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Youth Soccer Coaching – Lessons Learned

Today’s youth sports marketplace is flooded with all kinds of opportunities and in most cases if your kids want to play competitive sports – it’s gonna cost ya. At least that’s been our experience in the last five years.

In our case we’ve expended thousands and thousands of dollars to have our children play youth sports and have had mixed experiences with both club and youth sports organizations.

In our most recent series of episodes (that almost read like a tv soap opera), the spring season has wound down and the SS Minnow (the other club) has been beached and is awaiting for Gilligan and the Skipper (our club) to save the day.

Now I know this reference to the old TV sitcom may or may not make sense, but basically the Minnow has been run up on the beach of a deserted island and the people on the island need to figure out how to save themselves.

So the final season has wound down and our daughter has been picked up by another youth soccer club. This came after much discussion, debate as we made the move, went with our gut and fortunately it turned out to be the right decision.

The funny thing was that after we had made the decision we finally heard from our daughter’s coach. This call came as quite the surprise since we had never spoken with him on the phone and he chose not to interact much with us parents during the entire time that he coached our kids. He had been interacting with our daughter for 10 months but had never personally contacted or connected with us once. The problem was that his decision to connect with us came after the door was closed and locked.

The club director did realize there was an issue and even brought it to our attention, but he never addressed it by communicating or holding a parent meeting. He just didn’t understand the key to building bridges and I believe this eventually hurt the club since they decided to merge with a competing organization.

Our experience has been with youth soccer coaching is that the club soccer coaches who coach the ‘b teams’ are just not as committed, because the majority of the kids just aren’t that serious. This has been the case with five different coaches so I’m not giving a one-sided view. We tested four organizations over a three year period and the results were always the same.

My point here is that if the coach had more interaction with the parents, even an occasional hello, it would have made a difference. Instead he chose to call after the door was closed and locked. He never connected.

The director, associate director and club trainer were fantastic and that’s what kept us around. These three individuals connected with us thus making the overall experience a good one, even though the coach was in the background.

The coach can be a promoter and help move the club forward or be an introvert that collects a check. The coach can be a communicator who builds bridges with players and parents or simply chooses to stand alone not allowing anyone in his or her space.

It has been our experience that parents like communication and don’t like to be left out of the loop or on the side of the road.

What does all this youth sports and soccer talk have to do with your small business?

Here it is:

If you are going to retain customers then you best have a program or process in place that  gets the job done. Otherwise you might find a revolving door with customers(or players) coming and going on a continual basis.

This means that you need to cultivate, connect and continue to communicate with your customers(players) and subscribers (if you are marketing via email or direct mail) before, during and after each and every transaction.

Build bridges, make connections and constantly communicate with each and every customer (player and parent). It’s easier than you think and simple to manage, especially if you use an email auto responder and social media to do the heavy lifting.

So if you find your business needs a little help to better communicate, connect and develop long term relationships with clients, customers and subscribers – get in touch with the SmallBiz Mechanic. He May be able to help you build bridges and better connections.

Dave Krygier

How Not to Lose an Organization

It’s such a shame to see people build organizations, only to lose a vast majority of the people. I’ve seen this occur several times during my small business career. The first time I saw this happen it involved thousands of small business owners. The leadership of the departing organization wanted more control and more money and they achieved this but the fracture their move created never healed.

The second time I encountered an organizational fracture was during a recent merge of two local youth sports organizations. This most recent event had a direct impact on our family, especially our children, as these two local competing clubs decided to merge and combine forces to supposedly achieve a more cohesive and better environment for the children.

I feel the two directors jumped the gun, sent a mixed message and didn’t communicate properly. They both seemed to feel that dropping a big turd on everyone would be the best way to go and then leave people in the dark until they could work out the details.

Now I will say that one of the organizations was pretty good at communicating, but only after the public announcement of the proposed merger.

After all, the intent to merge and actually completing the merge are two separate topics.

Before you ever make a major change like a merge, especially when it involves families, money and children, it’s best to communicate first instead of later on down the line.

In our case – the families have been one of the main financial sources for the two organizations. So the salaries, overhead and expenses of these two operations are paid by the parents along with sponsors.

We happened to have experience with both organizations, so our perspective was different than the families on either side of the fence.

The one thing that struck me the most was the speed at which the two competing directors  put the deal together. This and the simple fact that they are fierce competitors and have never worked together. Now I could keep going on and on but hopefully you get the idea.

It would be like two CEO’s or if you like, owners of small businesses merging to help foster a better community for their employees and their families.

Hmmmmmmm……let’s take a peak behind the scenes in the boardrooms and follow the money, eh?

With all that said…

Before you jump ship and split up an organization or merge two competing organizations, make sure that your ego and pride are in check. Do everything you can to work it out and consider the families that your split or merge will affect.

Lastly, communicate with the organization(s) before you make it public. For great communication can make the difference of a successful merger or one that fails and falls by the roadside.

Stay Tuned,

Dave Krygier

SmallBiz Mechanix 


Club Soccer – The Case for Coaching Continuity

This spring our kids’ soccer club decided to merge with another local club that we had left after several years.

This change came as somewhat of a surprise but we dealt with it as best we could, discussing scenarios and possible outcomes. As my wife and I were talking through the possibilities I came to the conclusion that the real reason we left the other club was what I coined ‘coaching continuity’.

You see, in the other club(we’ll call them SS Minnow), we were treated like a number. There wasn’t any personalization and in this particular organization, the coaches were very cold, distant and not approachable. So after two years, we left and went to the other club across town.

This new club was a breath of fresh air and we determined that the grass was really greener on this side of the fence (or pitch – in soccer speak) as they provided a full service operation and great training.

The year with the new club went so fast and we really enjoyed the coaching, training and how approachable the two guys were that ran the organization. They not only coached our girls but also trained them. It was a combination of three guys who would rotate in on a continual basis.

Well with the merger of our club and the SS Minnow, I came to realize that what we came to know and love(coaching continuity) would most likely dissipate and dissolve as the two organizations melded their cultures.

On the one hand you have three dedicated young men who worked and trained their teams together and communicated well with the parents. It was a great environment with consistency in communication and continuity in coaching. This familiarity brought trust and the young soccer players were able to develop and learn from three different men with a common goal.

On the other hand you have the SS Minnow that was losing momentum, had failed at a previous merger, did not have an internal training program and the management/coaches were not friendly or approachable.

So the coaching continuity that we had experienced was soon to be lost as the crew of the SS Minnow slowly took over helm and turned what was a great venture into a shipwreck. And club soccer in our little neck of the woods would never be the same.

With all that said…all this soccer talk leads us to your small business and the topic of continuity.

How can you as a small business owner develop and maintain continuity in your small business?

Continuity should be established throughout your business – from your marketing and sales messages to overall branding and merchandising(online or offline).

Continuity with employees and outsourced workers is also important because if you develop a break or crack along the way, then your people will see this and doubt will creep in, just like with the club soccer story above.

Your business is where it’s at due to the blood, sweat, tears and money you’ve put into it. Maybe you’ve even had to merge with another company or take on a partner which most likely upset the continuity in your small business.

To wind it down for today – Continuity is what keeps the business stable. Remember that the next time you look at changing your marketing, sales, consider a merger or joint venture.

Dave Krygier

Secrets of The Tiny Store

Business Ethics & Online Marketing

When it comes to Business ethics & online marketing there seems to be a big disconnect for some people and I’ve been seeing this for well over two years.

Recently I received an email from an online marketer that I have followed for the last couple of years. This email was his message to us, his subscribers, about business ethics. This message lead to his blog where he went on and on about business ethics and how he had marketed offers that were supposed to have limited time frames to order, but in actuality there were no limited times. And he readily admitted that he had done this.

I was a bit surprised by this email and the blog post that dug into the topic, but I took a tact  that I normally don’t take. I replied to him through email to let him know that there are no business ethics. There are only ethics.

I first heard the saying from John Maxwell when he said, “there are no business ethics, just plain ethics…”

You are either ethical or you are not. It’s pretty simple, wouldn’t you agree? Well, I never heard back from this marketer and hence I unsubscribed from his list. He broke my #3 rule about being available and when marketers do this or break any of my other rules – I just don’t put up with it, no matter how much I have enjoyed their past information and offers.

Ethics and integrity go side by side, and in online as well as off line marketing we as business people need to hold a high standard, versus taking short cuts and not being truthful.

For those online marketers who utilize email marketing, you need to stay connected with your clients and subscribers, along with being real and adding value whenever you can.

If you are building a list of subscribers – Build up the trust and never break it.

Build relationships and be available.

Be ethical in all that you do and go the extra mile both on and offline.

Dave Krygier



Communication Breakdowns – Part I

Over 40 years ago a famous rock group released a song about communication break down and it seems that no matter how far advanced technology has brought us, we still have to deal with this challenge.

From the home front to the offices of our businesses to the school room, it makes no difference; we have to communicate; yet many people I come across have not learned the basics? Is it the simple fact that society has made such a fast change or is it as simple as people not knowing how to use and adapt to new communication methods?

Going back to 1995 when I first started using email, most of the people communicating with me were business oriented. In my case, our prospects and some clients used email to search and inquire about our products and services. This was new to me and I needed to adapt fairly quickly. So I learned, tested, failed, grew and finally figured it out, but still have to work on it to this day.

In one case I remember a scientist working in Antarctica called me on a satellite phone instead of emailing because he had specific questions and didn’t want to mess around with email. Plus I think he liked the contact with the outside world and it turned out to be fascinating for me, as I had never spoken to anyone like this before.

One lady I know of prefers texting to all other forms of communication and she’s pretty good at it, but she’ll still pick up the phone when necessary.

On the other hand, I now see more and more people using email and text with their smart phones assuming that the recipient will get back to them immediately with an answer. Instead of picking up the phone and making the call to communicate, they stress out for hours until the person answers or they send another text or email.

Today, I still see people fire off emails without thinking twice and yet they wonder why the responses they receive are so short and razor sharp, if you know what I mean. I believe part of it has to do with laziness and the other half is just plain ignorance and not caring at all what the outcome might be.

With so many ways to communicate today, are you stuck in your shell and locked into one or two methods, or are you embracing and testing new forms of communication?

Have you let the ‘ole’ tele go by the wayside and opted for typing to avoid human interaction, conflict or even accountability? I’ve personally seen this time and time again and wonder if these individuals understand what they are doing?

Maybe it’s time we really evaluate what communication methods work for us and which ones don’t. Remember to test, test and test some more and then you can make quality decisions that will hopefully help your business and personal life.

Communication breakdowns will always be around, no matter how far advanced we human’s get. Let’s do our part as professionals to eliminate as many communication breakdowns as possible and make it easier on those we work and associate with everyday.