It’s very easy to look at the best teams and athletes in any sport and assume that they have all the secrets to success, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are many factors that go into being successful in sports, and these range from business-focused elements like hiring the right people or investing in the right technologies to intangible qualities like being passionate about the sport or having discipline and commitment in your training regimen. Regardless of your goals as an athlete or businessperson, you can learn something from following these examples of successful sports businesses.
Achieving Success with Integrity
Attaining success in any field often relies on integrity. No matter how many books or courses you take, you have to be honest with yourself and others if you want to be successful in the sports business. Honesty gives you credibility, and your integrity will be what makes your sports business successful. This can be applied to both personal as well as professional lives.
The Difference Between Professionals and Amateurs
It’s A Matter of Perspective: One of my favorite quotes about sports is from Joseph Campbell, who said, It is clear that we don’t learn because we want to know; we learn because we don’t want to suffer. There are times when I’ve taken risks in business and not achieved all that I wanted—and there are other times when I didn’t take those risks and suffered because of it. The main lesson: never let your fear of failure hold you back from pursuing what you really want. Sometimes you need to embrace risk if you ever hope to succeed. If you’re serious about making money with sports (either on or off the field), then you’ll have to start thinking like a professional instead of an amateur.
Athletes aren’t amateurs, and they’re professionals. And guess what? Neither are entrepreneurs! If you want to get into sports professionally, then think like one yourself… Because while luck always plays some role in success or failure, perspective makes a big difference in where each sits along that spectrum. Amateurs may flail around trying different things without much planning or forethought—professionalism requires planning and preparation (both for success and failure). If luck IS involved here, then it shouldn’t matter whether someone succeeds or fails as long as they were prepared for either outcome.
How Do I Know If My Business Is Profitable?
Is your business making money? It can be hard to tell sometimes. Take, for example, a company that breaks even at $1 million in sales but hits that number one year and goes bankrupt after five years when it hits $5 million. That’s not successful — no matter how many new customers you acquired or how much you grew. However, if your business is profitable all three years, it’s considered successful no matter what growth rate it experienced. How do you know if your company is profitable then?
Here are two questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you growing year over year?
2. Is your business profitable each year, without fail?
If you answered yes to both questions, congrats! You’ve got yourself a successful sports business.
Keep Costs Low
Keeping costs low is a big part of what makes a successful sports business. It helps ensure you don’t go broke trying to keep up with your competitors, and if you do, they can’t outspend you anyway. Keep an eye on how much money your organization spends on overhead and compare it to your revenue. If your costs are exceeding revenue, work on ways to boost those numbers up so that expenses don’t become too much for you to handle. Failing to do so could mean going under before you ever really get started.
Set Goals That Motivate
Those who aren’t motivated to reach their goals are unlikely to achieve them. To set yourself up for success, it’s important that you determine exactly what your goals are and how you will be motivated to reach them. Simply deciding to lose weight isn’t enough — are you going to do it by exercise alone, or will you need help from medication as well? Are you going all-out and aiming for an incredibly fast weight loss in an effort to fit into smaller clothes, or do your want just want enough weight off so that others don’t comment on your size anymore? Once you know what motivates you, it becomes easier to set reasonable goals that can be met with just a little bit of extra effort.
Make Necessary Changes Quickly
In sports, it’s all about winning on game day. That philosophy is not just for sports teams it’s essential for sports businesses too. If you are not continually assessing your product and customer experience, then you aren’t making necessary changes quickly enough to win in your market. You must be willing to make tough decisions when needed and continue to focus on evolving your company and its products or services. Without being agile and open to change, you risk falling behind your competitors and losing valuable customers along the way. For example, just look at how many new live streaming services have launched over just two years and it seems like new ones are popping up every week!
Make the Best Use of Resources Available
In many cases, one of your greatest assets will be staff. Unless you’re planning to start your sports business solo, it’s essential that you make the best use of the resources available. You should keep in mind that every member of your team has their own strengths and weaknesses, which means they have individual traits that may contribute or detract from their overall performance as a whole.
Your job is to identify these traits and then determine how to make them work for you – not against you. For example, an inexperienced employee with great potential may need additional training and mentoring before being thrown into an actual work environment – but if handled correctly, he could turn out to be quite valuable for your team in both his knowledge and his ability to learn quickly on-the-job.
There Are No Guarantees in Any Sport
Even for experts, the sports industry is notoriously hard to predict and analyze. No matter how well-known and watched your sport is or how large its fan base is, you can’t really guarantee much of anything. Even though teams in established leagues have a set schedule and regular structure that fans know about ahead of time, things can always change quickly. After all, sports are inherently unpredictable it’s what makes them so exciting! So instead of worrying about whether or not you can succeed in your sports business venture (or if it will be profitable), focus on what you want to do, think about why you want to do it, and then figure out who else might share your passions.
Pay Attention to Detail
If you watch any NBA, NFL, MLB, or PGA tournament from front to back, you might think that everything you need to know about sports business can be found in action on-court/on-field. Though there are many business lessons that can be gleaned from these events—big and small, obvious and subtle—you’ll still miss out on an entire host of valuable information by ignoring off-court/off-field activities. If you want to become a successful sports business person, pay attention to detail: Not only should your players make sure they dot their I’s and cross their T’s during games (or practices), but so should you.
Sales & Marketing are Crucial to Growth & Profitability
In most cases, it makes more sense to concentrate on developing your core strengths than it does to diversify. The reason is simple: you’re far more likely to create and sustain success if you pick one niche in which you’ll put all of your effort toward excelling rather than spreading yourself thin. And while diversification sounds good in theory, you’ll have an easier time building something special if you focus all of your efforts into one thing, rather than trying to do a little bit of everything.
(Of course, that’s not always possible; when your interests are too broad or you’re worried about getting stuck in a single industry, there’s nothing wrong with expanding into related markets.) If you can’t decide between two different fields within sports—or three or four—it may be smarter to find someone else who has expertise in each field as partners. This way, everyone stays fresh and sharpened by working outside their comfort zone every once in a while.
Work on Core Strengths Before Diversifying
A critical mistake that many new businesses make is trying to do too much. Often, a small business will have just one or two talented members, and these individuals can handle every aspect of an operation on their own. But when they decide to expand, they end up spreading themselves thin and sacrificing quality over quantity—and ultimately put their business at risk. Instead of trying to be everything all at once, it’s better to concentrate on your core strengths (typically) and use them as a stepping stone for future growth. Doing so lets you establish yourself in your niche market before venturing out into other arenas—helping build brand trust while solidifying your reputation in your community.
What makes a successful sports business is like asking what makes an attractive person. It’s different for everyone; at least, we hope it is. In some cases, there are a set of traits that make great people great—whether they’re in sports or not. Personality traits play a huge role in success, but factors like passion and resilience. A great coach has to have both of those qualities and more if he or she is going to build something special. The same goes for business owners, club executives, and even athletes who are thinking about launching their own brand one day (more on that here). The most important thing any leader can do is surround themselves with quality people who complement their skillsets and trust them to do their jobs.