Off-season transactions don’t just happen on the ball field. Make next summer’s bucket list today and you’ll know right where to start when spring arrives.
The lists we’re talking about are the groundwork for moving your team forward this off-season.
We know what you’re thinking. The season is over. All you care about doing at the moment is winterizing the field before the first frost. The only list on your mind involves some reindeer and a fat guy dressed in red. You know there is a ton of work to get squared away in spring but it can wait. You’ve got conferences and board meetings to get through before you can even begin to table ideas involving the field in 2018.
Answer this. At that first board meeting of the new year, would you rather be looking back on 2017 or moving toward 2019? How do you feel about sitting around a table while folks try to recall the individual needs of their area of responsibility? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could come to the table with an action plan? After all, the learning curve will be big enough with position shifts and new faces around that table. Everyone’s going to need to be brought up to speed.
Every time we have to look back, it prevents us from moving forward. By making the lists we’re outlining for you today, your team will be one giant step ahead in 2018. Combine these individual lists and you will have the outline for your priorities heading into the new year.
More than that you’ll have a great budget outline and you’ll know what needs have to be fulfilled to keep things running in tip top shape, including investor capital!
Teams are great about making year-end summary reports for sponsors, shareholders and the government but how many times are reports compiled for your own use?
Every area of the club needs to be making year-end lists. They are the backbone of ensuring the team’s financial future.
Below we’ve compiled a few basic must-do lists but this is, by no means, an extensive compilation. Think of these lists as the bare minimum of what should be considered moving forward every fall.
How did new programs work
Execution of customer service needs
Opportunities to upsell long-standing clients
What companies showed interest this season for next year
Complications that need to be made good in the coming year
How many programs are left over
Were reorders of programs necessary during the season
Is the ticket stock usable for the next season
How many tickets were printed this year
What is the current cup supply
How many sleeves of cups did you go through this year based on sales
What are your plate, napkin, utensil supplies
How did your use align with your expectations for each of these supply items
Compile all food/beverage orders and determine where under/over ordering took place
Fire Extinguishers and other safety equipment
Do the extinguishers need to be checked by the fire department this year? Is all the safety gear accounted for including first aid? Do the tablets or supplies need replacing or replenishing to be ready for the new season?
Sharpies for autographs
Fire alarm batteries
Keys - are all outstanding copies not needed in the off-season back in your control
Line up cards
Scorecards & Programs
Look over your orders for each of these items in 2017 to determine your likely needs in 2018. This will help you reduce over orders and ensure no reorders are necessary mid-season in 2018.
Laminating machine and supplies
Audio Equipment for broadcasts or PA
PA system including speakers, mics, cables, batteries
Press Box needs including computers for scorekeepers, stereo equipment
Is anything broken? Are repairs or replacements in order? Are warranties on any of the equipment about to expire? Are general maintenance or warranty checkup appointments needed?
Any weights need replacing
How are the bars and racks holding up
Are there enough lockers/cubbies for player use while in the gym
Training Room Repairs
Replacement locks, any needed
Any equipment need adjusting
Are there benches that need recovering or replacing
Trainer’s Room Supplies
Tablets – check expiration dates and replace in spring for freshness
Table in good shape
Trainer’s work area well equip for handling any paperwork needs
You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We’ve all toasted a friend as they depart our lives, rather suddenly, for a can’t-miss opportunity and we’ve certainly seen unexpected tragedy in life. Be the coach that leaves a legacy, even if only to yourself.
By preparing at the end of the year for what lays ahead in spring, you’re giving yourself a gift. Right now, the players from other teams – their tendencies and how your team performs against them – that is all fresh in your mind. Make a scouting report. Remind yourself who has weaknesses against specific opposition and how you either overcome it or use it to your advantage.
Team member fitness plans
Any potential injuries you have your eye on
Is there a specific weakness workaround you’ve created for a player - either physical or mental - that another coach might benefit from knowing
Leave Scouting Reports on your opponents. Yes, players and coaches will change but given the astounding lack of uniform data available in the European leagues, any details keep someone from having to start from scratch.
Dugout equipment such as water coolers and trash cans
Seeds & Gum
Tongue depressors & rosin
Spare gloves, batting gloves & catching gear
Anything need replacing? Mark it down! Need more of something. Write it up.
Flood control tools (irrigator or drain/fans for dugouts)
Property Upgrades & Repairs
This list is especially important for those who rent their facility from the city. If you work with your city to maintain the fields this is the list you want in-hand when going into your off-season meetings with them. This is when you can risk mentioning the person they’ve sent this season to help with the grounds needs better equipment or job training.
Locker Room Repairs
Are there any player lockers that need repairs
Is the room due for a fresh coat of paint
What is the condition of the showers, toilets, sinks
Plumbing all in order
Any lights out
Toilets all working
Does the field need seeding in the off-season
How about stands – any in need of repair
Fresh paint needed anywhere
Are there any pieces of equipment the club owns, from concessions grills to press box HiFi that need to be replaced? Is there something you are renting from the city – that is part of the facility – that needs to be changed out or is in desperate need of repair?
Knowing what is broken is really the most base information you should provide. If you know that a piece of equipment is only being held together by the manufacturers of duct tape then put it on the list.
If is property the team owns, take the time to price the best possible solutions for the team and include the pros/cons of each available option. If you stay in your position you’ll have to do the same thing in a few months anyway. Why not get ahead of it and have the information on the ready when budget discussions arise?
The faster the team knows the absolute budget needs, the better the sales team can evaluate the need for price increases on everything from concessions and tickets to sponsorships and promotions. It will also help your sales force see places where trade out is possible.
Investor discussions and government negotiations take time too. The earlier you have the data to the members in charge of the ask, the better the club’s chances are of getting everything they need. With your lists/figures in mind, they will have a minimum ask they can feel confident about heading into the meeting.
There is nothing less satisfying to both investors/governing bodies, and sales people alike, than spending months negotiating for the annual needs of the club only to find out less than a month into season you don’t have enough capital to make it all the way through because no one remembered to consider an outstanding need.
Stuff breaks and emergencies arise. The repair lists ensure that the following year’s budget has a slush fund for those emergencies because the necessary needs will already have been addressed at the early budgeting phase.
Start making your lists today. You’ll be surprised how much more productive your off-season can be when you have the ability to look ahead toward needs, changes and improvements you already know you want to make.
Your sales force will appreciate the effort as well. They’ll know the right businesses to target and where to steer the conversation for mutual benefit. Where trade outs are possible, they’ll be able to show the potential sponsor that their work is community support. In some instances, that will allow the sponsor to write it up in a way that leaves their advertising budget intact and that’s a win-win all around. The team gets support from the local community to fulfill needs that keep the park running and the company doesn’t lose a penny of advertising funds while growing their good will in the community.
How great would it be if on opening day 2018, there was no scrambling, no confusion, nothing broken. Just the quick sponsor greeting and thanks before a beautiful day of ball could begin…