To grow the game of tennis worldwide, tennis coaching and the management of tennis programmes needs to be regarded as a serious and professional business. This means that coaches must work and think in a professional manner to grow a successful and profitable business. You don’t need to have a “business” mind to run a successful business; just follow a few simple rules.
Here are the simple rules that i2c swear by – and which we believe are essential for helping you to grow your tennis business! This article was first co-written by i2c Directors Mark and Richard for the ITF Coaching and Sports Science Review in 2009, we’ve updated and revised it for 2017.
RULE #1: Plan your programme
It’s easier to work out the finances for a tennis programme when you plan it in advance. That could mean that the programme is shown on a website or in a leaflet showing the type, cost and standard of sessions available to different ages and standards of players. This is a simple but effective way of marketing the club programme, which is likely to result in greater sales from members and the local community. Depending on the size of the programme, you may want to create separate leaflets for the junior and adult programmes.
- Showcase your whole programme in one go
- Encourages greater sales if potential clients can see what is offered, thus increasing income
- Reduces administration – 1 leaflet rather than separate leaflets for each activity, but balance this out with the amount of information. Avoid showing too much information and too many mixed messages in one leaflet
RULE #2: Work with groups of players
More players can be included in a programme if activities are offered to groups of players. This might include group coaching, competition and group activities such as Cardio Tennis. Working with groups creates greater earning potential for you, whilst keeping the cost down for the players, and is a more efficient use of court space and time.
- Greater earning potential from groups (6 players paying £8 per hour is more lucrative than 1 paying £40!)
- Fun and convivial atmosphere created amongst group members
- More fun for the coach
- More players included in the programme
- More efficient use of court space
RULE #3: Always calculate your break-even point
The break-even point is the number of players that you will need to enrol so that you cover your costs. The money that you earn above covering your costs is profit. So, knowing the break-even figure is critical to a profitable business.
The first step in calculating break-even is to total all costs associated with a class. Knowing how much it will cost you to run the class helps you to identify how much you should charge, and the number of players required to cover the costs or make a profit. Calculating break even can either help you to know how many people you need in order to make a profit, or to calculate how much you should charge to make a profit if you know how many people will be attending.
Calculating break even
Example for 6 week group coaching with maximum 12 people
- 2 courts @ £5 per hour = £10
- Coach fees per hour = £30
- Balls ($50 divided by 6 weeks)= £8.33
- Total: £48.33 per week x 6 weeks = £289.98
Income: (Assuming 75% take-up)
100% = £289.98 / 12 = £28.99 per person
75% = £289.98 / £35 = 8.2
Course fee = £35 per person
Break even = 9 people
Don’t forget that you may have to pay tax on any profits!
RULE #4: Minimise costs
One of the most basic rules in business is to manage costs to maximise profits. There are many ways in which costs can be kept to a minimum without compromising quality or the range of services offered.
- Find local sponsors to offset costs. Sponsors are less likely to give cash these days, but they may be willing to pay for printing for your marketing, or to provide balls or prizes for a tournament, in return for placing their logo on your club leaflet or website.
- Buy in bulk and shop around. Better deals on items such as balls can be secured if you buy in bulk, and very often by shopping around on the internet.
- Watch your break-even. Perform a simple costing exercise on every activity that you run, and you will soon identify which are your most lucrative activities.
Download your bonus Break-even calculator: Break even calculator (10 downloads)