If Sir Richard Branson ran cricket…

 
Many cricket clubs are reporting a decline in membership and precarious finances.  The sport perhaps has an image of being less dynamic and responsive to society trends.  Sorry, cricket, but this situation has been exasperated by the credit crunch.  LastManStands, Street20 and Indoor Cricket are great examples of how cricket is adapting and innovating.   I’ve always been looking at different sports and activities and wondering how you could do it better, exactly the way Richard Branson, he of Virgin fame, changed the airline world and many other industries.
 
So how could you revitalise the game of cricket, or any sport or your club? Consider how Sir Richard might think about starting up an alternative cricket club.  
SMN would like to suggest that Mr Branson would launch VirginCricket this way:  
Have a go playing cricket with a tennis ball in a car park – make the sport more accessible
2 hours play, maximum – we haven’t got all day
You could play in any sports gear (and not just white) – even cricket is becoming more fashion orientated
Disabled people and women would get preferential treatment – you need to attract new groups
Laughing would be obligatory – we take sport far too seriously
Family, corporate and mixed cricket – involve more people
Walking cricket for 60+ year olds – I may be getting on, but I still want to play cricket
Less jargon, please – what’s a maiden over, middle order, nightwatchman, wicket maiden or gully or similar in your sport?  
 
How would Richard Branson, or somebody similar, shake up things at your sport and/or club?
 
  “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin  
 
Community Sports Enterprises are organisations which combine their sporting activities with the enterprise culture and skills of the private sector with a strong social and community mission. They attract and serve customers at a profit, whilst serving a sporting, community and social purpose.    
 
For the times they are a-changin‘” Bob Dylan, 1963 (The times will keep changing, so you’d better keep able and agile!)
 
So, if you want your sports club/provider to thrive, and indeed survive, you simply will have to focus much more on getting away from ‘just being a sports club’ to becoming a community sports enterprise. You will have to focus on and improve in areas such as:
 
Leadership,  innovation, customer service, community engagement, coaching providing great experiences, communicating better using social media, income generation (as opposed to fund-raising) and learning from the London 2012 Games Makers when recruiting and looking after volunteers.
 
So whether you are volunteer in a sports club or work in a support and development function in an NGB, you will simply have to develop those enterprise skills, now. Otherwise, you could become irrelevant and end up like one of the 1,500 cricket clubs which have folded in England over the last 10 years, or like Woolworth’s, or Kodak, or Comet or…
 
 If you want to have a chat about how SMN can help develop a community sports enterprise just contact us at svend@smnuk.com or telephone 01423 326 660
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