This time of year most tennis professionals and business owners set out to do some planning for the upcoming year and like most people they will have great plans for the upcoming year and then by the end of January they are back to where they were in November.
I’m going to give you the very simple planning process that I personally use right now.
The Simple Success Planning Method
The first thing that we all need to accept is that we’re all busy…but usually we’re busy just doing the things needed to get though the day rather than the things that will move us toward our Ultimate Business as quickly as we would like.
To avoid that, you need to plan how to move things forward in a simple process that actually has real benefits that you can use.
If you are like me then I’m sure you are reading different blogs and posts from successful entrepreneurs on how to achieve business success.
So what you need to do is set aside about an hour (no more than 90 minutes) to develop your business growth plan and the strategy you are going to use to make it happen.
I need you to pull out a single sheet of paper and you are going to answer these 3 questions:
1. Where do you want to be by the end of next year?
2. Where are you now?
3. How will you get from where you are now to where you want to be?
Once we answer those questions you will be prepared with everything you will need to take your business to the next level.
Where do you want to go?
For me this encompasses my Vision…what I want to be known for…and my Yearly Objectives…how I will measure success.
Here are 4 simple questions to help you figure out your Vision:
1. How good do you want to be?
2. What are you providing?
3. Who do you serve?
4. What is the geographic scope of your business?
My Vision is to be the #1 Solution For Helping Tennis Entrepreneurs to Build Their Perfect Businesses.
Objectives are measures of your success and your business performance.
To list your objectives:
1. Determine what you are going to measure. Use the KISS method and Keep it simple and straightforward.
2. Decide how you are going to measure it.
3. Describe specifically what the target is for each measure.
My Yearly Objectives aren’t quite done yet, but here are some ideas that you might use for your tennis programs:
Where are you now?
Once you have figured out where you want to go you need to be clear about where you are today and what has to change for you to get to where you want to be.
For each of us there are probably a lot of little things standing between us and our Perfect Business – but for the purposes of planning we’re going to focus on the 20% that will give us the 80% of the results we’re looking for. Remember the 80/20 rule because it works.
So in your business or businesses:
What has to change in your Marketing, Selling, and Promotion to hit your goals?
What has to change in your Personnel and Staffing to hit your goals?
What has to change in the Training and Coaching you deliver to hit your goals?
What has to change in your Business Management & Finances to hit your goals?
What has to change in YOU to hit your goals?
Now, once you’ve written down the things that need to change, go through and rank them in order of importance. Then, starting at the top of the list - start thinking about what strategy would directly address and resolve that issue for you.
Keep that strategy list handy because you will need to refer back to it.
Here are some ideas for your Junior Programs
How are you going to go from here to there?
This is where you are going to develop your Action Plan…a combination of your Strategies, Policies, and your Priorities.
Our Strategies and Policies are crucial because they give us the focus and clarity we need to set our Priorities by serving as the bridge from where we are to where we want to be.
Here’s a simple way to get clear on your Strategies:
Desired Outcome using Strategic Decisions / Actions
Here’s an example:
Increase Membership by Implementing Referral Programs with our current customer base
Improve the Coaching and Training that We Deliver by Providing Better In-House Staff Development during our weekly meetings
Once we’ve decided on our strategies, all that remains is to set priorities – to decide which Specific Actions we’ll take and when we’ll take them by.
Now the trick for you is to focus on the action and completing the task or project by a specific date.
Here are a few examples of Priorities:
You should try to limit the number of Priorities to about 3-5 per Quarter as you only ‘get paid for done.’
The real strength of this sort of approach is that it makes your business growth plan come to life.
To keep the plan current try to follow this kind of pattern:
Sometime this week complete the planning approach I just listed…then at least every quarter, review and reset priorities…and celebrate the progress that you and your staff has made.
And that’s your Simple Success Planning Method for 2016.
Nothing too complicated and it’s really effective if you use it.
So take the time this week or at the beginning of next week and plan out your 2016 so it is a huge success!
Music I'm Listening To This Week-With the Christmas Season upon us I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music. A friend of mine Jeb Byrne has been posting a Christmas video everyday on his Facebook page so I've had a chance to see a lot of Christmas videos. One of my favorite Christmas songs is Joy To World and Pentatonix's version is awesome. I hope you enjoy it!
Article I'm Reading This Week-Time Management Tips from a Google Exec.-This is a great article for me because these three items hit pretty close to home.
I think I do a pretty good job with knocking out what I need to do each day but I also know that in the early part of the week I definitely have more energy then my Fridays!
Also, I know that I have to try and knock out as much of my work by lunch because I'm a morning person so I can get a lot done by 12. Once 2:00 hits I'm pretty much done with trying to get much done.
Social Media Post Of The Week-http://fortune.com/2015/12/17/adele-tickets-sold-out/ I was one of the many fans who got shut out when tickets went on sale yesterday. I logged in early but still couldn't get through.
Quote of the Week-Believe in the Magic Of Christmas! I love this time of year and hope that everyone enjoys the holidays!
This week someone asked me what I do.
I'm sure as a Tennis Professional this gets asked to you all the time by your friends that you grew up with or someone who just doesn't understand what it is we do.
They didn't ask what I do for a living…rather what role I play in my business…basically, how I spend my time.
Like most businesses as a tennis professional you wear a lot of hats. As an entrepreneur you probably do a lot of different things.
It’s an interesting question for all of us to think about because we often end out spending a lot of time doing things that aren’t our strengths and things that we aren’t particularly excited about doing.
This week I ran a USPTA Directors Workshop for 35 tennis professionals, taught 10 hours, attended a Committe Meeting at the Club we manage during the summer, strung 15 rackets, wrote two blog posts, worked on two newsletters, updated our website with our designer and registration company for our camp, had two phone conferences which each lasted one hour, decorated a Christmas tree, and spent last night with my family at our church's annual Christmas dinner. So needless to say its been a busy week. I'm sure like most of you this is pretty typical of a week.
So here was my answer when they asked me what I do:
Coaching, Teaching, and Training - I spend a great deal of my time coaching, teaching, and training.
This time of year I'm only on the court 5-10 hours per week based on what the weather is doing. During the summer my coaching ramps up to basically 40-50 hours per week. This includes on court coaching and also coaching and training staff at our summer camp that we own, 4 Star Camps.
I’m a strong believerthat experience is of great value in coaching or teaching…and I wouldn’t want a coach or teacher who hadn’t ‘been there’…I wouldn’t want a business professor or a business coach who hadn’t owned a successful business - so I plan to be coaching for a long, long time. I’ve been coaching for over 30 years and if you asked me what I would want to be remembered as professionally if I ever retire - it would be as a coach.
Creator- I have to create a lot of content…newsletters for the USPTA Mid Atlantic Division, our weekly summer camp newsletter, blog posts for 3 different businesses, etc.
I have really grown to love the creation side of things. I’d have never guessed I’d enjoy writing a decade ago, but now I rarely go a day without doing it. The creation side of what I do has really provided me an opportunity to reach (and hopefully positively impact) far more people than I could coach directly - so it’s been a huge positive but it;s time consuming. Having to research articles and to put your thoughts together takes time.
I think one of my strenths is that of project manager because I'm juggeling at least 1/2 dozen different things at any one time.
Connecting - I’ve long been more of a ‘relationship guy’ than anything else. It’s not only been at the core of my marketing efforts, but I think of it as part of my identity. I try to spend some time virtually every day connecting with friends, colleagues and tennis entrepreneurs who I want to get to know better.
Converting - Make no mistake, I’m running a business here so conversions or selling is something I have to do daily or we wouldn't be able to exist.
I know that some people are turned off by selling but if you can't sell then you are going to struggle in the tennis business. This isn't a hobby.
These four things - or variations of these four things - make up about 80% of how I spend my ‘business time’. The other 20% is spent on the stuff that needs to be done to support these four.
So why don't I spend 100% of my time on these four things?
I consider the time I spend in transit to host an event or do a presentation part of that 20%. Plus things like meeting with my staff and partners takes time as well. So it won’t ever be 100% for me…but 80% makes for a really great business to run.
So how do spend your time?
Are you doing the things that you’re best at and that you enjoy most?
Are you doing things that allow you create the business you want?
How much of your time is spent on those activities versus the ones that you don’t feel fall into that category?
And finally…what are you doing to shift the way you’re spending your time to be doing more of what you’re great at and less of what you’re not?
As you know it's not an overnight process…but if you’re aware of it and progressively working toward improving it - you’ll get to a point where business is really enjoyable and far less stressful than it is for most tennis entrepreneurs.
So the next time someone asks you how you spend your time in your business you have some ideas on how to answer.
Music I'm Listening To This Week-John Lennon Radio on Spotify-It is hard to believe that John Lennon died 35 years ago. I still remember the day I found out. He died on a Monday night and they announced it on Monday night football but I didn't find out until the next morning when Danny Stowe one of my friends I walked to school with told me. Its hard to believe that was 35 years ago. I've always been a Beatles fan but my favorite song of his was Imagine.
Article That I am reading-This past week I hosted a USPTA Directors Workshop at the Westwood CC in Vienna Va. and my seminar was on Strategic Planning for the Tennis Professional. If you are a tennis professional reading this blog then take the time to read the article and really think how Strategic Planning can help you and your club. Quit copying and pasting last years events into this years programs. Get feedback from staff and members as to what you need to improve and what you need to change.http://www.forbes.com/sites/aileron/2011/10/25/five-steps-to-a-strategic-plan/
Social Media Post of The Week-As a HUGE Fed Fan I'm sorry to see the team of Federer and Edberg break up. Edberg was able to revitalize Roger's career when things looked pretty bad. Edberg is a class act and he will be missed.
Quote of the Week-This past week I was a speaker at the 2nd Annual USPTA Directors Workshop in which I spoke about Strategic Planning for Tennis Professionals. I think the image pretty much speaks for itself!
This holiday season, you’re likely putting attention toward buying gifts for clients, staff, friends, and family.
Have you given any thought toward giving yourself (or your small business) gifts that will help you be a better entrepreneur and tennis professional?
Here are 6 small business gifts you’ll be happy to have (certainly happier than getting yet another knitted reindeer sweater from Aunt Mary!).
Has your schedule taken a turn for the worst where you are now working 7 days a week?
Maybe you’ve gotten caught up in work and haven’t taken a day off in a while, or consistently work 12-hour days.
Give yourself the gift of time. Here’s how:
2. Smart Software
Every business owner wants to minimize expenses, but consider that not spending money on some tools could keep you from growing or being more productive. Look at software like the following and assess which could be a real asset in 2016:
3. State-of-the-Art Technology
I’m not proposing you top your desk with giant $1,000 computer monitors, but if you’ve been limping along using outdated technology, it’s time for an upgrade. A newer laptop or desktop will process faster, helping you get your work done quickly.
Other technology that can help your business grow includes:
Consider whether you could use more help.
If your business has been booming to the point that you’re overloaded with work, gift yourself with employees.
Having different people on board to handle different components of your business not only frees you up, but it also gets you experts in each facet of your business.
Here are some hiring options:
You’re so busy working on your business, you probably don’t come up for air much.
What skills do you feel you’re lacking?
In 2016, give yourself the gift of education.
Any investment you make in your business knowledge is one that will help your business grow.
Here are a few ideas:
6. New Clothes
Every professional should have nice clothes to come to work in.
If your clothes have sweat stains or your white shirt is now turning gray then it’s time to get some new clothes.
You need to project a professional image and your clothes and shoes say a lot about who you are.
Now is the perfect time to get some new clothes. Call Fromuth and order a couple of new shirts, shorts, warm up, and a new pair of shoes and be dressed for success this holiday season!
Remember to not forget about you and your business when it comes time for gifts during the holiday season!!
It's hard to believe but the year is almost over and 2016 is fast approaching.
So while you’re preparing to help all of your clients and members reach their goals and follow through with their resolutions, don’t forget to set your own goals for your tennis business as well.
Adjust this list according to your specific needs or use it as inspiration to create a list of your own.
1. Learn something every day. Education, Education, and more Education. Guess what? You’re already doing that by reading this! Congratulations on reaching your first goal! When you wake up in the morning, or before you go to sleep, or at 2:00 in the afternoon when you need to relax, grab a book or an article or plug in your earphones and listen to an audio book. If you make it a point to learn one thing every day this year, think of how much smarter you’ll be one year from now.
2. Make Strategic Planning a Priority. You need to make planning a priority in your business. Quit copying and pasting last years programs into this years programs. You need to spend time each week going over what is working in your business and what needs to improve. Its too easy to go from season to season without evaluating your programs. Sit down with your staff at least once a quarter and go over what is working and what needs to change. Take 1 hour at the end of every season with your staff and really think out what is working and what needs to be improved. This is a must for 2016.
3. Organize Your Office. Nothing kills productivity faster than walking in to your office with stacks of papers piled up on your desk, file folders all over the floor, and sticky notes everywhere. Make it a point to organize and de-clutter your office.
4. Delegate more tasks, more often. I’m as guilty as you are. I think no one else can do as good a job as me so I tend to take on more than I should. Write out the tasks you do on a regular basis and find someone to do those tasks that don’t absolutely need your assistance.
5. Know your numbers. Have one of your tennis staff members send you the most important numbers every day. They can tell you how many people played, how many lessons were given, how many reservations you had, how much revenue was generated, what were last years numbers for that date, and how are we trending for the month.
6. Be consistent in your marketing. This is incredibly important. Your team should be involved in community events, talking to prospects, introducing current members to your other offerings, distributing print marketing and gift cards. Never stop marketing your business.
7. Add value for your current members. It is in January when your current members feel most neglected. They see you fawning over all of your new members, focusing all of your attention on the new blood and forgetting about them. Remember these members have already proven they are willing to spend with you, so now is the time to sell them more! The New Year is the perfect time to talk to them about lessons and what their plans are for the upcoming year.
Remember that a goal is really just a dream unless you put it within a system and put measurable objectives in place. So for example, to accompany each of the goals above, your goal could be: read one article every morning, organize one area of your office every Friday at 2:30, Have at least 20 different marketing systems in place at all times, talk to or email up to 5 current members every day.
No matter what is on your list, always remember that you have to start somewhere. Lots of tennis professionals set goals but very few actually take action on them.
I encourage you to just pick one of the things from this list and make it a point today to implement it.
Music I Am Listening To This Week-If you haven't heard but Coldplay has been picked to do the NFL Halftime Show this year. I've always been a fan of the music. Viva La Vida has always been one of my favorite songs!
Best Article I Read This Week--Next week I am running a workshop for the USPTA Mid Atlantic Division for Tennis Directors and I am speaking on Strategic Planning for Tennis Pros so this week I have been doing alot of research on Strategic Planning. I think one of the problems with planning for Club Pros is finding the time to do it and being able to do it at a high level. Most pros are great teachers but bad managers. After researching and reading a lot of articles this is the one that really made sense to me.
Social Media Post Of The Week- This is a post that was on Facebook last Sunday. The video is of match point in which Andy Murray wins the point and the Davis Cup. This may also be the point of the year because once you watch it you will wonder how he stayed in the point and then eventually hit the shot to win the match.
Quote of the Week-As most of you know we own 4 Star Camps at the University of Virginia. One of our programs is SAT Prep and tomorrow is test day for some of our campers. So Good Luck tomorrow!
Here are a few random tips on a rainy morning in Charlottesville to make you and your business better!
Education Is An Investment, Not An Expense – *Every* single one of the top pros in the industry either benefit from Coaching or Masterminds. But they view education differently than everyone else too. Most people see the fees for Coaching or a Mastermind as an expense. “That’s too expensive!” The top .1% simply look at it as an investment. If they invest $5000, they do it fully expecting to make 10X, 20X… maybe even 30 or 40X that back in return.
Know What You Need & Get It – Every successful business needs to have certain processes and systems in place.
First you need to know what those processes and systems are – then you need to get them in place in your business. If you don’t know what you need – talk to someone like me to fill in the blanks or model someone who is where you want to be.
Once you know – create the systems yourself or lean on products, coaching or a total solution like the Tennis Business Management Blueprint if you don’t want to create them or you want to fast track the process.
Coaching Is The Ultimate Accelerator – Why do some tennis clubs fail to deliver results?
Well, there are a number of reasons, but the big one for me is there is just bad coaching. If coaches don’t have a plan to get them to their goals, they may fumble around like they’re looking for something in the dark and accidentally get there – but the odds aren’t great and they’ll probably give up before they have success. Good Coaching solves this and provides a road map to follow and accountability to keep people on track.
One Is A Terrible Number – If you’re trying to grow your coaching business, the number ‘one’ is your enemy. Having only one lead generation strategy. Having only one option to offer to prospective clients. Having only one revenue stream. Being a one person operation. All of them are potential roadblocks to success.
Think BIGGER – The most successful coaches I know all think differently than the rest. They all think much bigger.
They think about doing big things, not ordinary things. They set big goals. They take big actions. Big achievements don’t begin with little dreams.
Be A Better Listener – If you want to sell more, listen more intently to what your prospects are saying. If you want to add revenue streams to your business, listen to what your clients are really asking for more help with. If you want to grow, listen to your network and they’ll reveal a surprisingly large number of opportunities. If you really pay attention instead of just waiting to talk, business becomes much easier.
You’ve Got To Be A Little Fanatical – Growing your tennis business into your own little sports empire requires you to be a little fanatical. Not to the point where you ignore the other important things in your life, but obsessive about getting better each and every day. Most business owners don’t do this. They essentially just go to work every day like they’re an employee and not a business builder. If you want a great business, you need to get a little better every day – and that requires you to be somewhat fanatical to the details and obsessive about improvement.
Avoid Being Average – The average business owner – tennis or otherwise – starts a business because they hate their current job and want to do something they think they like to pay the bills. This is average. Don’t allow yourself to be average. Just because you hate your job is no reason to start a business. If you want to build a great business you’re passionate about build something great. Because you have a passion for what you do. Those types of thoughts should drive you… not avoiding a job you hate.
Stay One Step Ahead – The tennis professionals who are growing their business to the highest level are relentless in their pursuit to improve. There is zero complacency. They’re always trying to improve.. They are always looking for another edge. The idea of staying the same isn’t ever even a consideration.
So there are some big ideas to help you in growing your tennis business.