I just returned from the USPTA World Conference and had a great time.
New Orleans was a great spot and I had the chance to catch up with some old friends and got the chance to meet some new people in the business.
But unfortunately I have to return to real life.
I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed with everything going on but that’s what happens when you come back from a vacation or from a conference.
So if you’re feeling that way here are some tips for after the conference.
I know you’re excited about everything that you have learned this past week. The conference was a great experience, and you got to connect with so many exciting people. But before you go all out trying to accomplish everything you learned in one week, you need to CALM DOWN. I know this is pretty basic but that’s tip #1.
Create one HUGE goal based on ONE golden nugget
When you leave the conference, one of the first things you want to do is create one huge goal.
You should base this on the one nugget you extracted from the conference. I’m sure there are other things you learned, but I want you to laser focus like never before so that you can accomplish more than you ever did before based on that one nugget.
Break that huge goal down into specific tasks
Every goal is completed by taking detailed action steps. Having a goal is great, but unless you break it down into specific actionable tasks, you will never be able to reach your goal.
Hopefully you took good notes during the week and you can break down the tasks into manageable items.
Follow up with your contacts
Did you connect with anyone during the conference? Hopefully, that answer is yes.
You need to follow up with those individuals via email and social media. Try to touch base with them immediately after leaving the conference while it’s fresh in your mind and then set a reminder to connect with them at a later date as well. Don’t feel bad if they don’t respond back right away but make the first move as soon as you get back home.
If you are able to implement the tips mentioned in this blog post, you will be on your way to becoming a conference veteran.
Attending conferences can be a game changer for you and your career.
If you are here in New Orleans you are probably walking around with a bunch of receipts either in your pocket, wallet, or they are on your hotel room desk.
While at conferences I've always used a simple white envelope to track receipts for conference expenses. My system was always pretty simple— carry receipts around for the day, then deposit and keep them in the envelope until it was time to write up the expense report. Although this is simple and efficient, it can be a hassle to carry around a bunch of slips of paper in your wallet and you will invariably lose some along the way.
I found an app recently to beat the envelope method and its a I Phone app called One Receipt. Basically you take a picture of your receipt and it keeps track of everything that you do. You can also link it to your email accounts so any receipt that comes through your email links to your account.
I know that some employers require paper copies of receipts for reimbursement. Thus, a full digital solution may not be in the cards for everyone or every expense.
Regardless, your camera phone (in combination with an app) can, at the very least, act as insurance against losing important receipts.
So if you are here in New Orleans try the app and see if it works for you.
Here is the direct link to One Receipt...https://www.onereceipt.com/
Hopefully you are either at the USPTA World Conference in New Orleans or you are on your way.
This is my 19th conference in row dating back to the World Conference in Cancun. My favorite part of coming to the conference is meeting old friends and also getting a chance to meet new people like I did last night.
With the Conference being in New Orleans you have the opportunity to see some great speakers, enjoy some music and food, and reconnect with old and new friends.
So the typical day you will have four, five or six sessions on your agenda. You will have meetings and drinks with friends, colleagues, and clients scheduled starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 6:00. Then at night you go out and catch up with your friends.
You probably even came straight from the airport, passing up the chance to chill for a minute in the hotel room. Hopefully, you won’t see the hotel room much this week.
This upcoming week will give a new definition to the word “busy”, you will put some nice mileage on your Fitbit or iWatch, gain some new wisdom, meet old friends and new ones, and get some new motivation to boot!
So much to do. So many things to participate in and so much to show up for. .
Realize while you are here that you need to take care of yourself. Eat healthy and try to get some sleep.
While you are in the sessions it’g going to be cold so make sure you wear a long sleeve shirt or some type of coverup.
After coming to 19 conventions in a row here are 10 things you can do this week to make this week a huge success
So, are you with me? Are you ready to attack the conference?
1. PLAN YOUR SCHEDULE UPFRONT
Go ahead, knock yourself out. Overbook yourself this week. Be a machine. But be prepared for it. It's all about how you attack it. Be prepared and be ready mentally. This is going to be a great week so just go for it but you have to be mentally prepared for each day to make this week a success. Don’t wing it this week. It’s too expensive to just go through your days without a plan.
2. BE PRESENT — RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
So you are here in the great city of New Orleans and at the greatest tennis conference in the world. One of the best ways to manage your energy this week is to be present for all of the events. Tune in and most of all show up. Turn off your phone and watch and listen this week. I know you are leaving your facility for the week but realize that your staff can take care of the problems back home. Don’t call in every hour and worry about the Ladies 3.0 team.
3. REBOOT AS NEEDED
After a couple of days you may think that you are starting to lose it and you will probably start to feel fatigued. It may be because you’re not getting enough sleep or you are not eating right. So get some sleep and eat a couple of good meals. Take care of whatever you need to take care of to get back to normal. Maybe you need to grab a cup of coffee or grab a piece of fruit and some water. Just walk away and reboot. This is a long week so you may have to do this a couple of times this week.
4. BE PURPOSEFUL
What do you want to get out of today and this week. Have a plan for each day. Break your day into three parts. Your morning, afternoon, and then evening. There are so many different things to do but you need to have a schedule to achieve all that you want to accomplish. Write it out and use your notebook to figure out what you want to get out of your day and your week.
5. DECIDE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO KILL IT THIS WEEK
Before you even head out to listen to a speaker decide what you want to get out of the session. Make the decision that you are hear to learn. You have made the decision that you want to hear this speaker so listen…yes listen, take off the earphones and turn off your phone and listen to what the speaker is saying.
6. YES, IT’S OK TO TAKE A TIMEOUT
Find a quiet spot to just relax, take a quick nap, and just relax. It’s a long week so take the time to reboot if you have to. Go to the pool, workout center, or just walk down to the French Quarter.
7. YES, YOU CAN SAY NO
You have to realize that you don’t have to do everything. And if you’re feeling like a time out or skipping a couple of sessions then go ahead and do it and don’t feel bad about it. There is a lot to do at a conference but you may need to just take a break.
8. YOU ARE IN NEW ORLEANS SO SAY “HELL YES!”
Remember that you are in New Orleans so have some fun! Go listen to some Jazz or grab a great meal with some friends. Just go and don’t feel bad about it. Let the energy of the “Hell Yes!” drive you to a great week.
9. REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE HERE THIS WEEK
You are here to learn, have fun, network, connect, share, contribute, and so much more.
Remember why you are here. You are hear for your team, your staff, your family, and your clients. If you remember why you are hear it will help you get through the week.
10. LAST…. AT THE END OF THE DAY AND THE WEEK, RECAP AND BE GRATEFUL
The day is done, you head back to your room, and you are tired. Don’t go to bed before you “capture your day.” I know that you are tired and you just want to crash but you have to look back at the day and ask: Did you get what you envisioned? Did you show for everything? What do you want to remember and forget? Would you change anything? What are you thankful for?
At the end of the conference recap the week as to what you have learned and bring it back to your team and your clients.
Now go out and kill it this week!
What's your legacy?
So what is your Legacy?
As most of you know I changed careers a few years ago and lately I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I want my legacy to be.
Ask yourself this: If someone was new in town and was looking to join a club or go to your business what would they say about you and your club or business. Are you someone that is looked on as a leader in your town or just the person who is going through the motions?
Let’s face it… we’re only at a club for a certain period of time, right?! Are you happy to just go through the motions at your job and you’re career? Or do you want to create something, do something that will make a difference – in any way. It doesn’t matter if it’s personal or business related.
Ask yourself the following three questions:
What do my peers say about me when I’m not in the room?
How do I want my loved ones to think of me when I’m gone?
What mark do I want to leave in the lives of those that I meet?
Our Legacy – Our Vision – Our Focus-Our Dreams
Why have I been on this ‘legacy’ trip?
I’m a father of two amazing kids Lauren and Hannah. I also have a remarkable wife and I’m fortunate to have a couple of thriving businesses, as well as other opportunities that frequently pop up. I believe these things are all intertwined. They all happen and succeed because of each other.
It’s all these things and more that allows me to continue to fine-tune my own visions and dreams. The vision that I have for my family, my businesses, as an entrepreneur, boss – you name it – all ultimately leading up to my legacy.
I’ve still not totally figured out exactly what I want my legacy to be. But, I know it’s important to me. It’s something that I’m going to continue to work on, and I belive everyone should.
So, ask yourself this – what do you want your legacy to be. What are your goals, your dreams, and aspirations and are you moving in the direction to reach them?
With the USPTA World Conference upon us I thought I would write some tips on networking at the convention. One of the main reasons we go to conferences is to meet other people and to connect with other pros.
I’ve had the opportunity to attend a lot of conferences and conventions so here are some easy tips to help you get the most out of the networking opportunities at this weeks World Conference.
Before the Conference
You need to have a plan before you arrive. You need to know in advance who you want to meet, which speakers you want to hear, and what vendors you want to visit.
You need to post, blog or tweet about the fact that you’re going to the conference. Blog about the sessions you’re planning to attend and why you want to attend that session. Find out the Twitter tag for the conference if they have one. Spend some time before the conference looking up the speakers and some of the other participants’ websites and blogs if they have one. In today’s digital society it’s pretty easy to find out the information.
Set up some appointments before the conference with some other attendees who you know are going to be there. If you know that there will be people attending who you know that you would like to see, call them or send an email a few days before to schedule a time to meet.
During the conference
Guide the conversations with the other attendees. Ask questions that take advantage of your shared interests, like:
What did you think about that last session?
What other sessions are you looking forward to attending?
Are you planning on going to the national conference?
What other conferences are you planning on attending?
The “where do you work” question is going to come up at some point. When you are asked follow it up by asking them where they work and how long they have been at their club or facility.
When you have the opportunity to, introduce others to the people in your own circle. When you meet people that are influential, be the one who connects them with others who might be valuable to them. This includes not only those at this particular conference, as well as other people you might know at home.
Take the time to talk to the other people sitting next to you. When you walk into a seminar, take your time and say hello to the people seated around you before the presentation begins. Once you have said something as simple as “hello” and made a connection, it will be a lot easier to speak with them later in the day if you run into them again during another session.
I know it’s hard sometimes but try to sit next to someone you haven’t met before. If you are at a conference for multiple days try to sit next to a new person for each session. Don’t sit with the people that you know and reach out to new people.
Try to ask questions at the end of the session. Engage the speaker with quality questions that will help you with your career. Don’t just ask a question to talk. If asking your question in front of everyone else seems too hard try to find the speaker after the session and talk to them then. Speak slowly and introduce yourself to him or her in a brief way and ask an intelligent question.
During Break Times
Turn off your phone and put your technology away. I know that everyone is busy but try not run to your IPhone, BlackBerry, Ipad, or laptop at every break.
If you were smart before the conference you put an out of office message on your phone and emails at the office. At the conference make the most of the opportunity to expand your network.
Get a wingman at the conference. By having a wingman or networking buddy, conferences are much easier to navigate. Your wingman can step in and introduce themselves in order to produce a name from someone you don’t want to admit that you have forgotten. By helping out each other you’ll cover more of the conference and have more interesting conversations.
Food and Cocktails
When it comes time for the social networking time food and cocktails make it easier for you to make conversation.
Remember it’s hard to talk with your mouth full and with a drink in your hand, so be careful. As most of you know me I like to have a cocktail in my hand at just about all times when I am at a conference dinner party. Make sure to take it easy and use common sense.
Make sure to carry business cards, a notebook, and a pen or pencil. Make it easy for people to remember you and pass out business cards to people that you want to connect with. In today’s digital world put the new friend in your contacts right away.
After the conference
Make sure you follow up after the conference with people through e-mail and or phone calls. I know its hard to do but book out time after the conference to go over everything that you did and who you connected with.
If you have a website write and blog about what you did and what you learned from the conference. People who were at the conference want to be in more than one session at a time, and your notes can become important to other people who attended the same conference.
Conferences can be very expensive with the cost of airfare, hotels, and conference fees so make sure you make the most of it while you are at the conference.
How To Handle Competition
Every business has competition and how you handle your competition will determine your success or failure.
It’s pretty common among tennis professionals to believe that a bit of competition around the corner is a good way to keep you motivated and driven to grow your business and to get more clients.
So if you want to beat your competition then focus on these three items
1. Community-get involved in your community to reach out to everyone in your area
2. Marketing-You need to be using Facebbook, Twitter, You Tube, and Email
3. Results-If you want to be the most popular person in your area you have to deliver results
Tis The Season...Really??
Tis the Season…Really??
This past weekend it rained all weekend so we ended up going to the mall to kill some time and guess what….the mall is getting ready for Christmas.
For most tennis pros I’m sure you are not thinking about Christmas but the big box stores and the malls are already gearing up for the biggest sales season of the year. Every one of you should know that the start of the biggest shopping season of the year is only 6 weeks away.
The problem is, many tennis pros, me included, will wait until the last minute and miss out on our share of those GIGANTIC dollars.
As you know it takes time to search out what you need to buy and to figure out what events that you want to do but if you don’t start now you will miss the boat and miss out on the dollars that should be yours because you weren’t ready for the Christmas season.
This is just quick reminder that now is the time to start getting your facility and your pro shop ready for Christmas….don’t wait until it’s too late.
I've received alot of questions lately about starting a new business so I did some basic research and found this on business.gov.
Here is a 10 step.guide for new employers. I hope this helps.
The guide is specific to the US based on hiring regulations in the states. If you live outside of the US check with your local governments to find out what you need to do.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Before hiring employees, you need to get an employment identification number (EIN) form the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Set up Records for Withholding Taxes
The IRS states that you must keep records of employment taxes for at least four years.
Federal Income Tax Withholding (Form W-4)
Every employee must provide an employer with a signedwithholding exemption certificate (Form W-4) on or before the
date of employment. The employer must then submit Form W-4 to the IRS.
Federal Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2)
On an annual basis, employers must report to the federal government wages paid and taxes withheld for each employee.This report is filed using Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.Employers must complete a Form W-2 for each employee to whom they pay a salary, wage, or other compensation.
Depending on the state where your employees are located, you may be required to withhold state income taxes. Visit your state tax agency for further information.
Employee Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)
Federal law requires employers to verify an employee's eligibility to work in the United States.
Register with Your States' New Hire Reporting Program
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 requires all employers to report newly hired and re-hired employees to a state directory within 20 days of theirhire or rehire date.
Obtain Workers' Compensation Insurance
Businesses with employees are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state Workers' Compensation Insurance program. Visit your state's Worker's Compensation Office for more information on your state's program
Unemployment Insurance Tax Registration
Businesses with employees are required to pay unemployment insurance taxes under certain conditions.
Obtain Disability Insurance (If Required)
Some states require employers to provide partial wage replacement insurance coverage to their eligible employees for
non-work related sickness or injury.
Post Required Notices
Employers are required by state and federal laws to prominently display certain posters in the workplace that inform employeesof their rights and employer responsibilities under labor laws.
File Your Taxes
If you are new employer, there are new federal and state tax filing requirements that apply to you.
Get Organized and Keep Yourself Informed
To get more detailed information, including links to websites thatoffer more detail and access to the applicable forms, read " "
*Information from Business.gov
One mistake I see a lot of tennis pros and clubs make is waiting until January to put together a plan to take full advantage of the opportunities in the first quarter of the year.
Clubs scramble to put together a plan without really thinking about what their goals are for the upcoming year.
It is an absolute requirement to have all of your systems in place, your employees at all levels trained, and a marketing plan ready to go. If you head into January without a plan of how you are going to attack the new year you are going to be disappointed with the outcome. So let’s find a few things that you need to do by December 31 to get ready for the first quarter of 2014.
1. Make Your Goals Count
In order to be able to have a positive first quarter, you have to produce the numbers and objectives that you consider to be successful for your business. You have to know the numbers that you want to reach and your entire staff has to know what the goals are which means that they need to know the numbers you are trying to reach. Don't hide it from them. If the goal is to increase lessons by 6% you need to show them how to get it done.
Once your know the numbers then you need to break them down into daily, weekly, and monthly goals for each staff member.
Remember, “Sell as many lessons and memberships as possible” is not a goal. Goals have to be specific and they have to be measurable. Be sure to have goals for everything: lessons, new members, referrals, personal training, stringing, and other profit area, etc. Everything that you sell needs to have a goal linked with it.
2. Design Your Marketing with a Plan
There is no magical plan that is a perfect mixture of strategies that is going to always work best for your facility. To decide what plans you should implement, refer to what has worked best in the past years….but don’t just copy and paste!
Think about what has produced a positive return on your investmetns in the past and see if it will work again this year. You have to have an approach that is planned out and not just done by the seat of your pants. You have to plan for the day, week, and next month but don't just copy and paste last years plan.
3. Update Your Systems
Make sure that your systems that you have in place are running smoothly. If any of them are not running as you would like them to be you need to start fixing them now rather than in January. The systems we are talking about include the way in which phone calls are answered, how lessons are scheduled, billing, maintenance, marketing, membership tours, follow up with clients and anything else you do on a daily basis. In the club business your systems are important to make sure the little things don’t get missed.
4. Staff Training
From the maintenance staff to the managers everyone must realize the mission of the business and the plan you have in place to make 2014 a success.
Now is the time for everyone to understand what is expected of them. You need to spell out the expectations for them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If there are any problems with the staff now is the time to take care of it.
5. Everything has to be cleaned
All clubs need to be clean but the end of the year is the time to look at the club with new eyes. If you have had a busy year take the last week of the year and clean everything so you start 2014 with a “fresh start”. One of the biggest complaints of club members is how clean the facilities are so now is the time to clean up! Clean all of the fitness equipment and any other equipment that needs to be cleaned. Get the dust cloth and get behind the front desk and make sure that every area is cleaned. You need to realize that members notice everything.
So now is the time to start getting ready for the new year and new revenue. By starting now you will be way ahead of the competition!
Even though its only September you should be thinking about whether or not you should get a raise. You've just finished the summer and hopefully it was successful. Most clubs start their budget process right now so now is a good time to talk to your boss about having a review of your performance and what you need to do to get a raise.
When we have our annual review we assume our boss will know everything that we have done and reward us for what we have accomplished this past year. If it was only that easy!
Depending on what department you are in could decide what your raise is. The person doing the review usually already knows how much they can afford to increase your pay. In fact they may be looking to cut your pay regardless of how well you think you have done this past year Even worse they may be looking to take away some of your benefits, bonuses, or your vacation time.
So here are 7 tips to get the raise you deserve
1. Be Prepared before the review
You should keep a performance review file on your own. Throughout the year put in a list of completed projects or additional work taken on during the year as well as documentation of what you believe is a good performance. The file will serve two functions. First, it provides you with proof of everything that you accomplished throughout the year. Second, it reminds you of everything that you have done when it’s time for the review. So if you are like most tennis pros you will try to do it all at once and then you can’t remember what you did last February so remember to write it down and keep it in a file.
2. Know the Market
In order to have some leverage at the table it’s good to know what the market is paying. You also need to know how much money you are bringing into the club. Put pen to paper and figure it out.
3. Listen to the gossip
During the performance review time you need to figure out what is going on with the other staff. After some of the staff is out of their reviews observe how they look after words. If they come out upset then you know that they were not happy with their reviews. If people are coming out happy then you know that you may have a shot at that raise. The club may already be telling employees what to expect. It may be a COLA raise or based on the economy there may not be a raise this year.
4. Have a Number already in mind
If you are planning on asking for a bigger raise than what the club is planning on giving you need to have a number already in mind. If you have had a good year then ask for something big if not keep it at a number that is reasonable. If your sales were better than last year then you need to point that out but if you had a down year don’t expect a raise.
5. Don’t Back Down
Once you have a number that you want to ask for in mind and your list of accomplishments in hand it will be easy to answer to the person giving the review when the tell you that you are not going to get the number you expected. This is when all of the homework comes into play. You have to remind them of everything that you have accomplished this year. You need to expect your boss to take a step back and think about what you are asking for. At that point you need to give more reasons why you think you deserve more.
The typical answer will be that this is the number everyone is going to get. Most clubs have set aside a certain amount of money for each employee and this is your time to get the extra money that is on the table. Like most clubs there is always some extra money to be handed out to the top employees.
6. What If they still say no?
If your boss says no the raise you were expecting ask if they can will revisit the number in a few months. The other thing you can do is to try and negotiate other benefits. Ask for more education money or ask for them to pay for a trip to a conference or more vacation time.
7. Follow up
Once the meeting is over you need to follow up with your boss about what was said. If you were given a 3% raise then remind them that was the number. Also thank them for taking the time to speak with you and make sure everything is in writing. After its over you need to make three copies: One for you, one for human resources, and one for your boss. Do this immediately and don’t put it off because the longer you put it off the more chances that you will forget.
Here are ten things that tennis professionals must be able to do everyday.
1. Know Your Target Markets Problems and have solutions to their problems
2. Create Customers who love you
3. Ask For Referrals
4. Know How To Communicate With Your Students and Customers
5. You Have To Make Your Players Better
6. Create products that make your customers coming back again and again
7. You Must Be Creative
8. You Must Be Consistent & Be Predicable
9. Become an expert
10. Don't Be Afraid To Stand Out From The Crowd