Why Your Sports Business Isn’t Flourishing

sports business how to make your sports business flourish
Even if your business is sports related, you are still dealing with people and human nature. Learning how to inspire and motivate is a big part of your companies success.
This article is a guest contribution from Tim Ziakis, Founder/CEO of Parkview Sports Group

“Why isn't anyone doing their job around here lately?”

Ever feel that way?

As the CEO or owner of a company, has there ever been a time when you asked yourself, "Is anyone doing their job right? Everything thing seems to be falling apart!" As someone who is in charge, you need to think long and deep about what is happening in your organization. Especially if it's clear the people that you have given certain responsibilities are not holding up their end of the bargain.

Figuring out what they should be doing and who isn't doing it aren't the hard parts...the hard part is figuring out why and how to fix it.

Why are they not doing their job the way you feel they should be and what steps will you take to insure that changes?

This is where all companies can drastically improve their bottom line. Start ups, growing sports businesses, and large companies can all take their companies to higher levels if they have systems to identify who is performing up to expectations, and if not how to correct the issues.

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Train The Right Way, The First Time

A huge reason for people under performing is they've never been taught what a good job is. They were thrown into training without having a clear understanding or being comfortable with what they are responsible for.

For example, we see sports facility owners that hire a front desk person without truly training them. They show them around, give them the password for the computer, show them how to use the phone, how to close down, how to open up and that's about it.

sports business careers running a sports business
Fixing a culture or atmosphere problem at your sports business is possible
There is no formal training, continued training, or appraisal system.

How on Earth will they do a good job if they never learned in the first place? How are they going to make sales, provide great customer service, and manage your facility without personalized training from you? They're not!

How do you want them answering the phone, emailing customers, or handling emergencies when you're not there?  Train them right and avoid disaster.

Develop An Appraisal System

Everyone who has ever held a job wants to know if they do a good job.  It's human nature.  However, it's also human nature when you're not given any appraisals (positive or critical) to slowly shut down and the quality of work diminishes. You are the leader and must be able to explain to your employees how you define success:

  • What does a good job look like?

  • How long should it take?

  • What does a finished product look like?

  • What goals are set?

  • What are the roles and expectations?

Once the appraisal system is set, you need to set a specific time to review with your employees how they did. Too many companies have deadlines to meet or goals to reach, yet never take the time to review with everyone how they did. This appraisal isn't just some casual meeting where you feed them some small talk about how they did a good job and if they continue their hard work there will be opportunities awaiting them.

That's a great way to destroy your company, fast...

It destroys your sports business because you don't have any opportunities waiting for them and they know it. If you actually had a tangible opportunity you wouldn't need to tell them, they'd already know what they're shooting for.

After a project is done, you need to get everyone together as a group and individually to review how they did, what they did well, areas that need to be improved, and then moving forward what a good job will look like on the next project.

You'll also want to have tangible, clearly outlined goals for them and incentives they can achieve. This means you need to be well prepared and forward thinking. You cannot "wing" it. Having incentives is not enough however, you'll need to consistently be reminding everyone of the goals and vision.  They will not simply come to work and be motivated on their own. Yes, some will be motivated, but the majority will need subtle reminders and encouragement on how to reach those goals.

sports business finding success
Want happy employees? Establish and share your vision for success and inspire them to perform their best toward company goals
For example, some of our clients have private lessons or training as a source of revenue (gyms, yoga, dance, martial arts) and we teach them how to appraise their lessons for revenue growth and success, not just checking the box that it happened. We have them evaluate things like:

  • What does a good lesson consist of?

  • What should each lesson achieve?

  • How many lessons should be done this quarter?

  • How many new clients should we attract through referrals?

If we can establish the criteria and attach some goals for referrals (not sales, referrals) then there is a much better chance of growth as opposed to if we just let their instructors do whatever they want without any goals. There is also a much better chance that instructor stays motivated because they know what's expected and what to shoot for.

Bonus/Incentive Program

If you want to effect change in your sports business, rewards MUST coincide with the goal you're looking to achieve.  If you want a certain level of sales, the reward has to be tangible to increased sales. If you're looking to improve culture, the reward has to be reflective of positive culture.

For example, implementing a cash bonus rewards system for increasing membership sales will not improve the negative culture of your trainers or improve customer service in your organization. We see too many companies with poor culture try to improve morale by attaching cash bonuses for a doing a good job. What they don't understand is that people just want to enjoy where they work, not be rewarded to do their job.

Many times, if they already feel they are doing a good job, they want to continue to do that job but in a better atmosphere. Don't get me wrong, they will probably appreciate the cash bonuses in addition, but really all they are looking for is a better atmosphere to work in. The rewards you need to put into place revolve around developing a positive work environment and improved company culture in this situation.

sports business success
Success in sports business often comes down to having a plan and helping yoru employees understand the big picture

  • Reward positive reviews on Yelp, Facebook, or on your website.

  • Encourage clients to rank their customer service and if your staff can attain a certain number of positive reviews then they will be rewarded.

  • If the reward is tangible, the staff will start to focus on customer service much more closely.

Remember, the reason no one is doing a good job isn't because they don't want to. They either haven't been taught properly, been held accountable in their role, given constructive appraisals, or seen rewards that push them to do a better job.

Take a good hard look at the state of your company. If you don't have a pulse on morale then you can bet that no one is doing their job!

Follow us on Twitter @ParkviewGroup to find plenty of great advice, information, and motivation...Tweet us questions or situations you need help with!

Tim Ziakas is a Sports Facility Consultant who specializes in helping sports facility owners run growing, viable, and profitable companies. He is one of the only Sports Facility Consultants who has real life experience purchasing, operating, growing, and selling sports facilities and sports training companies. His leadership and sales training stems from real life experiences both in the financial services industry and sports facility industry.
By Brian Clapp | February 02, 2015
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