The first start-up company I ever worked for failed! Initially, optimism was ever-present and over-flowing. We had a great team, and product. The goal was to hit a pre-determined milestone. Afterwards, we would go public, and then we’ll all become rich!
Guess what? This never happened! Why? We had a “one-and-done” product. Plainly said, after we sold our “flagship” product to a customer, we had no follow-up product. Ultimately, this is why we failed.
Fast forward to starting, and running a basketball camp business. I desperately did not want to be a “one-and-done” product company. My desire was not to create a portfolio of products, where each product was self-sustaining, and part of a larger solution.
Failure to implement this “portfolio-based” solution would make it difficult to stay in business long-term. Initially, many kids would support the business, but after taking the first camp, there would be nothing different for them to try. Secondly, I would be letting my family down. They trusted, and believed in me.
To move forward, it was tough. Up to this point, I had seen no other organization with the type of infrastructure I was attempting to implement. If this was to be done, I was going to have to figure it out myself. At the time, I had no answer.
Then one day, I stumbled onto an old, discontinued book on running summer basketball camps. In this book, it broke down the core basketball skills into 5 groups: ball handling, shooting, offensive moves, defense and inside play. Bingo! This was the answer I was searching for.
Looking back at the “portfolio-based” solution I wanted to implement, the content for each product (or basketball camp) was handed to me on a “silver” platter from this book. For each core basketball skill, I would create a camp, with that emphasis. After a kid completes the first camp, there would be a follow-on camp (in the progression), with a different emphasis. This would go on until the kid has completed all camps.
My plan was to launch our basketball camps during the summer. At this time, families are more willing to try new camps. To be successful, we marketed the camps the best we knew how, which included distributing flyers, placing yard signs, posting on bulleting boards, advertising online and offering free demonstration classes.