Spotting and exploiting opportunities in sport and active leisure

“An opportunity is a real ingredient in your organisation, just like staff or computers…

but it only exists when you can see it”

Sports Marketing Network introduces the Opportunity Search…the tool which can

• help you develop your organisation’s culture and skills

• help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your organisation

• help you identify your opportunity space based on your skills and culture

• help you identify cost-saving and revenue-generating activities

• help you assess and decide on which of the above you should implement

More than ever before people in sport and leisure are being asked to do more with less. It isn’t easy.

Many organisations are tackling this challenge with cost cutting initiatives without really making any changes to the way they operate. What’s the net gain? Not much in the way of unique added value for your customers. At the same time to many people are too busy solving the everyday short-term problems that they ignore the important medium and long-term opportunities and therefore they rarely get ahead. With fewer resources available this then becomes a vicious circle. If you only come up with solutions when the problem is ‘blocking the road’ you will always be panicking and fire fighting.

The trick is to spot practical opportunities everywhere in your organisation and to explore them. Some people and organisation in the sport and active leisure sector have been very successful in spotting and exploiting opportunities whereas others, often from within top-heavy, centralised organisations have found it very difficult to be innovative.

Many do not regard opportunities as something they need to focus on and certainly not an area where they need to devote any specific time and effort. They will have to introduce a formal focusing procedure which requires the organisation to spend time and resources…hence the Opportunity Search. Often people are trained to solve problems as they arise. The notion of throwing up ideas for no good reason is alien to many and those ideas are rarely used as few organisations know ‘how to handle new ideas.’ This is why the notion of the Opportunity Search is such a great one as it provides a framework that excites and focuses the creativity of the executives.

Opportunities could include introducing a new activity, say samurai aerobics, or improving your booking process to speed up time. Or you could identify a staff member with great social media skills and get them to develop better ways of engaging with your customers, or develop a community programme, sponsored by the local housing association or save £ ‘000.000 by refurbishing an empty warehouse and set up a inline skating/BMX centre (as opposed to building a facility from scratch). The list goes on…it is all about improving the vibrancy, visibility and viability of the organisation.

department with a Local Authority to start embarking on database marketing if the skills to do so are not available.

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