Partnerships with other sports facilities and businesses can give you access to unique benefits that you can’t offer on your own. Those benefits can give you a serious edge over your competitors and create valuable cross-promotion opportunities – but only if you approach your partners wisely.
Here are just a few reasons you may have considered partnering with another sports facility:
They have features and equipment that you don’t. Maybe they’re not a direct competitor because they focus on a different sport – maybe they have basketball courts, for example, and you only have a general training area. Or maybe you only have basketball courts and they have a pool and aquatic training. Whatever the scenario, you can really expand your client base and service area if you get creative with these kinds of partnerships to take advantage of other facilities’ amenities.
They have a licensed program or instructor that you don’t. Certain popular programs – Zumba, for example, or The Parisi Speed School – require official certification, training and licensing. Sometimes it’s easier to find someone who already has these credentials than to seek them out and purchase them for yourself.
They have official teams or leagues that can benefit from your services. Hosting your own teams is time-consuming and might not fit into your own business plan – but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t benefit from becoming an exclusive service provider to other facility teams or leagues. For example, some of my eSoft Planner clients are speed and agility facilities that have exclusive contracts for strength training for local basketball and soccer clubs.
Your sports facility’s partnerships don’t need to be limited to other sports facilities. You’ve probably also considered potential partnerships with local businesses whose services complement your own – a pizzeria to cater your birthday parties, for example, or a local screenprinting company to supply T-shirts.
Regardless of what type of business you’re hoping to work with, you’ll need to take three steps to evaluate and pitch a partnership.
- Consider how you will benefit EACH OTHER. It’s natural to think first about how the other facility will benefit you, but it’s even more important to make sure you’re offering your potential partner an extremely valuable proposition that will get their attention and lock them down from your competition. Research their business and brainstorm some ways you can help them before you call.
- Find out who you need to call and meet up for an informal discussion. After you’ve targeted a potential partner and thought of a few great value propositions, see if you have any personal connections who can introduce you to the decision maker and try to schedule a meeting at their convenience. Get a better feel for what they really need and what they’re looking for and see if your value proposition was correct.
- If you reach a verbal agreement, get the details in writing. You don’t need to get lawyers involved, but an email conversation that clearly states the terms of how you will be working together and shows approval by both of you is essential. Make sure that details such as commission rates and cancellation policies (if applicable) are mentioned and agreed upon somewhere, and make sure that the conversation is saved and printed out for easy access later.
Continue to add extra value to your relationship as it progresses. Add them to sponsor lists and in signage. Send them a holiday gift. You’ll get back what you put in.
Do you have any examples of how a great sports facility partnership has worked for you? Email me about it or leave a comment and you could be featured on the blog, along with a link to your sports facility.