Issue: September/October 2011
Entrepreneur's Toolkit: Competitive Edge
High school and college athletics are part of a growing industry, and working with student-athletes and their families can certainly be a profitable endeavor. But you must put in extra effort and make special considerations. Phil Bessler, director of the Business Clinic at Baldwin-Wallace College, and Lisimba Patilla share their advice.
Be different. Find your best skills, and use them to offer a service no one else does, Bessler says. “What is it that you are going to do that they can’t do without you?”
Listen to your customer. Patilla says this is a crucial trait when working with students and their families. “You have to understand what the customers want, considering they are using a service or product for their greatest asset, their child,” he says.
Price your service correctly. When you look at families who are moving kids from high school to college, they are likely overextending themselves financially, according to Bessler. He says you must ask yourself, “How are they going to fund you? How do you generate revenue?”
Exceed your clients’ needs. Patilla doesn’t make guarantees when signing new clients, but he does know based on the results he’s already seen with his system that a lot of college coaches — sometimes as many as 50 — are going to contact the family. “That far exceeds the expectations of parents,” he says, “and, as a result, is a huge value.”
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