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Activities sector

The top 5 ways to be successful in the activities sector

December 15, 2023

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As the year ends, many businesses are preparing for holiday camps, clubs and classes or closing up shop for the year. We wanted to have a look at the ways the companies we’ve profiled are looking after their customers and their businesses!

Here are the five ways activities sector businesses and organisations are ensuring their success…


1. Maximise the impact of your services

Focusing your project on the areas that give you the most impact is a key strategy for any business. Doing too many things in too many areas can stretch you and your team and result in poor customer service. When Amy Lalla, Co-founder of Let Me Play Group, spoke to James Moore on The Drive Phase, she discussed focusing on the areas that young people needed the most.

Let Me Play

Branching it out from sport into formal education helped them develop eight different centres for their skills and training. These programmes helped power businesses with an injection of young talent and skills. Young people could then make their first step into the working world with the support of skills and training.


2. Produce operational structures that are consumer-focussed

As your company grows, developing your operations can sometimes take a backseat. Focussing on winning those contracts can leave businesses backed up with spreadsheets and the least-qualified people at the helm. Matt Young, Partner at FSQ Sport, FSQ Consulting and serial entrepreneur, knows all about understanding operational structures. After building his own business, he turned his focus to National Governing Bodies and grassroots sports clubs.

FSQ Consulting

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As largely parent-led coaching programmes, they had all the passion but none of the operational knowledge. Little support at the national level for grassroots sports clubs meant disorganised sessions and resentment amongst parents running rife. His company focussed the sessions on supporting core values and skills in sports training – not “special” kids.


3. Growing your business with local knowledge

A key theme for our guests is using local knowledge to their benefit. Whether they choose to empower local managers, provide self-led programmes, or sell franchises, local knowledge is essential. They create standardised processes and centralise operations in one hub. Local people make their business model a success.

Football Fun Factory

James Cutting, CEO of Football Fun Factory, used this method when he was growing his mass participation model. Talking to local coaches in these communities meant building their programmes on the knowledge of what they were most passionate about. His business model was then designed to help those coaches make an impact in their local communities.


4. Research that proves your impact

Let’s say you worked in a youth offenders’ prison and saw how much these young people enjoyed sport. How can you build on your insights and prove how well your method works? Evidence, that’s how. James Mapstone, the founder of the Alliance of Sport – Criminal Justice, brought together all the existing research and used his programme and the demographics they served to prove the impact they had on criminal justice.

Alliance of Sport

The Levelling the Playing Field research tackled the impact physical activity could have on young people who were involved in the criminal justice system. They proved their impact to secure funding from the government and prove they were making a difference. Evidencing your impact is essential, whoever your stakeholder is!


5. Tackling big problems with big names

Foundations developed by football clubs and big-name athletes tend to have the same problem. Getting people to see past the big name and see the local problems they are trying to solve. Most importantly, it’s about getting the funding they need to keep solving problems of unemployment, poverty and even lack of early years education.

Rio Ferdinand Foundation

Liverpool FC Foundation’s Matt Parish uses the stadiums themselves to structure their key programmes. Red Neighbours invest time in supporting locals who are facing food poverty and social isolation. Andrew Ducille, Head of Programmes at the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, focussed his efforts on creating safe spaces for children and young people in the areas famous for Rio’s football.


Next year, we’ll be back with more from the activities sector worldwide. Check out The Drive Phase back catalogue for more from some of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders in the market. Watch this space!

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