A Tennis Business System
Creating a ‘Turn Key’ Tennis business
The professionalism of the tennis industry has changed significantly in recent times and the upwards swing has been a result of the rise of better technology, website, e newsletters, social media, Google ad words along with a higher expectation of delivery and a higher demand for customer service. All this adds up to the fact that tennis is a real industry and a tennis business needs to be structured in a way to carry the weight of the workload. The answer to this is to systemise your business.
Tennis is an all encompassing job in a real industry. In the book, E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, he talks about how your business needs to run with a perfect system. A system is about working ‘on your business’ rather than always ‘in your business’. A system gives you the opportunity of not just being self employed but building and running a sustainable business.
Systemising makes it easier
McDonalds is an example of a highly systemised business. A teenage kid at their first job can succeed at the job almost straight away by following a perfect system of lights, timers and manuals. I’m not advocating McDonalds here but what Ray Kroc did was take some good ideas, update them, systemise them and spread that system globally.
2 traits of a systemised business are:
- Turn Key operations
A business needs to be a turnkey operation. Franchises go through a lengthy process to become a turnkey business but you don’t need to franchise a business to systemise a business.
At Scarborough Tennis Academy we use software provided by Sportlogic. This software helps out keep track of all our enrolments, payments, court bookings, coach schedules and more. For more information on Sportslogic click here.
You also need an evolving record of what needs to happen to run the business. This ideally is put into a online calender along with a binder or folder. Some daily systems may need to be stuck up on a wall for easy viewing. The person in charge of your operations management would run this system. A yearly, termly, weekly and daily operations manual is required along with systems for coaching, answering the phone and email and other staff expectations.
- Term system – In week 4 of each school term, each piece of marketing material (flyers, brochures) is reviewed and any changes are made before printing in week 5. Newsletter to be created in week 5 ready to send in week 6.
- Daily system – check voice messages, update enrolments, bank money
2. Consistency of product/service
It’s important that the coaching delivery has a similar style with particular cue words and philosophies. Although a coach’s individual flair needs to come out, it’s important that kids hear the same language from the coaching team. These guidelines must be systemised and accessible to all coaches. A good business has a consistent service or product.
If you went to Dome and didn’t get your little cookies with your flat white you would be disappointed! This extends to way we dress, the way we greet people and every single time someone makes contact with our business. A consistent experience, particularly for kids, helps tennis become a safe and enjoyable place for everyone.
The system must constantly be evolving
To ensure your business is always improving there needs to be new ideas and developments coming in to the program/system. Only when a business becomes stagnant will the operation manual stay the same and not evolve.
The role of a tennis coach/business can be all encompassing
Many of us have done 7 days a week of coaching which includes on court, administration, marketing and promotion, junior pennants, accounts, restrings, a small retail store, school visits, working on Word or PowerPoint to create flyers, website, PR, Google, social media, advertising, letters along with maintaining healthy relationships with your key stakeholders be it a club, facility or director and any personal or family relationships.
Learn to delegate – work on your business not just in your business
A highly systemised business is normally also a very well delegated business with different people taking on various roles to suit their strengths. As tennis directors, we underestimate our assistant coaches and key staff to be able to complete anything from administration through to full time general management. We also cannot expect them to follow an unorganised plan not documented or to perform when appropriate training is not received. There is more work at the beginning by doing the training and systemising but long term it will only get better each year as the system evolves and upgrades. This is working on your business where coaching is working in your business. When a business is systemised and roles and responsibilities delegated appropriately it leaves you room to focus more on areas such as player development, marketing, PR or other innovations to help build the business.
A good business will run without you there
An example of a good tennis business is one where the owner of the business can take a holiday and everything still runs smoothly. The only way to achieve this is by having a very good operations manual with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, well trained staff and a good deal of trust. Tennis Clubs and facilities also benefit from a business that has been well created. The reliance on one person is risky and will either lead to burn out, limited growth or poor management where the jack of all trades, master of none can cause a business to underperform.
Questions to ask yourself (if you are the business owner/director)
- If you did 25 hours a week and then invested time into other areas of the business could you earn the same or more as coaching 40 hours?
- How much have you invested in training for your staff?
- Do I have my processes documented in an easily accessible way?
- How systemised is my business?
- Am I delegating correctly?
Talent Development Coach and Club Professional – Western Australia
Scarborough Tennis Academy – www.scarboroughtennis.com.au
Aussie Tennis Getaways – www.aussietennisgetaways.com.au
You can connect with Rick Willsmore on Linkedin