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Resourcefulness and Club Survival

Eric, Syd and Doug have demonstrated admirably the trait of resourcefulness and innovation that exists throughout the bowling scene.

A common theme running through all of these stories is the determination to do the job correctly, regardless of the financial barriers in the way.

I spelled out this need for clear and innovative thinking in my Manifesto for a Successful Bowling Club late last year. The Manifesto is still available Free here.

Although these readers have demonstrated the common theme of resourcefulness and innovation, the stories are also clear illustration of the main issue in bowling today; lack of funds!

When Eric emailed the details of his machine, he went on to say that he had often thought of trying to get a group of clubs together in his local area to share the cost and benefit of new machinery…another example of innovative thinking.

Almost every email or query I receive from readers of this site starts with or includes a sentence about how they are working under very difficult financial conditions.

Club Management Committees must start to embrace the Read more

Barriers to Club Survival and Turnaround

When thinking about turning your club’s fortunes around it is easy to get sidetracked by barriers; and even easier to think that all barriers are the same.

However, if you look closely at the barriers to starting the process of recovery, there are different varieties; on a basic level some of these barriers are “problems” and some are “constraints”.

Here are a few Problems:

  1. We don’t have any money to spend on marketing
  2. Our facilities are a bit tired looking
  3. The heating doesn’t work very well
  4. Our bar license doesn’t allow for that type of business

and here are a few Constraints:

  1. There is a lack of interest in bowling
  2. Its winter and nobody wants to know about bowling
  3. We can’t get enough junior members
  4. Our bowling membership is declining year on year

Have a look over them; you will notice that you normally can’t do much about constraints, but you can usually resolve problems.

So…stop worrying about the constraints; work around them.

Start dealing with the top 3 problems which are holding you back today. Going back to our problems above:

We don’t have any money to spend on marketing

Your target market is known to you: get out and talk to them…its FREE

Our facilities are a bit tired looking

Hold a paint and barbeque afternoon next Sunday for members

The heating doesn’t work very well

Find a local engineer (member) and do a deal…or use the warmer rooms to start with.

Our bar license doesn’t allow for that type of business

Create a new category of membership for your new target markets or re-negotiate the license.

Above all get working on something…decide what the top 3 barriers (problems) are and get working on them.

Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
In this ebook we take you through a groundbreaking, step by step blueprint to save your struggling bowling club and reveal the 7 key steps that you can start taking immediately to start making a serious go of your club. more details
Price: £9.97

Understanding your target audience

Today I would like to introduce the concept of “a target audience”

I deal with this comprehensively in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround and it takes a view that the successful bowling clubs of the future will look quite a bit different to the ones we are familiar with today.

The essence of this is that not all of your club’s revenue will come from bowlers and that you will need to set your sights on a much wider range of “customers” within your local community if your club is to thrive.

This is why I have repeatedly used the terms Member, Customer and User; to try to differentiate between the traditional bowling club member and the future mix of customers a club (the word “customer” of course emphasising the need for clubs to think like businesses) will require to focus on if it is to attract and sustain sufficient foot-fall to thrive in the future.

Of course, people won’t be conveniently Read more

Tradition and Dissatisfaction.

"Traditional" Mowing Schedules are damaging a lot of clubs

Last week’s post on green-speed has raised a few questions, a lot of them along the lines of

“How can we afford to cut the green 7 days a week?”

In the introduction to my book Performance Bowling Greens I speak about the danger of traditions.

Traditions are funny things, because they don’t actually seem to need to be very old, or for that matter very sensible for them to take hold; they only need a bit of support from a few people and Bingo! They are “new” traditions.

One of the quirkiest? Cutting the green on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, usually early in the morning. Why has this become a tradition at many clubs?

Well it probably boils down to cost mainly and perhaps convenience and possibly a little bit of misunderstanding of the growth pattern of greens.

Following this cutting plan those playing on Monday evening, Tuesday, Wednesday evening, Thursday, Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday are not seeing or playing the green at anything near its best!

That leaves a lot of potentially dissatisfied customers!

So in answer to the question at the beginning, another question:

How can you afford not to?

However, in Bowling Club Turnaround terms remember dissatisfaction can actually be a good thing as it gives you a huge opportunity to move things to a better state and make an overall positive gain from an otherwise negative situation.




Bowling Club Turnaround- the 5 Actions you MUST Take now! FREE REPORT

Bowls TurnaroundFirst it was a double dip and now it seems that the UK is on for a Triple Dip recession! With all this doom and gloom around, its no wonder that many bowling clubs are like rabbits caught in the headlights.

It seems like there is nothing we can do to ensure the survival  of our bowling clubs never mind actually increasing revenue and building a successful, thriving club for the future.

Well, its easy to get caught up in the misery of it all, especially when you look out of the window and see grey skies and rain. Then the news comes on and its all flood warnings and danger triangles! Long summer evenings on the green seem like a universe away!

However, this is exactly the time when you have time on your hands to get your bowling club set up for a bright future.

Ignore the news and just take these 5 easy steps to turning your club around for the long term. I’ve written a new report detailing the 5 most important steps you Must take now to make sure your club is one of the lucky ones. There’s actually no luck involved, its just a matter of employing the right actions at the right time to set your club up for future success that many dismiss as impossible.

Download your FREE report NOW!

Who would you meet at your club in the good old days?

Funny question you might be thinking.

However, I believe that the answer to that question lies at the heart of the current decline of bowling and bowling clubs.

If you can answer it thoroughly and properly you have one piece of a two piece puzzle.

Now you just have to find (or create) the other piece.

In my travels I hear a lot of bad news about bowling clubs and I hear the same reasons for this decline; smoking ban has reduced sales over the bar; can’t get any juniors in; everyone is getting older; green maintenance is too expensive; supermarkets selling cheap booze; people aren’t taking up the game etc etc.

These are largely assumptions with no hard evidence behind them.

What I never hear is: the club projects a gloomy, unwelcoming image; we don’t allow or encourage the general public to come along; we are really only interested in people who want to bowl; we have the best red tape in the county; we don’t take any notice of what’s going on elsewhere in our local community.

Conversely, whether you like it or not there is hard, measurable evidence for this at many clubs.

The Successful Bowling Club Manifesto lays out a plan for taking your club back to the good old days and creating something you can really be proud of and that your local community will support and enjoy. You can get it Free here

Instant income for your bowls club

If you had to find instant income for your bowls club, hard cash to keep your club alive this week, where could you look?

Probably not right in front of your nose but that would be a mistake.

The successful bowling club of the future will be about a lot more than just bowling; it will be a centre for community involvement and readers of my eBook Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround will know that there are hundreds of ideas that can be applied to clubs to start the process of turning them into vibrant and thriving institutions.

Anyway, back to today’s quest: where can you look for immediate cash?

Pick up your local paper and turn to the clubs and organisations news section.

In my local paper this week, 20 different clubs and organisations had a report published and they included; Rotary, Probus, Horticultural Society, Speakers Club, various medical support groups, Inner Link, BNi, Ramblers, Wildlife Trust, Parent and Toddlers. Events were also publicised such as Whist, Bingo, Films, Quiz Nights, etc etc.

Have a look in your own local paper and invite the leader of each group along to get a free viewing of your facilities, coffee, meet the members. If one or two of these groups could change their meeting venue to your club this month, that is instant income.

Ok so you will (this is not a maybe) need to make changes to accommodate this, but view it as the start of something that will grow and the justification for the changes is much easier.

Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
In this ebook we take you through a groundbreaking, step by step blueprint to save your struggling bowling club and reveal the 7 key steps that you can start taking immediately to start making a serious go of your club. more details

Pleasing Everybody when Saving Your Bowls Club

Not everyone will agree with your plan.

When trying to save your bowling club, it is easy to be put off or put down by people or comments from within the club.

The trouble is that you will never please everybody.

If you’ve read my Manifesto for a Successful Bowling Club you will know about the importance of making a club policy that locks in the direction you are going in at least until the consensus of opinion is changed.

If you’ve read my Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround eBook you will know about the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle. This is a rule that turns out true for so many different areas of business and life in general that it’s hard to ignore it; simply put this principle says that 80% of the effect will be achieved by 20% of the effort. It is also true that 80% of the work will be achieved by 20% of the people and of course that 80% of the moans, groans and negativity will come from 20% of your members.

If you set out to try to please everybody, your project will stall early.

Make sure you communicate your intentions well, and that the ideas you want to progress with are group decisions; then get them locked in to policy early on.

Communicate regularly and consistently how progress is being made.

Expect that only 20% of the members will actively take part in the process.

Don’t be put off by the negative comments from the 20% that don’t agree with anything.

Just do your work, communicate it well and make sure to report on measurable changes frequently to show the progress you are making.

Don’t allow a clique to form, keep trying to get fresh input regardless of how hard it seems to do.

Above all keep going it will all be worth it.

Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
In this ebook we take you through a groundbreaking, step by step blueprint to save your struggling bowling club and reveal the 7 key steps that you can start taking immediately to start making a serious go of your club. more details
Price: £9.97

Club Turnaround Basics-Member Retention

With the continued contraction of overall membership of bowling clubs, it is clear that the clubs most likely to survive and turnaround their fortunes are the ones that have a clear strategy for membership growth and retention.

Growing bowling club membership is a big topic because it doesn’t just include getting more people in to bowl at your club as we might always have imagined. It is now vital that we not only have a clear picture of what a “member” looks like but also that we are very open minded as to what this could or should include. In Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround, I have clearly defined what I think the bowling club of the near future will look like and I go on to define what a member might be.

Anyway, back to retaining the members you already have and first a look at new members and the skill of engendering a feeling of belonging to your club. If a new member doesn’t feel that they belong to your club they will quickly leave and another subscription is lost. Building that feeling is, like it or not, the job of Read more

Overcoming Resistance in Bowls Club Turnaround

“Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow”

This is the common mantra of the serial procrastinator.

In bowling club turnaround terms, putting off taking action until tomorrow could be critical or even terminal for your club.

So why do so many clubs avoid taking action on such obvious problems as:

  1. falling membership numbers
  2. falling income levels
  3. increasing costs
  4. poorly performing greens
  5. crumbling buildings

The list goes on and on.

Well, the easy answer is “we don’t have enough money to improve the facilities”

But this is a self fulfilling prophecy in many respects as the lack of action on the smallest details leads to an increasing feeling of helplessness and the club slips into a downward spiral of failure.

What can be done?

The simple answer is Anything!

Doing nothing will guarantee failure.

Even if you get it wrong, you will have made a mistake you can learn from.

So in a typical club what needs to be done?

  1. Reduce Costs
  2. Maximise Income
  3. Create a business Strategy that includes a strategies for Marketing your speciality to potential users/members; users/new member sources, Delivering an outstanding experience to all of your members/users and to guarantee a consistent service delivery. To do this you will need to develop strategies for Staff and volunteer management; Financial Management and Innovation -to help you stay ahead you need to continually develop new ideas to improve what you offer (products and services) and how you deliver them to customers (processes)
  4. Eradicate Wasteful expenditure
  5. Create a system for Continuous Improvement

Finally for today your club must have a group that is dedicated to pushing this plan through, regardless of the level of resistance from internal and external sources.

This group must learn to distinguish the key differences between Projects and Actions and make sure that each project is broken down into key actions that can be taken every day to move the club’s turnaround process along on a steady path.

Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
In this ebook we take you through a groundbreaking, step by step blueprint to save your struggling bowling club and reveal the 7 key steps that you can start taking immediately to start making a serious go of your club. more details
Price: £9.97