When we think of the North American market, often a few trends (and possibly stereotypes) come to mind. Serious competitiveness. High school quarterbacks. American football.
On The Drive Phase podcast, host and CEO James Moore sat down with two entrepreneurs with first-hand knowledge of the sector in the US & Canada to find out more about what makes them tick.
Handling volunteer staff is an important part of running a grassroots enterprise. For many, it’s their passion for working with kids, in their favourite sport or with that team that they’ve been cheering for since the womb. In this blog, we’ll be looking at operationalising volunteer staff with FSQ’s Matt Young and A Better Way Athletics’ Heath Eslinger.
Operationalising a consumer-focus
Matt Young is a serial entrepreneur. Now a consultant at FSQ, he proved his pedigree by revolutionising the fitness and personal training market, moving the sector from anyone with a six-pack and a smile to a consumer centric-approach that puts the goals of the customer first. No longer just about shedding a few pounds, he created a healthy goal-orientated programme that could have them scaling Machu Picchu or running a marathon!
He brought the same zeal to his work with the US Olympics and National Governing Bodies for sports (called National Organisations). In North America, volunteers often lacked business experience and were largely working with limited education. And at the grassroots level, you needed more than guile to make your programmes successful.
“We have to keep in mind that you’re running a business. The biggest gap we saw in sports across North America was that it was being run by the least educated. No operating systems were being handed down by governing bodies and no systems (outside of Canadian soccer) that could be implemented at the grassroots level.”
Providing value on the court is one of the first steps to making it work. Seeing a disorganised coaching session, with coaches and parents singularly coaching their kids, he offered to take over keeping their development and enjoyment at the heart of their practice. This way, the session and the organisation pivoted to the consumers rather than any individual child.
Equipping Coaches for Leadership
Heath Eslinger is the CEO of A Better Way Athletics. A former university wrestler, he started A Better Way Athletics with one thing in mind – better sports experiences for children, young people and their parents. Now their goal is to be the world’s leading parent engagement coaching development company.
Now Heath has had his fair share of coordinating with volunteer coaches, he believes most of them just didn’t feel like they had the right support or tools to do their jobs well. And for Heath, what kinds of coaches you have is all about looking to the future rather than dwelling in the present.
“One of the biggest fears is finding coaches and determining how to keep them there. You might decide not to have a coach for a year and then be inundated the next year. You need to be willing to shape a vision of the future, step back and not think of the immediate but the long-term engagement of coaching talent.”
Want to know more? Get to know the entrepreneurs that make the activities sector so unique with James Moore on The Drive Phase podcast. Listen and subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts.