setting up your own business, it can become easy to become so consumed that it becomes almost impossible to step back and review a situation. It’s important to remember to trust your employees, delegate and avoid micromanaging them, otherwise you may end up stunting the growth and development of your business. Let others voice their opinions, some of 5 Star Tennis’s most successfully marketing plans have been suggested by other employees.
Currently, my business has over five and a half thousand likes on Facebook, over four thousand followers on Twitter and over seventeen thousand views on Google+, which means that when I publish something on social media my followers will engage with my content, making my business reach a wider audience.
If you are struggling to create an online presence then try creating a competition specifically designed for social media which asks entrants to share, like the post and the page. This should increase your following immediately, however in order to keep these new found followers you need to be sharing original and interesting content, be it industry news, new products/services or even discount codes, it’s important to keep the interest of your readers.
Service with a Smile!
I truly believe that good service and products speak for themselves, every single customer is an ambassador for your company - so make sure they have something positive to say.
Providing great customer service is easy and it should be the main part of your company ethos. Your customers will be more inclined to use your service again and recommend you, again widening your net of potential customers.
While I believe that you can help your chances of success by utilizing market research and promoting your product/service right, the timing of your launch can also affect your success.
Seeking advice on when the best time to launch your product/service from existing market leaders and potential customers may be a way to avoid a flop in the market.
Prepare to Make Sacrifices
To be successful in any industry, you must be willing to make sacrifices and this can come in a variety of forms: from missing out on some friends and family time, to saving that extra bit of money.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to create a successful startup business half-heartedly, so you may have to make a few sacrifices in order to be prosperous, especially in the beginning.
Remember…Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a successful business! So keep working hard, be consistent and always take risks, because without risks you might not have the opportunity to grow.
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