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From the mouths of babes…the 5 whys (?)

Anyone who has young children or grand children will know the delight and discomfort of the 5 whys. 4 year olds have a knack of getting to the truth quickly, simply by repeatedly asking “why?”

Lets try it:

Why1. Why is our once thriving club struggling financially?

Ans. Because we are losing members.

Why2. Why are we losing members?

Ans. Because fewer people are taking up the game.

Why3. Why are fewer people taking up the game?

Ans. Because it has an image problem

Why4. Why does it have an image problem?

Ans. Because we insist on enforcing traditions from another era on the game.

Why5. Why do we insist on this?

Ans. Because we are nostalgic for the old days.

That sounds nice, so why (sorry that’s 6 whys!) is that a problem?

Nostalgia is the biggest known killer of innovation!

What does our bowls club look like Now?

Having a clear picture of your club’s current standing is essential before you can even start to thnk about the future.

Without this picture of the situation as it is Now, you can’t possibly decide where you are going in the future.

The winter months are a good time to be gathering this information, deciding on a vision for the future and developing plans for getting there.

When writing this up, think in terms of of finance, popularity, future costs and income, offers in the pipeline, projects coming up, green condition and maintenance requirements, clubhouse fabric condition and maintenance and upgrading requirements, rentals, rates, subscriptions, insurances, advertising and marketing, event hosting and event planning and membership growth and retention.

Once you have this snapshot its easy to move on to planning the future. Tomorrow we will look at that more closely.

Get the eBook here

How are we going to get there?

The last two articles have looked at the Now and the Where of planning for the future.

Now that we have created a vision for the club, How will we reach our goals?

This is where you need a plan and as detailed in Bowling Club Survival and turnaround and fleshed out further in Bowling Club Membership, retention and growth I advise clubs to adopt the One Page Planning model.

This makes sure that every project required to achieve your vision of the future for your club is broken down into appropriately sized actions and that these are achievable, time-bound and identify who is responsible for their completion.

This is the fastest and surest way to success for your club.

To get started on your vision for the future download my Manifesto for a Thriving Bowling Club TODAY!.

Where are we going as a bowls club?

Gathering the information to get a clear idea of how your club us doing now is the first step in this process and we looked at that yesterday.

Now that you are armed with that snapshot, how do you develop a vision for the future that everyone can contribute to and be happy with?

Again it comes down to taking the club apart on paper and defining how each piece will look when the new vision is realised. So for example you might want to focus on the game itself and decide that there needs to be a greater effort to move towards a performance bowling green; you might want to increase membership or widen your club’s customer base to boost the club’s finances and long term success prospects.

Whatever your long term goals and vision for the club, the final part of the puzzle is to create a plan to help you achieve your goals and I look at that in more detail here.

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

What are the long term benefits of your club becoming a focal point for the local community?

Quite simply, the benefits are wide and far reaching. Just being the focus of community activities will bring your club an extraordinary amount of exposure from within and out-with your local area which all leads to free advertising for the facilities, products and services you sell to not just bowling members but a wide range of other people and groups.

Generous gestures such as offering free use of your clubhouse for a multitude of uses in the winter months bring financial and publicity benefits.

Imagine if every other week your club appeared in or was mentioned in an article in the local paper detailing a local event or group’s activities and every time it happens it ends with “and thank you to the bowling club for providing their facilities and support to our event”.

The FREE bowling club success Manifesto is still available here.

Bowling Club Membership retention and growth
Bowling Club Membership retention and growth
How do you increase club membership numbers in a time of economic turmoil? How do you retain members when there is a natural decline in bowling participation? This eBook sets out a plan for transforming any bowls club into the central hub of its community. FREE download for Academy Members more details
Price: £9.97

What can your club do for free for the local community?

This week I will again be looking at some club turnaround focussed issues.

I’m going to kick off with a look at what your club can do for the local community without charging!

The readers and members of this site represent the tip of a large pyramid of bowlers. By this I mean that if you are reading this you are among a minority of bowlers and parties interested in the health of the game of bowls that actively engages with others in the online environment and also that you are among the small number of people within the game that are actively looking for solutions to the difficulties the game is experiencing.

As an internet and world wide web user, you can’t have failed to notice the impact the technology has had on Read more

Using FREE to attract new members

In your exploration of methods to attract new members to your club it can be tempting to avoid free offers and deals. After all the common assumption is that if people want to come along they will just come along anyway. However, it’s entirely possible that people just don’t know enough about your club yet and removing the barriers to trying it out can make a big impact on your ability to attract new members.

A while back we discussed the impact that the rise of the internet has had on the cost of everything. In that article I finished up with a look at why things have become cheap or even free, and we discovered how very clever people are using this perception of free to promote their businesses, products and services, in the process exposing their work to a vast audience for virtually no cost.

Today I want to expand on that by asking 3 simple questions about your bowling club:

  1. How many new people (and their circle of friends, family, workmates, personal and business networks) would be made positively aware of, and have a positive opinion of your club if you offered free hire of your clubhouse for kids’ birthday parties, weddings, funerals, music nights, exhibitions, group meetings, coffee mornings, weight watchers, meditation classes, gardening groups etc etc?
  2. How popular and well thought of (and recommended to others) would your club become if it was the central focus for the village or town’s Christmas and new year celebrations, a local arts festival, a beer festival, Christmas, Spring and Autumn markets, scout meetings or even a temporary soup kitchen for the homeless in the coldest months of the year?
  3. How respected would your club become if it became a centre of excellence for everything to do with bowling?: creating and managing performance bowling greens; coaching and developing excellence in junior, county and national bowling sides; training and developing world class umpires; promoting and exhibiting cutting edge bowling club management techniques and training.

Free is the new “paid for” when it comes to promoting your club or business…but instead of giving stuff away for free you are actually gaining a huge amount of value that no amount of money could buy, so it isn’t free at all!

In that earlier article I used the example of a software seller in Australia. In the past to sell enough software to make a living she would have needed to spend a lot of money on fancy packaging, distribution, retailer profits, marketing and advertising; none of which is needed any more as the word about their excellent software spreads around the world, virally for virtually nothing as they give it away for free. If you like it and want to continue using a fully featured version then you pay for that.

This is a very honest and quality focussed way to do business. Only by filling the exact needs of the customer and responding to customer requirements will they be able to guarantee keeping that customer for the long term.

This is actually not very difficult to do if you just assume everyone you encounter is a valuable customer, either directly or indirectly; maybe now or sometime in the future. Every positive interaction that occurs between your club and anyone else is a stored up positive.

Your club can employ exactly the same techniques by thinking differently about FREE as a means of introducing people to your club.

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
Bowling Club Membership retention and growth
Bowling Club Membership retention and growth
How do you increase club membership numbers in a time of economic turmoil? How do you retain members when there is a natural decline in bowling participation? This eBook sets out a plan for transforming any bowls club into the central hub of its community. FREE download for Academy Members more details