Thoughts to consider for those involved in the Sports Industry during COVID-19
In this article, industry stalwart, Geoff Wilson, who runs his own sports consultancy working with clients such as FIFA, UEFA, AFC and FIBA across the world, outlines some practical things to consider for businesses involved in the sports industry during the Coronavirus pandemic.
We are living in strange and challenging times, so I wanted to provide some thoughts for you to consider at this time as a business involved in the sports industry:
- Get to know your industry through conducting online research. This is one I have found really helpful for me. This time at home has allowed me to research what is happening in the sports world and to listen to industry experts. This has included, but not limited to; listening to podcasts, attending webinars and online conferences, reading articles and research papers etc.
- Strategic planning. Is now the time to consider reviewing (or even developing your strategic plan). Consider the following strategic steps to follow:
These steps will include research. Where are we now: desk research, online surveys and online focus groups with internal and external stakeholders. In addition to the research, online meetings with key staff should be established to start and review (or define) your vision, mission, values, goals, objectives and actions plans.
This strategic plan does not have be 100 pages!! Focus on the key priorities and ensure you execute them with great planning.
You may want to create an short term plan (over the next 6 months) or a longer term 3-5 year plan.
- From a practical level, I would suggest you:
- Start to create a sales pipeline.
-Who is in your ‘black book’ (who do you know well)? Can you reach out to them,
-What about your current customers? Can they help with introductions?
-connect with people who attend the online conferences etc?
The aim is to create a list of businesses whom you can target not only when we come through the other end of this pandemic but also now.
- Start to review, reduce and control your costs. What expenses can you do without or reduce now. Ensure you keep a tight reign on all expenses. This is important!
- Ensure you take advantage of government support and help at this time.
- Use of technology such as webinars. As the challenge of working from home becomes a reality, it is important for sports organisations to be proactive and use the technology asap. This involves a change of habit and culture but no one knows how long this situation will last.
Also, when normality returns, we will also see the benefits of using technology alongside the face to face meetings.
- Consider online training. I was asked by the Barca Innovation Hub (FC Barcelona) to create an online digital marketing course for sports organisations. This process took time. This got me thinking how much knowledge many of us have in the sports industry. What better way to share it that to create online courses. There are a variety of elearning platforms out there to help you get started. Do some research into the best platforms, how to structure content and how to promote your course.
In addition to creating online courses, why not take this time to expand your own knowledge by taking courses and improving your understanding of topics such as digital, sponsorship, fan engagement, data etc.
Check out: https://barcainnovationhub.com/product/digital-marketing-in-sports/
- Reconnect with your staff. For me, staff is the number one area to focus on during times like these. Staff are not only the people who deliver your brand promise but also helps you to build your organisation’s reputation. In today’s world, we often have less time for staff (getting to know them, mentor and train them, get the most from them etc)
We are too busy in meetings and doing emails! So, I suggest this is now a good time to get to know your staff, look after them and develop them. I believe, if done correctly, this will improve staff loyalty and retention.
- WFH (Work From Home). As you settle into life at home, I suggest you don’t burn yourself out. Try (and I know its hard), to have set times when working from home. I believe staff working a normal week can be more productive than staff who are working ridiculous hours – the brain needs a break!!
- Reconnect with your family. This may be a strange one to mention but it’s your family who not only support you in your sports role but now they have time to see you due to the long hours involved in the industry. So spend time with the family. This will be good for your mental health.
About Geoff Wilson
Geoff runs his own Sports Consultancy, working with clients such as FIFA, UEFA, AFC and FIBA across the world. He is also on the board of Tourism Northern Ireland. You can follow Geoff on Twitter @geoffwnjwilson or connect on Linkedin at linkedin.com/in/geoffwnjwilson
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