The NBA has been in the news recently because of the impending lockout coming next summer. With the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire, the time has come to reevaluate how the league works. The problem (at least from the owners’ and league’s perspective) is that despite the fact that the league makes upwards of $2 billion a year, the owners as a whole are projected to lose $340 to $350 million this upcoming season. Of course, there are still a number of profitable franchises in the NBA, but owners that play in small markets, paid above-market price for their teams in the last ten years, or both (yikes) are playing with a serious disadvantage as opposed to owners in Boston, Los Angeles and other major markets. So what is a small market team to do? Sell the team at a loss? Attempt to move to a larger market? If you are Clay Bennett, owner of the former Seattle Supersonics and current Oklahoma City Thunder, then the answer is the latter. When times got tough, Bennett said goodbye to the city that had been the Sonics’ home since 1967 for greener pastures. However, if you are like most small market teams with an investment in and appreciation for their city, you think outside the box. For instance, this year a number of small market teams that only sell out a handful of games each year have begun charging increased prices for tickets to those more popular games. Simple, but it is also as effective as it is untraditional. It’s something that scalpers have been doing for years, so why can’t it work for the franchises themselves?
In any environment, thinking outside the box is often the key to strategic growth. I know what you’re thinking, “Shaun, thinking outside the box is a phrase I have heard for years. This is nothing new.” That’s a fair argument, but think about this for a second; how often in your office environment do you and your coworkers choose the path of least resistance over a new way of doing things? I am willing to bet that the phrase “that’s how we have always done things” is used a lot whenever somebody brings up a new idea. Everybody talks about innovation, but how innovative is your office really? True innovation is fostered on a regular basis to help small businesses play on a more level playing field, to help organizations recover from a downturn in the economy, or even to help the most successful corporations stay on top. After all, how do you think they got there in the first place? So take a while to evaluate what you and your business does on a daily basis to stay competitive. Figure out what tasks are non-essential, which ones take more man hours than they should, and if there are more efficient ways of doing certain things.
Hint: there usually are.
Shaun Bossio is the Assistant Business Manager and ProShop Manager at Boston University FitRec.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org