Hits: 630

Project Kickstart

How to deliver enterprising community sport in the new ‘normal’ world



Project Kickstart – a ground breaking programme designed to help community sports bodies and providers to get up to speed as soon as possible after the coronavirus crisis

Governing bodies, leisure trusts, facilities, community sports clubs and community sports groups…you will all need to kickstart.

We can help you with getting ready

It’s all happening around you…you decide how to respond

The coronavirus crisis has presented us with challenges and changes to all aspects of our lives and the way that our community sports bodies and providers operate and will be operating in the future.

A key question is how the new ‘normal’ going to look like and how you will respond.

Will the way that we enjoy sport and physical activity be changing and, if so how can we adapt to that?  We are already experiencing many changes in people’s behaviour in the way we exercise (or not) and we are also seeing many great examples of community spirit, some of them, but perhaps not enough, coming from community sport.

Many community sport and activity providers are in danger of not playing a big enough role in people’s lives right now and are not at the front of people’s minds.  When all this is over and people’s habits have changed those who were visible during the crisis will have a much bigger chance of regaining, or even improving, their reputation and standing in their communities.  So what is your club, leisure centre or trust doing right now? 
And how ready are you to adapt and change your offering, service and way of delivery?  Do you really listen and learn?



Welcome to the world of VUCA

The VUCA concept has military origins, first introduced in the early 90s in the US to describe the situation after the Cold War.

It took off in a business context after the 2008 global financial crisis and roughly translates into “it’s absolutely crazy out there!”

It’s all about the future – the various dimensions of ‘uncontrollable’ we find ourselves in and how we might best deal with it. And we think (maybe now more than ever) that it’s pretty important to consider how we can support people to successfully navigate a VUCA world

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste”

This quote from Rahm Emmanuel, who was US President Barrack Obama’s Chief of Staff is not advocating creating crises. However, there is little doubt that innovations and initiatives that in ‘normal’ times would take ages to happen, in times of crisis, like now, get approved and implemented here and now!

So now is the time to be radical, daring and quick


Create lasting change by working with ‘the willing’
Now is not the time to let the ‘negaholics’ decide what is changing and happening (or rather what is not changing and happening!) but to celebrate the ‘change champions’.
Old thinking protects the status quo and leads to inertia where traditional providers of sport and physical activity fail to evolve fast enough, leading to their decline and in some cases to its demise.
Those sports organisations are trapped in the ‘cage of conformity’ and believe their organisations value conformity and hence avoid doing things differently. They live under a  curse of knowledge and a culture of the way we do things around here.

You must encourage new thinking and be unreasonable

New thinking seeks to actively exploit new opportunities, new technology and new habits.
And as the writer, George Bernard Shaw said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” …and celebrate change champions

Breaking free from conformity takes courage and requires change champions  – these rabble-rousers need to keep things from getting too comfortable and need space to work, plus a culture that values and encourages them.

The days of analysing everything down to the nth degree are over –
it’s time for some lateral thinking

One thing that the COVID-19 crisis has shown that we can convert an exhibition centre into a hospital in 10 days and that gin distillers can produce hand sanitisers, almost overnight.
In this world of new ‘normal’ lateral thinking and action has to become the new ‘normal’ for any provider of sport and physical if you can achieve your kickstart.

Who are you serving – the Prosumer, Consumer or Nonsumer?

Kristine Sørensen of the Global Health Literacy Academy, based in Denmark has developed this simple segmentation model which splits people into three categories who will respond to the crisis in different ways.

The Prosumer is the one who doing classes at home, running for an hour every day, etc. etc.  They will be back at the clubs, leisure centres and fitness clubs, but they will probably also maintain some of their new habits.  There is considerable scope for the traditional providers for developing online activities to complement their traditional offer and to improve their retention rate.

The Prosumer wants to stay and win
They want good coaches and instructors who can help them achieve their ambitions to perform better, run faster and longer and/or win competitions.

The Consumer would like to stay fit, somehow, but it is not the only thing that matters. They need to have fun and be motivated and the social aspects of doing sport and physical activity are very important to them.  They would like to improve, but winning does not matter to them.  They are more likely to play football or cricket in the park as in a club or join a social running group, such as Mums on the Run or Parkrun.

The Consumer wants to do Small Sport
They don’t want coaches, but Activators, who can nudge them that little extra bit.  

The Nonsumer often has an intense dislike of taking part in any sport or physical activity. The last place they want to go to is the traditional sports club or leisure centre.

They often have underlying health problems and/or addictions, so any improvements in their level of physical activity can have a considerable positive impact.

How you can combine online and offline activities

During the crisis, we have seen various fitness instructors becoming online superheroes, such as Joe Wicks and Mr Motivator.  These people use their personality and reach to interact with people all over and often families are doing the classes together. Something was rarely seen in traditional environments. 

Buckley Town FC are looking forward to running both on – and offline training

David Lloyd, the upmarket chain has just launched an online service building on their existing video training series.  David Lloyd @ Home costs around £ 5 per month and is designed to both supplement the services to existing customers and to engage with new homes.  

We will work with you to develop your capacity, capacity and reach through social media

Produce better plans, based on your culture, skills and vision
We simply have to be better prepared, skilled and adaptable to respond better and quicker to these challenges. How relevant are 5-year plans when we, sometimes, don’t know what is happening in five days!? We can help develop

Developing new partnerships
In the world of the new ‘normal’, you will need to develop new partnerships often with non-sports partners, such as housing associations, supermarket chains and health bodies.  That will require developing a better understanding of their needs and culture.

The emergence and rise of Small Sport
Many people have now got used to going for a run or go cycling and/or just playing some football in the garden.  Can you engage with those Small Sport enthusiasts by adapting your offerings such as format and experience?  Can you develop a ‘virtual club’ where people link up via Facebook or WhatsApp and enjoy their sport, at your club or facility, but in a more casual way?

Innovative memberships and ways of engagement
Following on from above many providers could benefit from a more flexible approach to the ways they develop their membership programs, using technology to, perhaps almost personalising the way people can enjoy your sport, club and facility.

More than 40% of people who are taking part in online fitness classes do so as a family – how will that impact your membership formats?

The consumer will have changed – but how? More price-sensitive, more used to working out at home – how will that influence on you?


The pyramids upside down – do you listen to everyone?

Adopting a disruptor mindset – managing risk and opportunities without losing focus

‘Old thinking’ focuses on maintaining the status quo and cherishes ‘the way we do things around here’, whereas ‘young thinking’ focuses on how to disrupt the existing set-up. We will work with you to encourage disruption within your organisation and how to work with external disruptors.

Embracing and embedding new technology to grow your reach

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the growth in the use of social media and digital technology. So, every sports body and provider must now take a serious and innovative look at how they can further benefit from being more enterprising in the way they use technology to engage

How to be a force for good – focus on sustainability and social impact
Here at Sports Marketing Network, we are working on a concept we call Green Sport, which covers the issue around how community sport can become climate-friendly and play our role in reducing CO2 emissions. This is no longer just a ‘good’ thing to do, it is becoming a ‘must’ thing, and now is the time to take a serious look at that.  

Adopting purposeful and ethical practices that will enhance your value

Organisations are increasingly being asked “What is your purpose?” and that for sports bodies that has to be more than just getting people active, for you to have a real impact.
That involves behaving ethically and being transparent and honest and we all know the reputational damage sports bodies can suffer if that is not the case

Who is Project Kickstart for?

We believe that every organisation, body or provider involved with community sport and physical activity could benefit from taking part in Project Kickstart.  They include:

  • Facility operators and Leisure Trusts who are looking at getting users back and engaging with them in a more dynamic and contemporary way
  • Governing bodies of sport who are considering how they can modernise the way they engage with partners and providers and how they can become relevant to a wider audience.
  • Community sports clubs who need to adapt to a changed and changing environment and develop ways of communicating and become hubs for their communities.
  • Sport for change and community organisations who often work primarily with Nonsumers who are easily switched off and will require even more motivation and attention

Possible elements of the Project Kickstart programme
Sports Marketing Network can tailor-make a programme specifically for you, depending on your circumstances, scope and budget. We have considerable experience in delivering our content in a blended learning format, ensuring that you benefit from an efficient and effective programme:

  1. Workshops for your board or committee where we introduce the concept and methodology behind Project Kickstart and get an understanding for your culture, vision and ambition
  2. Social media programmes engaging with stakeholders and non-stakeholders, to get views and ideas from the widest range
  3. Staff development programme where we run workshops, do mentoring and give them lots of resources
  4. Kickstart workshops for clubs, coaches, providers, partners and others to get them engaged and motivated
  5. Mentor support to a selected number of Focus clubs
  6. Webinars and other online training services to maximise reach
  7. Access to our various Kickstart Guides providing tools and to-dos
  8. Best practice email e-newsletters, sharing stories and successes

Who are behind Project Kirkstart:

Sports Marketing Network (SMN) is a unique organisation where physical activity and community sports providers can share best practice on how to become vibrantvisible and viable and develop innovative and enterprising enterprises.
We have been described as positive disruptors and we have worked with a wide range of sport, physical activity and community organisations helping them to adaptchange and become better equipped to the changing landscape.

More than 4000 community sports providers from across the have participated in one of our
Grow Your Club workshops, benefitted from 1:2:1 consultancy and mentoring, attended one of our conferences, participated in one of our webinars or read one of our Guides, so we have developed an unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges for the enterprise and innovation aspects of community sport and physical activity.

Thousands of people involved with community sport and physical activity across the UK and Scandinavia have participated in one of our ‘hot topics’ conferences covering issues such as Innovation and Enterprise in Community Sport, More Disabled People into Sport, More Girls into Sport, Britain’s Active Parks and A Healthier Nation through Sport and Physical Activity, to name a few….we are now planning for our Community Football Summit 2020 on  1st October 2020 and Sports Volunteering Summit 2020 on 22nd October 2020.

Want to learn more and/or have a chat about how the Project Kickstart programme can help you to to get up to speed as soon as possible after the coronavirus crisis then get in touch