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The Three Worlds

The Three Worlds – Taking Your Program into 2021 and Beyond

So that was it? Done! Probably the worse year in tennis history for us all! And yet most are still here. The head scratching of course is not over and the way ahead is far less predictable as we thought possible. If you are like me you might be feeling, as you get back to work after the new year, that you are in one of those halls of mirrors from a Bond Movie, so many reflections and directions that you can’t really see the way ahead. Of course, there is one and peoples needs have not changed, but whether you are a Kiwi in a country that is COVID Free and partying on the beach for New Years or on Lockdown in the UK wondering if you will have enough fingers to count the new strains of COVID being discussed 2020 has taken us to a new place, maybe a new world.

Our new world means things we took for granted may not be possible, people will “proceed with caution” or “wait until we are back to normal!” The question is does anything really go backwards. In our team discussions we have been talking about the three worlds so am writing this as a way of trying to create more robust and lateral thought processes for us all, me included!

For years our number one goal has been to bring kids to the court, to our world! We want them to come and stay and fall in love with what we offer. I would add that now is not the time to go searching for the phenom and make this you sole focus. Now is the time to offer a focused and very valuable program, sell tennis and make that very clear, make relationships the number one priority, open the communication channels, work with smaller groups and encourage those kids that come, to come more often. The trend for new people to enter the game will become the new leaky bucket in a year if we don’t show a level of customer care that hits the stratosphere. And we can do that! We are professional people!

But emerging from behind the moon are two other worlds, that many people have inhabited in 2020, ones that we knew existed but never paid much attention to, such was our single minded focus on populating our world! These two worlds are called “AT HOME” and “ONLINE! ”  These worlds are also places that our players inhabit and with the “CLUB” world in a constant state of flux these are the stable places. The good news is that for a very long time in tennis we have wanted to go explore and increase activity in these other worlds but either didn’t have the time or our customers were not that interested.

Human needs have not changed! I want to connect, belong, grow, create, trust and so much more. No one is suggesting that your offerings were wrong before the pandemic, but just like the next iphone you have to adjust. Let’s try this with an example! Running a kids tournament! The question is not can you run it or not, the question is what parts of the tournament can’t happen in our “CLUB” world anymore. Tournaments are an interesting space to work on because we often forget all the important parts. With a focus on court, we forget about the off court activity before, during and after. Forgetting how important it is for kids to connect, parents to be informed and real values and achievements to be acknowledged.

So if we are clever we can handle the on court part at the club! Be super organized, have players coming in very small waves, but how about the off court parts? Tough to socialize in a world where we must remain 2m apart so could we take some of this to another planet? How about running some lead up activities that must be done in the week before at HOME and score players bonus points, run some ONLINE quizzes, skype or zoom warm up competition with one new offering each day in the week leading up to the on court part? Take the awards ceremony online with with special prizes based on achievements. Try to look at every element of your program in the same way first but then consider peoples needs before, during and after and if it can’t take place in “CLUB” world can we take it to one of the others. Tennis can become a bigger part of someone’s life if we inhabit three world’s instead of just one. Yes, it takes more energy and a different set of skills but nothing you can’t do!

The three world idea “CLUB”, “HOME” and “ONLINE” means pivoting a little and changing the way we do business, but it also means building a more robust business and ultimately more value for players and parents. If the pandemic has challenged your finances you will understand that we are all questioning where we spend our funds moving forward and meeting peoples needs and the real reasons that they choose tennis! I know we are practical, hands on people people!

Time to boldly go where tennis has not gone before! Live long and prosper everyone!

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