From Start-Up To The Industry Standard, How To Grow Your Business
Bharet Malhotra, SVP of Sales at Cvent, spoke to our team early this week at our company offsite in Washington D.C. He shared his insights about growing from a start-up at the turn of the century into an industry titan. Cvent is an international leader in the event management space and provides services to over 25,000 clients. His advice for entrepreneurs is particularly relevant to sports organizers who are looking to expand their operations in an efficient and effective manner.
Aspirin vs. Vitamin
When you think about your organization’s value and the programming it provides to the customer, is it a “must-have” or simply a “nice-to-have” proposition? The “pick-up” culture of yesteryear is nearly extinct in youth sports, which means that club teams, tournaments, clinics and private lessons are a must-have for any serious youth athlete. That shift has benefitted youth sports entrepreneurs. Thinking of your product and organization through the “must-have vs. nice-to-have” prism is vitally important to your organization’s future.
Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8
It takes a tremendous amount of resilience to grow a business because you’ll face adversity at every turn. As sports fans, we can be biased when we see the finished product on television. It’s easy to look at someone like Roger Federer and think, he makes it look so easy…it must have been smooth sailing for him. In reality, he was battling to get better from the age of four. It tooks years of ups and downs to reach greatness. The same is true for successful businesses. Cvent nearly went under after the dot com bubble burst. Pain was shared across the company, from the CEO, who took on a mountain of personal debt, to the lowest level employee who wasn’t sure if he’d have a job month to month. In the face of that adversity, hard decisions were made that eventually translated to success, but it certainly didn’t happen overnight.
Invest In People
The DNA of an organization is its people. For sports organizers this can range from administrators to coaches to referees. Refining your hiring process to identify the best people is crucial. Once you have a crack team assembled, retaining them and continuing their education is imperative. Professional development courses, on-going sports certifications and educational e-learning classes are just a few ways to invest in your team.
Never lose sight of your who your customers are and what they need. A mistake fast-growing organizations often make is investing solely in new clients. By obsessing over current customers, you can cut down on churn. Happy customers also lead to referrals. An additional benefit is that connecting with parents and young athletes allows you stay informed on shifting industry trends. With that level of insight you can provide the highest level of service.
Build An Engine With Multiple Pistons
Programming at the youth sports level continues to expand beyond individual games. Tournaments, clinics, private instructions, tryouts and evaluations, and eCommerce opportunities are all multiple income generators that industry leaders have embraced over the past decade. Providing comprehensive programming not only conveys to your customer that you have every angle covered, it also provides a level of economic stability to your business.
The Secret Sauce
Remember where you came from. Why did you get into the business in the first place? What were your core values when you started? These may be simple questions, but staying true to your roots is vital. It also reminds you to act like a start-up, even when you’ve achieved success. That is the secret sauce, the start-up culture. It requires team members to be cost-conscious, entrepreneurial, and efficient.