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How to attract more people to your bowls club

Annette Gomez

by Annette Gomez

Whether you are running a sporting club or a business, one of the key areas to growth is attracting more people. While it may sound easy, this is one of the areas most businesses struggle with. 

Of course, there are solutions to this problem but before we delve into finding these, let’s have a look why this is such a struggle. 

Let’s look at bowling as a business. Today, as consumers, we have more choice than ever. 

We have gone from the only exercise available being at the local sport club, to 24-hour gyms and large sporting complexes, all offering an array of exercise options. We have now become a society that is rapidly becoming disconnected. Our small communities where we knew everyone, have become sprawling towns, cities where most of us hardly even know our immediate neighbours! 

As people we want convenience, we have higher expectations, we are stressed out, burnt out. If we get married at all, we are getting married later and we spend more hours at the office and in traffic than ever before. 

We have a lack of money, time and freedom. 

No wonder it is more difficult for people to find us and choose us than ever before. 

Added to this, committee members or business owners often feel they don’t have the energy, skills, time or motivation to deal with attracting more people to their club. They didn’t sign up for all this business type stuff, this wasn’t their passion or the reason they started out in the first place. 

So, how can you deal with change? 

Firstly, understand it doesn’t matter what business you are in. Whether you are recruiting for sporting members or customers, you are in the business of people. 

Secondly, you are there to fill a gap. The gap of belonging. 

Rob works in my office, he is in his 30s. He found his love of bowling at the age of 10. I asked him why he liked playing bowls so much that he took every Wednesday off work to play. He told me he just loved being part of something and then explained that his club was community focused. It has elderly and active retirees, but it is now evolving to include a much wider market. His club is very active in recruiting, knowing it is their future survival. Rob may be part of a bowling club, but to him he is part of something so much bigger. 

Your challenge in any business is to make your new recruits feel this way right from their very first point of connection. 

If you are struggling to get new people, you must have a look at any resistance against welcoming people in, the new. The truth is, some smaller businesses and their teams may be cliquey and resistant to change, which is fine for the members or customers who already belong, but not for growth. 

Next is to get clear on this question – is it that you are having difficulty bringing new people in, or are you having difficulty retaining them (having them return for a second time) or both? Attracting people and retaining them both use completely different business strategies. 

So, once we have clarity that we have no obstacles in our way and nothing to detract customers, then it is recruitment time! Time to take action. Time to let people know why they should choose you. 

When you are on your recruitment drive, remember that you are not recruiting people to play bowls! 

You are recruiting people to: 

  • Enjoy the community based spirit 
  • Belong, which has beneficial results for improved mental health 
  • Have fun whilst they exercise 
  • Relax, socialise and be involved in a club environment. 

How to start your recruitment drive 

  1. Think about where your potential new members will come from. If you would like to bring younger members in – then start a recruitment drive at the local schools. 
  2. Create a flyer, and ask for a spot in to the school newsletter. 
  3. Make a strong offer. It could be something like a community open day, free trial or free bowling lesson for either an individual or for a class, or offer to start a kids’ pennant team. 

If you would like to begin an online committee focus team with other clubs around Australia to discuss business strategies, then please contact me to register your interest. 

Mention this ad and get a free 1-hour business growth session in June or July!

Contact Annette at 03 9533 0055 to claim your spot.

 Outcomes Business Group offers both one-on-one and group coaching. You can contact them for information at 03 9533 0055 or visit 

outcomesbusinessgroup.com.au 

Annette Gomez is a Business Coach and Mentor with Outcomes Business Group. 

Read this article in the Jun/Jul 2019 Bowls Plus magazine.

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