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Premiership Thinking for a Successful Bowls Club

We can learn a lot from the Premiership’s problems

A BBC2 program “Lord Sugar Tackles Football”, exposed the failures in the English Football Premiership. In a nutshell the program argued that although the creation of the super league of top clubs had resulted in the generation of vast sums of money for football, the overall result has been to create a mountain of debt and indebtedness.

Lord Sugar’s conclusion was that something had to be done about player salaries to stop the rot and that the Premiership should allow one or two high profile clubs to go under to illustrate the dire nature of the situation to the Saturday afternoon faithful, who, after all, actually supply the vast sums of cash being dished out to the top talent.

What on earth has this got to do with your bowling club?

Well although not directly linked (unless of course a Premiership failure would free up some punters to come along to your club next Saturday!) the action required to start the turn around of the premiership’s fortunes is very much the same as that required to turnaround bowling clubs.

Now I know that there aren’t any bowlers, professional or otherwise earning £20,000 a week, but Read more

Your Club Needs You!

Strong leaders emerge in times of greatest need.

I had an interesting conversation with a bowling club official last night that focussed mainly, not on the green for a change, but the club turnaround process that she hopes to take her club through starting soon.  Yesterdays post of course, emphasised the urgency of getting started on any project of this nature in the middle of the bowling season; so it was quite fortuitous that this was fresh in my mind, because she asked me a direct question which went some thing like this:

“John. If you were to lead the turnaround of my club, what would you do first and then how would the project pan out after that?”

She was looking for a step by step plan of course that she could apply to her situation.

My answer was emphatic, clear…and mercenary:

Step 1: buy my eBook: Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround; its under a tenner if you are a member of the Bowls Club Mastermind Network and it spells out in 7 easy steps what to do and exactly how to do it.

I was then slightly embarrassed when she said she already had the eBook and that she had read it cover to cover, several times and had made copious notes and was absolutely 100% convinced that it contained the answer to her club’s problems.

The trouble is that she is still having trouble getting what she called “buy in” from the rest of the committee of the club.

“They just can’t accept that decades of slippage, accompanied by the most unpredictable recession in a century, the smoking ban, the cost of living, the general reduction in interest in bowling etc etc could possibly be turned around, let alone by some eBook or other!”

BINGO! I said, that’s it! They are absolutely correct; it can’t be!

Confused looks ensued!

You see my eBook is a series of thoughts, of ideas, of recommendations of which I am convinced, but an eBook alone cannot possibly help your club to get out of its current mess and secure a bright future.

So Step 3 is to implement what you have read in the eBook and that means ACTION!

Step 2 by the way, in case you are wondering, is NOT to tell anyone that you have a new eBook by some geezer on the internet that is going to work miracles for the club!

And that is because it is the enthusiasm of a leader like you; a leader who steps up in a time of crisis, a leader armed with the correct plan and convinced that success is only a bit of blood, sweat and tears away that turns clubs around.

Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround is only the blueprint; it needs an inspired leader to drive home the value of its contents.

There is one such leader tucked away in every club I have ever visited!

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

Where are you with member loyalty?

Being able to discern your club’s position with regards to its member loyalty ratio can appear rather tricky if not virtually impossible sometimes. When your member or customer base is made up of disparate groups with differing interests and priorities, which of course it should be, it can be difficult to keep track of how well you are doing overall.

This, unfortunately puts a lot of clubs off trying to find out how they are doing in the eyes of their customers and they only realise things aren’t going well when its too late to do anything about it.

However, thankfully there are some tried and tested methods that can be used to achieve this goal.

Working it out

Being able to retain a loyal member base has obvious benefits and understanding member sentiment is pivotal to achieving this loyalty factor.

Taking the time to focus on understanding the level of each member’s loyalty is both prudent and beneficial to the long term health of your club. Once you have a feel for this, the club management can then take the necessary action to try to prevent potentially loyal customers from just being casual visitors.

Here are the top 4 things to seriously consider in trying to understand the club’s position within the mindset of the various member and user groups:

  1. Gather the required data to assess potential members or users reasons for making the first contact with the club or for showing an interest in a service, product or facility offered by your club.
  2. Find out if members, users and customers would be willing or even happy to introduce the club or a specific aspect of your facilities to others. This is probably one of the best measures of how well you are doing.
  3. Canvas feedback about the level of user satisfaction derived from using your products, services or facilities; and indeed, the lack of satisfaction! Armed with this information, there should also be a proactive counter action to address any negative feedback. Keep this anonymous or you wont get the truth; nobody wants to seem like a moaner! Turn negatives into positives!
  4. With the information gained from existing members and users, you can make a concerted effort to introduce the necessary improvements to your offering to further encourage the commitment of the customer to stay loyal to the club.

This article is an extract from Bowling Club Membership Retention and Growth, which builds upon the concepts of the customer or club user as discussed in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround.

Tomorrow I will introduce the concept of “a target audience”, maybe not something that comes naturally to most clubs.

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

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

Bowls Club Membership – retention and growth released!

Membership CoverJohn’s new eBook Bowling Club Membership – retention and growth is now available for purchase here.

In this ground-breaking ebook John focusses solely on membership issues, detailing a comprehensive plan for growing your club’s membership and retaining a healthy membership level for the long term.

In this eBook John looks more closely at the subject that he first raised in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround and this book can be regarded as a partner volume to the previous eBook, as it digs deeper into the vital area of getting people through the door of your club and keeping them coming back for more, over the long term.

Right now, this is the definitive guide on re-building your club’s membership base and building a successful club for the future.

Inside your copy of Bowling Club Membership – retention and growth, you’ll discover:

  1. How to build member loyalty and how to install systems to perpetuate this.
  2. How to re-think the role your club plays in the local community and a new way to think about what constitutes a “member”.
  3. A remarkable chapter detailing a powerful method of finding new members for your club that uses tools you have at your fingertips  (and it isn’t the internet or anything computerised!)
  4. An amazingly simple but powerful formula that will ensure your club stands head and shoulders above all of your competition when it comes to excellent service.
  5.  How to build an automatic club improvement system.

So as you can see, Bowling Club Membership – retention and growth, is set to be a very important resource for Bowling Clubs everywhere, but what we’ve told you so far really is just scratching the surface. The book is also packed with actual tools you can use to achieve the remarkable changes previously outlined.

 

Fulfilling your audience’s expectations.

The process of bowling club turnaround is divided into 7 key steps, one of which is to identify your club’s Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA), as explained and illustrated in detail in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround.

Once you have a clearly defined SCA it is this that informs all of your publicity and marketing to the user groups and individuals you hope to attract as the loyal members and customers of the future.

This Marketing activity, which should be perpetual and which needn’t cost the club much in the way of hard cash, can be thought of as “promises” being made to prospective club users.

As an aside, if you are throwing real money at advertising, promotion and publicity…please stop unless you can produce documented evidence that proves that it pays for itself in new revenue every time. Please see Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround for help with this.

So, back to promises…

If you consider your marketing as promises made, then you’d better make sure you can live up to these, because nothing disappoints more than an experience that under-delivers on your expectations.

Being good at marketing is one thing, but being good at delivering, at shipping, at getting things done well and on time every time is where you can excel at fulfilling the expectations of your newly identified audience.

This comes down to your Business Strategy and although that sounds boring and maybe even unnecessary for a bowling club you can only skip this if you are already doing very well and don’t actually need help in turning your club around, or getting more members through the door or making more revenue per visitor, in which case you probably won’t have read down this far anyway!

Business strategy at first glance looks like one of those crazy, mixed up subjects that is never ending and impossible to get your head around completely…but it comes down to just one Read more

Getting Started on Club Turnaround

A few readers have been in touch over the last month or so to communicate their frustration at trying to get their club turnaround project going. It seems that there is a lot of inertia among other club and/or committee members at many clubs.

Of course every club is different and the troubles experienced in getting things going will be unique to each club. However, there are a lot of similarities also so here are my top 10 tips for getting things moving:

1. Quantify the current club Read more