Steve Cox is an i9 Sports® franchise owner in Columbus, Ohio. For Steve, it all began with a desire to find work/life balance. “My daughter was approaching the age of two when I purchased my franchise. The grind of my old job was forcing me to miss time with her that I would never get back. Since I became an i9 Sports franchise owner, my commute has consisted of walking across my house with a cup of coffee in hand each morning.”
Steve likes to start his day early before his daughter wakes up. His day begins in his home office where he checks email and logs into the i9 Sports Franchise Manager dashboard to check his daily stats. A quick look at his dashboard lets him easily monitor his new member growth, registrations, revenue, latest customer satisfaction ratings, as well as his team’s progress against the i9 Sports “Countdown to Game Time” program checklist for the next season. These tools helped Steve quickly learn how to be a franchise owner and develop a daily routine.
Today, Steve’s dashboard showed that his third “area of play” is lagging a bit behind in new member growth. He makes a note to call his part-time marketing assistant to discuss the marketing routes for the week. Steve has a specific marketing plan for each of his three areas of play. The plans map out the schools, daycare centers, and local businesses that should be visited each week along with the specific routes for road sign placement. The plans also include a schedule of in-person marketing events such as street fairs and school events that provide an opportunity to talk directly with potential i9 Sports parents. This approach removes the guesswork and allows Steve to delegate a good portion of the marketing activity.
While there is no “typical day” for an i9 Sports franchise owner because of the wide variety of activities managed and the seasonality of this business, Steve always has a full, but flexible schedule. “One of the things I like best about my life in i9 Sports is that I get to build my daily schedule,” Steve says.
After getting a head start on planning his day, Steve is able to spend time with his daughter and then drives her to school. Today is a Monday, which means he has a scheduled call with his staff when he gets home to review what happened at the fields over the weekend.
On his staff call, Steve wants to know what went well and what areas can be improved at the fields to ensure his staff is providing the absolute best customer experience possible. Steve has a staff of 12 seasonal part-time employees in Columbus, which includes a site manager for each venue, sport instructors and marketing help, plus 22 officials he hires as independent contractors. In addition, Steve employs a full-time program director. The i9 Sports business model gives him the ability to work normal business hours during the week and the freedom to attend his league’s games on the weekend when he wants to visit, not because he needs to be there.
“With i9 Sports’ same day practice and games schedule, I’m not a slave to the playing fields. I have a well-oiled process for setting up the fields on Saturday, and my staff knows exactly what needs to be done to wow the parents at the field. We don’t have to worry about evening practices during the week like most other sports organizations.”
After placing a call to his marketing assistant to discuss adjustments to this week’s marketing activities, Steve composes and sends an email to remind his customers of the registration deadline coming up this Friday. He knows superior communication is a major benefit of the i9 Sports Experience and that parents rely on his updates.
After lunch, Steve has an appointment scheduled with the owner of a potential new venue. As Steve’s registrations have expanded, he has outgrown his first venue and needs more space. With help from his i9 Sports business coach, Steve was able to use a demographic analysis of his territory to pinpoint the ideal venue locations to serve his growing customer base.
“Whether it’s a new venue opportunity or marketing partnership, presenting the i9 Sports value proposition is actually a pleasure. Who doesn’t want to be associated with hundreds of the most valuable demographic in America – families with young kids? Especially when you factor in the healthy, wholesome image of i9 Sports.”
Throughout the day, customers call to register or to ask questions about his programs. “Before i9 Sports established the Customer Service Center (CSC), I used to answer all those calls myself,” says Steve. “Since the CSC has been handling my calls, the fact that I’m not constantly interrupted has made a big difference in what I can get done in a typical day, not to mention my quality of life in the evenings.”
As an avid runner, Steve carves out time each day to get outside and put in a few miles. After his run, he makes follow-up calls to a range of people: officials to confirm scheduling for next Saturday’s games; the owner of a local pizza chain about an “i9 Sports Night” promotion; and some league parents to thank them for their feedback on the customer satisfaction survey that was emailed last week.
As his day closes at around 5:30, Steve checks his dashboard again. His registrations for next season have surpassed those of the same period a year ago. It confirms that his marketing activities are working. As usual at about this time, his daughter bounces in the door to let him know it’s time for dinner. Steve takes her hand, walks out of his office and down the hall to an evening with his family.