I’ve received a few emails recently from students seeking advice on how to best prepare to open their own sports facility in the future. I’m always impressed when students are proactive about their careers and take the extra step to connect with others to try to seek help. That is already a sign of future success.
As I’ve mentioned many times, including in my recent series on how to create a sports facility business plan, most people who open small sports facilities are already passionate and knowledgeable about sports. The area of expertise that they lack is business skills such as accounting and marketing.
With that in mind, here’s what I’d suggest to high school or college students who aspire to be sports facility owners.
Study Accounting – Understanding cash flow and having a basic understanding of bookkeeping is essential to owning any small retail business. In fact, I majored in accounting, and it has served me well as the owner of two small businesses.
Study Marketing – Poor marketing efforts are another big contributor to sports facility failure. It’s common for those starting new businesses to assume that their product or service will be so stellar that customers will be able to find it on their own or solely by word of mouth and come flocking in their doors, but in reality, that scenario is extremely rare. Sports facility owners need to understand marketing costs and constantly update their strategies.
Study Physiology – If you’re going to be teaching sports and fitness, or be in charge of hiring people who are teaching others, physiology knowledge is imperative. Learn about physiology for both adults and kids so you’ll have a wider range of expertise. General sports knowledge is not enough.
Study Business Management – Again, I’ll emphasize: Business knowledge is what keeps your business open.
Get Real Work Experience – Working as much as possible in sports facilities gives you a good, firsthand understanding of how the facilities operate. I’d suggest taking as much responsibility as possible at a sports facility that’s similar to one that you’d like to own, and try to work your way up to a management position. This type of experience can teaches even more than a class setting is capable of.
Sports facility owners: Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let me know.