23 July, 2017

Innovating from within

Innovating from within

Photo Credit: Featureset1

As with all businesses, things need to change over time. The tagline to my consultancy is ‘creating strategic high performance environments, through innovation’.

The last six months for me has been one of innovating my own business. It was time to spend some effort working ON my business after having worked IN it for 3 years. So, there have been some changes and there will continue to be more, because innovation is about staying relevant.

Some things I will continue to do:

  • Have a focus on the sport industry and support grassroots clubs through to National Sporting Organisations;
  • Develop better leaders; and
  • Challenge the status quo and challenge our community to strive for a better performance both on and off the field.

Some exciting changes:

  • I am now also supporting commercial businesses in the recreation and fitness industries, as well as sport. Growing businesses has always been a passion and I have learnt a lot over my journey. So now is the time to share this experience and knowledge with those who need to develop their own business to be more sustainable.
  • I have partnered with an International business coaching group so I can provide more value to my clients. This gives my clients access to a business growth online program, which has been developed by experts.
  • I am doing more formal talks on leadership. This is something I am really excited about and will have more to share soon – Watch this space!

Building a Profitable Club or Business

So today, I thought I would start with one of the biggest problems I hear out there… How do I become more profitable as a club or business?

Many clubs and businesses believe that to become more profitable that they need to focus solely on attracting new members. But the fact is you need to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former members. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

NOTE: I use the terms 'customers' and 'members' interchangeably throughout this article and they both mean the same.

It is 5-25 times harder to attract a new customer to your business or club (in terms of marketing $$ and effort) than it is to retain and resell to an existing customer. If clubs and businesses can understand their customers’ needs and problems then they are likely to be able to develop a range of new services or products to sell. Through doing this, your customers will value you more, as you are solving their problems and providing them with what they want, through a brand that they already trust.

In Practice

Take for example a sporting club. Every year they sell uniforms for the season. The club has a really great culture and people love to wear the club uniform with pride. So the club decides to add in some other club branded products such as jandals (thongs for you Aussies), stubby coolers and hats. These are sold as part of a premium pack with the basic uniforms and the club makes a great profit margin on this premium pack. In fact, of the 300 members of the club, 150 bought the premium pack and the club makes $17 on the additional items. This is over $2,500 extra for the club. The members are happy as they are now the best looking club in the competition!

Or what about a fitness club. They have 100 members that come in weekly and through a survey they have found that 25% of their members are using pre-prepared meals at least three times per week. The club already has an informal relationship with a company that does pre-prepared meals. So they decide to formalise this relationship and provide a service to its members where they can order the meals through the gym on a Friday and pick them up from the gym after their Monday workout. The gym gets a percentage of the sales and the members love it as it is one less trip they have to make in their already busy schedules. The gym makes $2 per meal, so makes $150 per week or $7,800 per year!

Both scenarios provide each club with more money in their bank accounts for no more work on their part or having to find new members. And their members are happy because the club is providing more value to them as a customer. Win-Win.

Business Cornerstones

There are three cornerstones to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service;
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer; and
  • Offer subjects/content your customers find interesting.

Four Essentials

As a business owner or club committee member, you can only provide these cornerstones and retain your current customers and members by doing the following:

1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person, by pigeon if you have too! Talking with your members allows you to better understand them and what they need from you as a club.

2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported throughout their membership. How many times have you purchased a product or membership, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a thank you note with your contact or member services can go a long way in retaining a great member.

3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current members the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a deal specifically to reward loyal members.

4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go a long way with members. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap products out there. So the safer and more confident you make your members feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal member.

Stop wasting all your time on prospective members while your current members fall by the wayside! If you want to build a more profitable club then understand the problems your current members have and how you can solve them or find what they need and provide a product or service to fill this need.

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

Does this interest you? Want to know more? I coach businesses and clubs who want to achieve amazing results. I only take on a limited number of new clients per month to maintain the quality of my coaching so you achieve real results. Get in touch for a free consultation.

© 2017 Paul Mead

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