Tuesday 18 November 2008

5 reasons why sporters really don't need a sports agent

  1. They take a larger % of earnings in comparison to the actual work and benefit they deliver to the sporter and they lock you into long contract.
  2. The only tasks they really do is use their network and relationships and check contracts, which a lawyer could do and a network is something the sporter him/herself can build.
  3. They take the control in terms of time and attention away from the sporter, the sporter becomes a puppet and loses control of their agenda and sporters need to decide their own agenda.
  4. They do not have the sporters long term best interests at heart, they focus on what will deliver the most return in the shortest space of time and therefore the largest cut.
  5. They do not help the sporter to create a network around them, therefore once the agent is gone the network and relationships are gone too.

Sporters need to cut out the middle man and start building their own network of relationships, being a sporter is a business, in business, relationships matter, and creating this network will stand the sporter in good sted for when they retire from competitive sports. Start building your network for free on http://www.e-sporters.com.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

GB athletes hit by funding cuts - support for winners only

20% of top athletes in the UK have just lost their funding to help them achieve their sporting goals. Now only 33 athletes in the UK recieve lottery funding.

Funding of athletes (sporters) can hardly be described as huge sums of money:
  • top level of funding of £25,383 per year

  • 2nd tier funding £19,000 per year

  • 3rd tier of funding which is £12,600 per year
But enough to ensure that the top sporters can enter international events and climb the international rankings even further. It is a blow when this is taken away.

The selection was made on those athletes who are more likely to deliver success in the world championships and then the London2012 games. Effectively only supporting those sporters who are guaranteed success. Like the saying goes "you need money to make money", "you only get support if you are good enough", which leaves the less well off and the current lower achievers out in the dark, it does not then take into consideration the potential achievements of those current lower achievers ie. upcoming talent. If talent then goes without funding and support, this group will find it more difficult to make it to the top, therefore this short term strategy of only backing the sure winners is only going to pay divends in the short term not the long term.

For those athletes that do not fall into the top 3 tiers they have to find other means of funding their sporting ambitions and goals - this is why sponsors and a support network are so important to these sporters.

www.e-sporters.com offers sporters the opportunity to form virtual multidisciplinary teams of individual sporters, and promote themselves to potential sponsors. Forming virtual multicisciplinary teams can make individual sporters more attractive to potential sponsors. It is free to register, create your team and invite your team members. Sponsors can also register for free and check out the teams who are promoting themselves.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Finding sponsorship - sporters resources

Finding sponsorship can be quite daunting for sporters who do not have a support network to help them find sponsors - but there are many resouces which can help. Here you will find some basic do's and dont's when approaching sponsors in the first place, maintaining the relationship requires other skills.

The main thing about sponsorship is to remember it should be a win-win for both parties. So understanding what both sides what to get out of the relationship, discussing fair compromises and forging an agreement around this premis will result in successful long term relationships for both parties. Sponsorship agreements entered into for hope of a quick return are doomed for failure.

Don't kid yourself, securing a sponsorship deal will take a lot of work, but their are tools and websites which can help you in this endevour.

Do's When approaching potential sponsors…..
Do your homework, try to pick companies that are relevant to you and your sport
Avoid approaching companies from the same industry sector as any existing sponsors you may have
View all social and formal gatherings as potential networking opportunities
Make use of all potential contacts – friends, relatives, friends of friends, promote yourself on business network websites like http://www.e-sporters.com and http://www.linkedin.com
Most companies receive many sponsorship requests so try to make sure your letter/email stands out from the others, this requires personalizing the message as much as possible, this requires research
If you are offered the chance to meet in person, make sure you are fully prepared. Plan meticulously
Take a carefully prepared presentation with you to any meetings. This shows initiative and professionalism
Always carry business cards with you. It will make you look professional
Take time to determine exactly what it is you can offer a sponsor
Be confident. Remember that you have much to offer a sponsor. Sponsorship is not a one-way relationship
Prepare an annual budget, calculating all your outgoings. This will help you to determine the level of support you should ask for and to clarify the areas in which you need the most help
Check with your National Governing Body before committing to display sponsor branding on your kit. Rules vary from sport to sport and event to event
Try to develop a relationship with your local paper. Building your profile locally will put you in the ‘shop window’ for local businesses. Press coverage also gives you the opportunity to actively promote your sponsor
Don’t be afraid to ask. Many companies will be keen to help – they just won’t know how!

Dont's When approaching potential sponsors……
Don’t view sponsorship support as cash alone – there are many ways that a sponsor can help you
Don’t ask small companies for a large amount of cash – they will most likely say no, be realistic
When writing to potential sponsors, do not state how much money or product you want – leave that for the face-to-face meeting
Don’t over promise. Make sure you can deliver on your sponsor commitments
Don’t commit to anything that you think may cause conflict with your sport’s Governing Body or its sponsors. Check first with your lifestyle adviser or NGB

This site provides more detailed information: http://sponsorship.uksport.gov.uk/

Register for free on http://www.e-sporters.com - create your sporters profile, with your YouTube promo video, enter your experience, achievements, photos and what you are looking for and check the box "looking for sponsor".

Wednesday 29 October 2008

A great example of using a top sporter to promote a brand

This picture appeared on the front and back covers of The Edge (business magazine) promoting CIMB. If you did not already know, this lady is the number 1 in the world in squash, a Malaysian woman called Nicol David.

This is a great example of using a top sporter to promote a brand and its values and its determination to ride through the current economic crisis. Nicol went on to win the Malaysian open to top it off for CIMB.

The important thing for CIMB is to ensure that it lives up to the brand values it is promoting by associating itself this this ultimate champion, ie. determination, skill, strength, durability, self belief, dependability and the ability to keep smiling in tough times too. If CIMB does not live up to those values, it will be not only disappointing its customers, but also devaluing the Nicol David brand.

This issue of sponsorship being a long term partnership between sporter and sponsor in terms of brand building, is something I am trying to encourage on the sports community site I built www.e-sporters.com. Through the site, sponsors and sporters/teams alike can check each other out, network, build relationships and create a win win for both parties. If you are either a sporter or from an organisation which supports sporters in achieving their goals - you should register at the site (it is free to register).

Thursday 23 October 2008

Virtual sports teams look for sponsorship

Sponsors don't like to back 1 horse, they like to spread their risk which is why they prefer teams, clubs and sports events to sponsor. The problem with sponsoring a single sporter is that you are putting your eggs in one basket. But on the other hand a brand likes to be associated with a personality, not just an entity, as this is what helps consumers understand what the brand is about. Brand associations. So it is a catch 22 for sponsors and for sporters alike.
But what if sponsors could spread their risk over a virtual sports team, made up of individual sporters from different sports disciplines and different clubs, even different countries. But where the team of individuals has similar personality characteristics or stories which link them together and in turn link them with the brand.
This is one of the reasons I created www.e-sporters.com to be able to offer sporters and sponsors a place to meet. Sporters can create virtual teams of like minded sporters from different disciplines and can promote themselves to potential sponsors. Sponsors can find virtual teams of sporters, who dispite not being part of a traditional team based on sport or country, are woven together through other ways, ie. beliefs, background, language, vision, personality, sexuality, physical trait. What the sponsor choses is based on the their brand values and what is best going to speak to their brand. This part is for each individual sponsor to decide, www.e-sporters.com provides the platform to achieve the goals of the sporter and sponsor.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

What makes the site e-sporters remarkable currently

Following on from my last blog entry about taking http://www.e-sporters.com/ from a prototype to a purple cow (remarkable site) I thought I would highlight the remarkable elements of the site currently, this is by no means to say that the site is remarkable yet, but there are elements which are and deserve to be highlighted:
  1. Targeted, yet inclusive - The site is specifically for a niche, ie. people serious about sport, sporters and their support network. It will appeal to a specific group in society and therefore is focused on their needs. This does not mean it is a small group the global sports community, as the site covers all sports (>300) and all sports roles (>100).
  2. Socially responsible - It was built with the aim of helping sporters achieve their sporting goals, 10% of profits goes to grass roots sports charities, 1000 euros per year is given to the most deserving team or sporter in terms of sponsorship money, it was built to protect people from online pests.
  3. Helping the little guys - The site is for sporters in the less well known sports, it is not focused on golf, football, tennis and formula 1 like other sports sites. The most deserving of the sites attention are the sporters in less public sports, where sponsorship is difficult to come by and creating a support network requires action.
  4. Advertising free - There will never be advertising on the site (no AdWords or banners), I hate banners. But that is not to say I don't have a business plan for making money to keep investing in the site, so there will be sponsors logo's on the site and targeted emails sent to members. But this means the site is clutter free and easy to read.
  5. People focused, not technology focused - Every single member that fills in their profile, gets a personalized email from myself asking for constructive feedback, all emails to "help" are responded to within 48 hours, the site is marketed by business partners who are (ex)top sporters, the site is a basic prototype with functionality you would find on linkedin.com, but the site does not proclaim to have the technological sophistication of a facebook.

I do endevour to create a remarkable site, but I need to take it a step at a time. Sign up for free at http://www.e-sporters.com/ and start building your support network.

Prototype to purple cow

The purple cow is a book written by Seth Godin, which talks about transforming your business by being remarkable. The idea is that there is no point launching products and service nowadays unless they stand out like a purple cow and are remarkable.

It is an old book from 2001, but the contents have become more and more relevant since that year, due to lack of time and abundance of choice consumers have.

Seth urges everyone involved in creating designing or selling to think in new ways about their market. By adopting alternative approaches to your business, you and your company will survive to innovate another day. (on back cover of the book)

There are too many nuggets of the book to mention here, but I will point out one which hit home to me during the development of the sports community site http://www.e-sporters.com/, that it is not necessary to launch a full blown version, or even beta version in the first go. Rather test the water, and launch a very public release of a cheap prototype like car companies do at shows.

Which is effectively what http://www.e-sporters.com/ is, a prototype being tested. We are testing the water with the target audience (sporters - people serious about sport) to see whether they can achieve their goals on the site, is there a market for the service we are offering, and to see what we should change in the full blown version of the site with all the whistles and bells.
Which we hope will be the purple cow!

Sunday 19 October 2008

A sporter - what it is and what it isn't - (naming of e-sporters, esporters)

After more than half a year of www.e-sporters.com being live, I am still getting this question ... what is a sporter? Which is concerning of course, because if people don't even know what this is, the hurdle to get people to register on the site is even higher than usual for community sites which is already sky high.

I did not make the word "sporter" up, it is a Dutch and Portuguese word and I hope it will eventually also make its way into the English language, as a non gender specific word for a sportsman or sportswoman. Sporter encompasses someone who does sport, including athletes (people who do active sports) and also less active sports like darts, snooker, GO etc. In Dutch you can say "I am a sporter", when you do sports regularly and sport helps define you. Like on a CV you would put I am a "manager" or a "marketer". People should be proud to define themselves as sporters, like a stamp on your CV.

If you look up sporter in Google without selecting Netherlands or Brasilian, the word sporter is associated with cars, cameras, guns (worryingly), binoculars, bikes or motorbikes. Especially in the US a sporter seems to be a brand of gun, hmmmm, it may take a while before e-sporters.com takes off there, as I certainly don't want my site associated with guns - might need a new name there.

The reason I chose the word sporter for my website was because it is international, it includes all sports, not just athletes and is gender neutral. As the URL sporters.com or sporter.com where already taken, I decided for www.e-sporters.com as it is short and as I thought easily understood, but I guess I still have some educating to do!.

Friday 17 October 2008

www.e-sporters.com YouTube channel launched

I have tagged this blog post as a "funny stuff" item, needless to say I am not made for television, okay that is not to say I am not attractive to look at, but I am just not used to presenting myself in this format. But hey as part of my marketing efforts to help people understand what http://www.e-sporters.com/ (ESPORTERS Ltd) is all about I thought I would put it into words in video format.

Check out my first attempt!. It is also on YouTube on the http://www.e-sporters.com/ channel http://www.youtube.com/user/joinsporters where I will be posting other videos regarding http://www.e-sporters.com/, I will be trying to improve my video capabilities over the next few weeks - so keep tuning into watch these serious yet funny videos.

Can any one tell me how I can stop my eye lids from blinking like malfunctioning traffic lights - it is quite off putting!

Sunday 7 September 2008

My top 3 marketing lessons from the sporting world

This blog entry appeared in the September issue of Marketing Tribune:

Excellence in marketing requires the same approach as excellence in sport.

  1. Goal setting, planning, and discipline: Excellence in sport starts with setting ambitious, yet achievable goals, planning how to achieve these and having the discipline to keep to the plan; plus possessing the flexibility to revise the plan if needed. A marketer without such a goal and plan, is like a feather in the wind.

  2. Partnerships and trust: A sporter without a coach and sponsor is going to have a hard time making the top even with the required ability and discipline. Trusting them is also a pre-requisite. Marketing is not a stand-alone department, it is a way of thinking. Being an excellent marketer requires partnering internally with sales and with organizations with the same ambition; joint ownership of a goal makes reaching that goal more attainable.

  3. Measuring and testing: A top sporter lives by measurement, whether it is seconds, weight, calories, heart rate or distance. For every change in technique or equipment the output is measured and revised if appropriate. A marketer can’t excel without measuring and testing every Euro spent to determine possible improvements in output compared to the baseline.

Monday 1 September 2008

Olympics 08 pictures you may not have seen

These are quite amusing pictures from the Olympics 08 that you may not have seen before:


Tuesday 26 August 2008

Careers of top sporters - the next step

Being a top sporter is a career. But unlike people in the business world, a top sporters career maybe quite short in comparison. There is only a certain window for top sporters to hold a top position during their career where they can actually earn a living as a top sporter. A humans body can only sustain a certain amount of physical stress before it starts to object.

This window of time as a top sporter could be as little as a few years or a decade depending on the sport and the amount of injuries a top sporter has sustained over that period. But just because a top sporters career in the top maybe coming to a close, it does not mean that their career in sport is over. In fact governments should focus on ensuring that they capitalize on the experience of these top sporters to create the heros of tomorrow.

A top sporters career in top sport maybe coming to a close in their thirties or earlier. Whereas in the business world, at thirty your career is just beginning. Some top sporters see this moment as the abiss and don't know what to do next. Once their sporting career is over, a minority of top sporters decide to get out of sports completely and jump into something removed from the sports world, but the majority want to stay in the sports world as that is where their passion lies.

Top sporters then need to make the leap from training, competing, track suits, fans and mendals, to suits, decision making, deadlines, meetings and company politics. There are many opportunties for education in the sports field, ie. sports management, physical education, sports physics etc etc. but at the end of the day, regardless of the type of business, it boils down to having a network, even above experience and certainly above education. Sporters need to be business like about the networking they do during their career.

This is one of the many reasons I created http://www.e-sporters.com/, to help top sporters create and maintain a network during their sports career and beyond, and to help them keep their roots in the sports world. Sporters and anyone associated with sports, ie. sponsors, trainers, gyms, sports companies can register for free on http://www.e-sporters.com/ and promote themselves and create and maintain a network in the sports world. On the site, they can enter their sporting achievements, their team experience, the roles they hold in the sports world, their promo video of their achievements, links to their own site, logo of their company. On the site there are over 300 sports listed and 100 different sporting roles and the search mechanism allows exact searches by sporting level and experience, height etc. It is effectively the Linkedin.com for the sports world.

By being business-like about their networking, sporters can ensure they have the necessary support network during their career and the contacts to continue their career after leaving the competive arena.

Earning money to pay for www.e-sporters.com

I don't have any VC backing, or an angel invester for http://www.e-sporters.com/ and I don't want annoying banner advertising or Google AdWords on my site and I already sold my house to pay for the site developments. I may in the future have sponsors of the site, but no annoying banner advertising which distracts people from their online goals.

So since May I have needed to go out and earn money to pay to keep my site live and to keep me alive! I decided to use my other passion and talent to good effect. Hence I set up Measurable Marketing Projects, and I do interim marketing management and international marketing projects for various organisations, where a measurable result is required in a short space of time. These projects are varied, but can be summarized by the fact that I am being bought in to solve issues that seem to have no resolution internally or where the client wants a fresh set of unbiased eyes on an issue.

I come in and generate measurable results for the organisation in a short period of time. The projects also fall into the following categories: international marketing, event/festival marketing, customer relationship marketing, performance based marketing, internet / social network marketing and direct marketing.

So my latest client/project is keeping me sooooo busy, I have hardly been able to spend any time on promoting http://www.e-sporters.com/, as I would have wanted, gggrrrrrr. And I am quite aware that a site doesn't sell/market itself!!!

Preventing the online pests

It seems that social networking sites are not being very responsible by not trying to protect minors from online pests. So it is no wonder they are getting negative publicity. Before I started promoting www.e-sporters.com I contacts the British police force (online fraud department) to ensure I was doing everything I could possibly do to protect the privacy and security of all members and particularly minors (under 18 years).

The site is professional in its design and content and as such does not encourage members to post unsuitable content. It is not meant to replace Facebook or YouTube or Hyes and the like, as this site is focused on sport as a business. It is very focused on privacy and security with the following unique privacy and security features:

SPAM/ABUSE functionality: In one click you can flag users as creating abusive content or contacting you with irrelevant information or Spam. Their id is temporarily blocked, immediately checked and if necessary indefinitely blocked by the administrator.
DOUBLE OPT-IN: Before your registration is activated on the site, you will need to confirm your registration by clicking on a link in an email. If you are under 18 your registration has default settings for contacting ie. The minors default setting will be set to "Can only be contacted via my direct contacts" - they would need to go and change these this default settings.
MESSAGING: There is no public chat functionality on the site, but instead a secure messaging functionality which you can decide to turn on or off. Your email is only visible if you make it so to your contacts and when you receive a message from someone you will see their photo as well as their id and name.
PRIVACY SETTINGS: Your profile is not automatically created and you do not fill in your profile until you have seen the privacy message, which encourages you to double check your privacy settings.
BLOCKING YOUR PROFILE: Not only can you decide who sees your personal details, and who can message you, but you can also block your id completely from the site -- this does not need to be done by an administrator.

If I have missed any other issue please contact me asap and I will look into it and aim to resolve it asap.

Smart ways for sports associations to regain members

Sports associations throughout Europe have been loosing members for the last 10 years, as people turn to individual sports and are at a lose to reverse this downward trend. Although in The Netherlands the percentage of people participating in sport has been increasing recently, the percentage of people joining sports associations has been declining. In fact the NOC NSF http://www.sport.nl/ (Dutch Olympic committee) are devising strategies and creating expensive marketing plans to revitalize the interest in membership of football clubs, membership of badminton clubs. Despite

The situation is a little puzzling, because on the one hand more and more people are becoming consious about their bodies and general health and are turning to sport or doing some activity to keep fit, but at the same time less and less people are interested in joining sports clubs. I am assuming this is why gyms are shooting up like mushrooms all over cities and gym membership is rising and finally the price of a monthly gym membership is on the decline.

With the current phenomen of more choice/decisions and less available time, the easy option is to become a member of a gym. Due to its flexibility of working out when you want, as opposed to having to do sport every wednesday evening and Saturday morning as part of a football club match schedule. The gym option is nice and flexible, but it takes a disciplined person to make the most out of it.

But as most people know working out at the gym is a solitary exercise, unless the gym encourages it, generally it lacks the social element of a sports club. The gym to some, may feel like punishment as opposed to fun. On the contary at the sports club you have the support, friendship and motivation from other members to keep you entertained/interested and on track if you have personal sports goals. But despite this, people are still turning away from the sports association /club membership and signing up to expensive gyms.

Why is sport seem by so many as a "necessary evil" that can be tackled by promising yourself to attend the gym 2 times per week and make the most of the gym membership, as opposed to sport being seen as a pleasurable experience, a hobby or past time? The difference is people, relationships and connections. This is what sports associations and sports clubs need to focus on in their marketing campaigns and strategies, promoting the social element of sports, as this is what makes sport enjoyable for most (non-fanatical) people.
Sports associations should take advantage of the groundswell of people on social networking websites to recruit new members. Social media like networking sites is all about connections and relationships, so combining an online community and and offline sports club is an ideal combination.

This is one of the many reasons I created http://www.e-sporters.com/ (ESPORTERS Ltd) to help sports clubs and sports associations form their own online communities, which help them recruit members to their clubs, promote their events, and help them to communicate with their members more effectively than they do currently. Sports clubs and sports associations can register for free on the site.

A new way of getting sponsorship money

With the 2008 Beijing Olympics now over and all the top sporters home, it is a good time to reflect on the hot issue of funding and money for top sporters.

Is it enough? Are governments doing enough to support their sporting talent? Why do sporters doing individual sports generally have a harder time finding sponsors than team sporters or clubs?

Being a top sporter is a career, in fact it is more than a 5 day a week job, it is a 7 day a week profession. In order to compete at the level that is needed to win a medal in the Olympics, a top sporter is required to work at their sport constantly. This requires funds otherwise a top sporter is forced to go out to work in order to earn a living and then consequently can't focus on their sport anymore.

Funding can come from different sources, the government supports a certain percentage of its top sporters, by offering sports grants. "A-status" is granted by the Olympic committees to certain sporters who are in the top 20 world rankings, but this is dependent upon those sporters attaining and maintaining certain goals in their sport and delivering top results on a continual basis.

What happens when they are injured or having an off month? They loose the funding, so they have to go out to work, hence they can't train as much and as a result they slip even further down the rankings, standing no chance of regaining their status and funding.

When it is available, this funding is hardly sufficient to support the top sporter, beyond expenses to take part in a few top international events, but more often than not the top sporter needs to supplement their income with a part-time job or coaching, which takes them away from the training field.

Government are leaning more and more on business and industry to cover the gap in funding which is required to produce Olympic champions. But business has an agenda, they want to be associated with a winning team/icon/brand, someone who will give them a short term lift in brand awareness and sales, they are driven by short term gains. However top sporters and sponsorship deals should be seen as a long term investment but businesses need short term gain.

Teams have an easier time of it than individual sporters. Companies and brands are far more likely to sponsor a team. They view their investment as spread over perhaps 11 to 30 players as opposed to being reliant on one sporter performing well on the day. In a team perhaps you may have a few players having an off day, but the team may still win on the day. A marathon runner or singles squash player is not allowed by the sponsor to have an off day.

There are exceptions to this rule of course, Tiger Woods may get help from his caddy but otherwise he is delivering the results all by himself. David Beckham has had many an off day but still makes millions from sponsorship deals, but these are exceptions not the norm and these people are brands in their own right.

So what if you are an upcoming singles badminton player, or marathon runner or a team/club with no manager or marketing help to source a sponsor and arrange a sponsorship deal, how can you get the sponsorship money you so despirately need to keep training and keep competing to reach your potential?

This is one of the reasons I created http://www.e-sporters.com/ to try and help solving this issue by making sure sporters can find what they need and be found if they are looking for something. Sporters and sponsors can, at no cost find each other through this professional sports community site.

By registering on the site, sporters and their team and clubs can promote themselves, their level, their achievements, their photos and YouTube video promotion about themselves, job vacancies, their events or match schedules AND indicate that they are looking for sponsors.

More importantly, individual sporters who are looking for sponsorship can find each other through the site and create a "multi-disciplinary virtual team" that the sponsors can invest in, ie. a team could consist of a marathon runner, a rower, a badminton player and a free style skier but all with a connection ie. the same gym or living in the same town or having the same condition trainer - sponsors can then choose from teams, clubs or multi-disciplinary teams to sponsor based on their profile information and promotion videos. There is no cost to find each other via the site, but in order to connect the sponsor will have to pay for advanced membership.

Register on http://www.e-sporters.com/ and find and be found and create a support network that helps you achieve your sporting goals.

Note: ESPORTERS Ltd also awards 10% of its earnings to grass roots sports charities.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Top sporters start promoting themselves on www.e-sporters.com

Top sporters in Holland, Spain and the UK have started to register on http://www.e-sporters.com/ and promote themselves, their companies and their achievements, and link with other sporters, trainers, sponsors and sports companies.

For privacy reasons we will not reveal the names of these top sporters, but they include top sporters in badminton, martial arts, squash and frisbee in Europe.

These top sporters will be able to communicate with their fans in a secure way through the site's messaging capabilities. They will also be able to promote their achievements and events they are taking part in and find vacancies in international teams. In the next blog I will also cover the issue of sporters funding and how this site can help with finding sponsors.

The site which is still in BETA version is currently only available in English, it will shortly be available in Dutch.

Join top sporters and amateur sporters on http://www.e-sporters.com and start networking in the global sports community.

Saturday 2 August 2008

Mountain biking in Le Lot in France

July was an amazing month. 3 weeks mountainbiking in the Lot in France and the last week of July I saw my nephew for the first time since February.
It was ultra relaxing yet active holiday. It started out in Freesland, on the farm of a friend, where I got back to nature, feeding the cows and moving them to a new piece of ground to graze on. Which sounds easy, but they weigh a tonne, they don't like to be moved, and look quite menacing when they are racing towards you at 10km p/h!
After an amazing weekend, we headed off to France, in the rental car with our bikes on the back. Only to turn back 4 minutes down the road, as the bike rack had falled off, dented the hire car and damaged our bikes in the process. But rather than give up on the mountainbiking holiday, we decided to just hire bikes down there, as we did not trust bike racks anymore after our scare. Hiring bikes is definately not the best solution, as we spent the first 3 days in agony, swearing and cursing the bike rack and shitty bikes, but that did not take away from the fun of the mountainbiking.
The Lot in France is next to the Dordogne, it is lushous green and undulating, with gorgeous little hamlets nestled among the hills. It is absolutely brilliant for mountainbiking, as the uphills are not too challenging and the downhills just go on forever through the woodland. The weather was on our side too, only 5 days of rain out of 18, which isn't bad for that area of France, quite a pain when you are putting up the tent, but once it is up, you don't mind the rain so much.
We had the trails pretty much to ourselves, and when we did come across people they were hiking and moved out the way pretty quickly especially in the downhill sections. We had so much fun that we are considering going back next year as there are literally hundreds of routes you can do. BTW we did relax too and see some gorgeous nearby towns and villages, it was not all racing down hills.

Of course coming back to real life was a little difficult, but the holiday blues quickly passed as I got to see my nephew Naseem again. I had not seen him since February when I was in Brasil. He was adorable, and this time, he was more than happy to spend time with his aunty, running me ragged round the garden, soaking me with the water hose and then quietly listening to stories I read him or playing concentration games I made up. I think he really did enjoy my company and maybe he will remember me next time we see each other. I hope that won't be too long.

Friday 1 August 2008

The sporters/athlete's "support network" explained

In order for a sporter to achieve their sporting goals that they set themselves they need a support network. It is very difficult and lonely to achieve greatness on your own.
Most sporters rely on at least 1 or possibly many of the people and organisations listed on this diagram, the better their support network the better their chances of success.
To achieve greatness in business, people rely on their network, including their team, technology specialists, coaches, outside agencies, the media, government bodies, the work space, the equipment they work with, the influencers in the market place, partners etc.
Achieving sporting greatness requires a network too. Most NOC's will tell their leading athletes, that the best way to find sponsors is to network, it still boils down to "who you know". This is one of the many reasons I decided to create http://www.e-sporters.com/ ESPORTERS Ltd.
Via the site sporters can professionally (like in business through linkedin.com) build a support network around them which they can rely on to help them achieve their sporting goals during their sporting life and also when they retire from top sports.

Sunday 22 June 2008

Learning from e-sporters members - refining the site's proposition to suit a niche target audience

Despite the fact there are not that many members on the site yet, I have been learning from them over the last few months, asking questions and listening, doing more competitive analysis, and have been rethinking the site's proposition and true target audience to find its market niche.

Over the next 2 months the site will be adapted to focus on people who are serious about sport, who define themselves as “sporters” and need to improve their support network to achieve their sporting goals. And as such the site will attract the companies and individuals who support the sporters in their endevours.

The site should be compared with linkedin.com as it will be focused on the business of sport and improving the support network of sporters, ie. sporters finding sponsors, teams finding a new coach, trainers finding a promising junior to train up to professional level, sports marketing companies finding the next big media magnet, sports event companies finding sports facilities companies to work with, sporters finding companies with the next big technology breakthrough etc.

But I am off now for a well deserved vacation, camping and mountain biking for 2.5 weeks in the Le Lot in France. There are some great spots for mountain biking, fun long winding downhills, but not too challenging uphills, I will load some the pictures when I get back.

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Marketing started for www.e-sporters.com

So I sent out my first press release about the site "The first global multiligual networking site for the sports community. www.e-sporters.com – launches beta site linking active people.", check it out at http://www.e-sporters.com/Press.aspx?ID=3. I also started the AdWords campaigns and facebook campaigns to try and drive active people to register. I am also in discussion with my first potential business partner. All exciting stuff ... we shall see what happens over the next few months. Keep you posted.

Saturday 29 March 2008

Brasil was amazing - gave me new inspiration for my site

Gosh it seems like ages ago that I was in Brasil. But just a few seconds to reminisce about the trip ...

I spent time with my adorable nephew Naseem, see picture, he was actually the highlight of the trip. Saw 9 places in 21 days, celebrated carnival in Olinda with the locals, met some wonderful Brasilians, they are extremely friendly and laid back. The beaches are fantastic, the flowers and fauna beautiful. Only downer was the food, it is absolutely terrible, salty meat, beans and rice every day ...

So I have been back home for a while, working hard to earn a living to pay for my site, by doing consulting work, my current client who is keeping me very busy is http://www.picnicnetwork.org. In the weekends and evenings, I started promoting my site, exciting ... we shall see what that brings. Updates shortly.

Sunday 27 January 2008

Ready for prime time

Thanks a million to those friends and family members who have been to my site in the last 2 weeks since Beta launch and registered and given me feedback so far. I have had some very constructive comments about the site so far which has enabled me to change it to adapt the target audience even better. Please keep those comments coming in.

On my site (http://www.e-sporters.com/) now you will find a more obvious registration process, search highlighted and all the dating elements of the site have been removed and replaced wtih more sports related content in which to search on and enable sporters to find more even better what they are looking for.
The most important improvement I made was to ensure that the site was secure for minors (less than 18years of age.) I will cover this is more detail in another blog posting.
So the site is ready for prime time and I am in a position to start promoting the site big time.

But first a quick visit to Brasil to see my sister Steph, my brother-in-law and my nephew!.

Monday 7 January 2008


Welcome to my blog, this is my first posting. I will aim to update it on a weekly basis if time permits.

After a few years of dreaming about following my passion in life (combining 2 of my passions, my love of sport and marketing) and over a year of hard work and loads of fun, I have launched my website http://www.e-sporters.com/.
It is a sports social networking site for 'sporters' worldwide (sporty people, sportswomen and sportsmen), sporters is in fact a Dutch word but has not made it into the English language yet, you won't find it in the English dictionary. I hope to bring the word into the English language, a little like Google did with the verb "to google". Well a girl has to aim high!!! ;).
I invite you to vist the site http://www.e-sporters.com/ , register for free and if you like what you see please invite your friends too.
This is what you can do on the site:
Sporters (amateurs):
· Create a profile and find other sports enthusiasts to train with.
· Identify a gym/team/class to join in your area.
Sports teams & clubs:
· Create a profile for your team and post a team vacancy.
· Promote your events / match schedule to your fans.
· Find tournaments for your team to take part in.
· Communicate with your fans while maintaining your privacy.
· Expand and grow your network of sponsors.
· Promote yourself, your sports stats and performance.
· Find worldwide paid team vacancies.
Sports companies & sponsors:
· Promote your sports company and your work experience.
· Find teams to sponsor and approach them securely.
Sports fans:
· Find live sports events to take part in or watch.
· Link to your favorite team or sports personality.