Preparation and Motivation

15 Apr, 2020 11:18 By: Nikki Hawkes

While we’re all constantly looking for updates to know how to proceed in the future, to find out when we’ll be able to resume racing and race directing,  what can we do right now?

For the next few months, the outlook is bleak. But how can you make the most of your time at home whilst you're running an events company, but not washing marshall bibs, putting out cones or managing aid stations? We’ve compiled a couple of things which you can spruce up or get started on, so that you’re in better shape when we’re back in the game. This is a great time to learn new skills, launch new assets and keep all the gears turning. But also because you’ll never again have the luxury of time to focus on these things in depth. So make this time count.

Updating Key Documents 

Arguably the thing we can put off the most, which can deliver great benefit if done well. 

  • Emergency planning docs and risk assessments need constant reviewing to keep authorities happy and to make sure your planning is sound. These are the most time consuming documents to make sure they don’t leave any gaps for all the ‘what-if’ scenarios which you could get asked about in stakeholder meetings. So all the more reason to dig deep into them!
  • Volunteer Training Manuals can help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your temporary staff, so that you’re not as stretched on race day. By creating roles for ‘key staff members’ you can practice the art of delegating by being specific about their responsibilities. Here you can define how you want them to manage the people that fall under them and what protocols to follow in different situations. This will help streamline your race day activities, by including timetables and contingency activities. 
  • Race rules and T&C’s have probably been documents which you’re looked at recently if you’ve had to cancel one of your races due to this unprecedented situation. Although it might be too early to know, race rules might need to include some hygiene precautions to comply with the event landscape in the near future. But refund policies, transfer rules and participants' health for participation, are all topics which you should make sure are well covered to suit your events. 

Tweaking Race Budgets

Revenue models are all over the place…. But it looks like you have some time where you can start negotiating to save a few bucks and tweak how you do things. Spend some time shopping around and getting several quotes from suppliers. 

  • Look into event budgeting software –Software other than spreadsheets might help you out. For example, if you have several races a year to manage with tens of temporary staff at each one, and a handful of permanent staff, software might help you split it out in a more manageable format.  
  • Know your deadlines. When are payments are due? Being late could incur extra costs and potential hurt supplier relationships.
  • Swag bags – Freebies may seem like a good idea but in reality they often contribute to a cycle of waste. Coordinate with sponsors to make these worthwhile. Maybe offer access to some exclusive Digital Content instead.
  • Marshalls and Volunteers. If you are early enough in your plans, and do not know whether support from volunteers will materialise, begin developing relationships with running networks near your race to involve. The earlier you plan for them and the more you communicate, the easier it will be to work out mutual benefit for both parties so that you can reduce your event staff expenses. 
  • Understand your legal structure. This will affect your accounting. Depending on whether you are organising your event under a non-profit, charity or private company, your accounting for certain costs and for your bottom line may change. Make sure you are clear about your the correct way to account for costs, revenues, sponsorship and profits before you begin. If in doubt, consult your accountant first.
  • Don’t make assumptions. This is particularly the case with sponsorship. If you had a sponsor the previous year, don’t assume they will be on board again in the future without solid reassurance from them. Both monetary sponsorship and product sponsorship needs to be checked and accounted for in all of your budgeting. 

Selling Merchandise

This can be a great way of getting in another form of revenue while we weather the storm. Not just for now, but to get the wheels turning for the future so that you can expand your offering and your business. 

Showcasing your Merchandise on Eventrac
The eventrac platform makes it easy to showcase all your merchandise. You can position this as a storefront or as part of the entry flow to your event. The eventrac platform can help you make sales and increase your revenue streams. You are also able to quickly update images, stock levels, variations and report on sales so that you can easily manage your orders or ‘on the day’ pickups. For multiple events you can easily tick or untick merchandise to appear on each event simultaneously, saving you time without having to add the same item to each individual event, provided, of course that all your events sell some of the same merchandise.

So how can you maximise the merchandise tool and start selling more straight away? Firstly, don’t forget, we are here to help! Decide what you want to sell and consider a wide range. You may just be thinking of Race T-shirts… but there are plenty of other opportunities you can take advantage of by using the merchandise tool to add value to your event.

Here are some popular options and how to make the most of them:

  • Race T-Shirts – The obvious traditional bestseller. T-shirts can be themed around your company logo or the specific event and even personalised to the runner. Shop around to get the best price and consider whether you want quality at a higher price point or just a basic cotton tee. Is it to be wrapped or unwrapped etc and what type of printing method – all these things affect the price. 
  • Other Clothing – Headscarf, wristbands, socks, or whatever you can think of, if branded, will be an opportunity to showcase your brand. Consider is the item in trend or unusual, could it be a must have accessory or a talking point? It may be of use to the entrant at your event or the day or something displayed that would prompt them to think ‘ah I could do with one of those!’
  • Partner Brand Merchandise – Try speaking to brands about selling their stock through your event – you may find that the smaller brands will be trying to increase business and may be receptive to a bit of negotiation in exchange for some exposure.

Fulfilling your Merchandise Sales

There may be other on-costs to consider that you will need to factor into your budget which you should consider in advance to ensure that you remain in profit.

  • Physical Products – unless you are going to draw down from your supplier or use a third-party fulfilment company you are going to need adequate space to store your items. Goes without saying that this needs to be somewhere easily accessible and where the right storage conditions can be maintained (particularly important if perishables)
  • Dispatch - You need to work out despatch timelines and how this is done and will have set this out already in your product description. 
  • Using a third party – if using delivery companies make sure you do some due diligence in advance to satisfy yourself that they are reliable and efficient. Your customers will come to you if they are unhappy and the despatch service they receive will reflect on your brand. Companies that offer tracking services are useful to keep the customer informed.
  • Dispatching items yourself - Are you going to be posting items out as soon as the customer buys them, or do you plan to have a despatch window and send out multiple orders in one go closer to your event day. Do you have enough manpower and time to do this? Does your customer know when they can expect the delivery? 
  • Packaging – do you need any special packaging to send the item out in ie boxes, brown paper, plastic bags, bubble wrap, etc and do you have enough supplies of these? Will you include fliers or information about the relevant or future events? Pack appropriately but don’t over package to keep the postage fees to a minimum and avoid using plastic.

Revamping Course Maps

If you want to do some more promotion of your course in addition to your eventrac course map, or want to go that one step further, this down period is a great time to consider giving it a lift.

There’s many tools to help you give participants a great idea of what your course is going to be like. Relive is a great free option to help you create an amazing birds eye view of your event which you can add to your website. 

Strava is an obvious place to promote your race route, to get people commenting on it and even create a club. Kmoot is another new race mapping club that has a chunk of the market for runners that could help you promote your race in a similar way to strava. And most importantly, make sure your maps are on your website, and why not promote them on your social media pages too? 

Cement your relationships with key stakeholders

Just about everyone in our industry is hurting right now. That means not only races and race directors, but also vendors, sponsors, local communities and everyone in the middle.

It is in times like these when going out of your way to help a partner in trouble can make the world of difference. So make the most of any opportunity you get to strengthen relationships and help people out.

If your sponsor pulls their sponsorship because they’re struggling during the crisis or need to re-prioritise resources, help them out. Spend some time to figure out how you can make them keep their sponsorship while deferring or restructuring your fee. If your sponsors matter to you, find a way to make it work for them.

With vendors too try to be as helpful as you can when you’re forced to cancel or postpone events. How you go about all that will have a lasting impact on your industry standing and reputation.

Every one of your stakeholders will remember you for what you did for them during this crisis. So use this opportunity to leave your mark as a reliable and fair partner who sticks with people through difficult times.

On Hand To Help

The team at Eventrac are on hand to assist with all components of your event. From advice on promoting your event through low cost channels such as social media, to a guided tutorial on a specific feature of Eventrac. We are here to help.