The Race Club of the Future


This blog is an exert from my draft title book "The Winning Race Club  - your track to business success" to be released in late 2018.

The race track of the future sure is going to be a different place.

The race track shape is a great analogy to the setup of a race club.

If you follow the races and even if you don’t you would have had exposure to watching the “race that stops the nation” The Melbourne Cup. A day when it should be declared a public holiday.

The races are about the thundering hoofs of the horse galloping along the straight with the jockey perched on its back tucked in steering the beautiful horse to the finish line.

It is about friends, business colleagues meeting together and getting glammed up and having fun. It is about having an experience and having a punt or flutter on the gi gi’s or dish lickers or chariots.

I am going to focus on 5 key areas which will grow a race club based on the Carmalk Strategic Framework and make it the race club of the future.

The 5 key areas are

  1. The Barriers
  2. The Back Straight
  3. The Home Turn
  4. The Final Straight
  5. The Finish Line

1. The Barriers

 You need to look what your drivers are for your club and understand these. Understand the risks of you progressing forward and entering the barriers and having the tools to come out of the barriers and start the race.

2. The Back Straight

Ensure you have a masterplan & Reinvest in Your Facilities

Staying relevant is the single most important thing clubs can do to keep their current members happy and to attract new ones. Top clubs know this and strategically reinvest in facilities and amenities. This doesn’t mean you have to add new amenities to stay relevant, but it’s just as much about keeping your existing amenities in top condition.

Clubs will need to focus on the racing, dining and entertainment and have a variety of food and beverage offerings catering to a diverse need and tastes from many countries as well as having on course accommodation.

Super clubs such as Eaton Hills and Sandstone Point are and have built an all-encompassing entertainment and accommodation offering as well as a supermarket and shops and maximising the use of the land and earning capacity.

Plan, plan, plan and set goals and review these regularly. Set up a strong vision and have a detailed master plan with costings and think outside of the square. How can you earn money while you sleep and 365 days a year not just on a race day? Look at childcare facilities, accommodation, aged care, parking, community hubs, entertainment precincts. Night entertainment.

Cultivate a Strong Identity and Strong Leadership

Top clubs have a strong, well-defined identity and brand. They know who they are and whom they serve and every investment is made with that in mind. Top clubs define what its vision is and invest in it.

Top clubs invest in their governance. Get the basics right and spend time here. Do not carry on the race. They take care to identify and groom the future leaders of the club. They have structure to ensure that there is a sustained vision and culture over time. Cultivate these people and the culture of your club.

 3.  The Home Turn

Rethink Your Membership Development

 Clubs with great brands which are recognisable are confident that membership in their club will be sought after, but they are not passive about the membership process. Leaders of clubs keep an eye out for individuals who would make great members — people who are prominent in business, respected socially, and who fit the culture of the club. Membership engagement and Communication are key and when seeking feedback act on it. Make members feel special.

 Members need to be treated as owners of the club, not “customers,” “guests,” or “patrons,” and that ownership involves both privilege and responsibility. Members have a duty to preserve the Club for future generations and to make decisions that will protect and honour this valuable asset for many years to come. That's the mindset of clubs of the future.

Focus on Your Budgeting Process, Keep Operations Flexible

Clubs of the future invest considerable time in their budgeting process. They focus on their performance against budget, using appropriate benchmarks, creating realistic projections, and involving key staff and boards. Everyone needs to live and breathe this.

Invest in your people and hire well

Your talent represents your club. Clubs of the future spend over 55% of revenues on payroll. Pay peanuts and get monkeys.

Invest in technology to assist your people and staff. They understand that the investment they make in hiring exceptional people will pay off by creating an exceptional experience. The best clubs view staff as an investment rather than expense.

Communicate Well – Both up and down

Maintaining a steady dialogue among your club's staff, management, board, and members is critical. Given the broad and ever-growing methods of communication, it is important to be strategic. Use digital strategies well and consistently

The use of natural photos and video and behind the scenes assures members will pay attention.  What do jockeys, trainers and horses do on raceday in the lead up and during the race?

Once goals are set and communicated, it’s up to club leadership to check back to ensure those new programs are executed and planned results achieved.

4.  The Final Straight

 Measure, measure, measure your performance real time and ensure technology is working for you and make tweaks to improve your performance.

 Fine Tune Your Radar, Monitor Key Performance Indicators

Clubs of the future set themselves apart know what members want and what their peer clubs are doing. It's a focus adjustment that requires not only listening to your members and being attuned to what they've seen and liked at other clubs, but also being aware of what trends are happening nationally.

The key is to keep your radar fine-tuned and monitor KPI’s, such as Gross profit, attendance and member usage. Monitor member and attendance usage patterns carefully and uses that information as an important guide for scheduling, programming, and as input for facility master planning.

Measure how performance deviates from your plan and make necessary adjustments

Offer a Superior Experience and personalise service

The staff works to get to know members’ habits, likes and dislikes, and provide service accordingly. That kind of personalization is a challenge at larger clubs, but it's a key differentiator and a goal worth working toward.

Keep Your Eye on the Horizon

Most clubs have a tendency to react to yesterday's problem or the loudest voice in the room, but top clubs keep their focus on the 5-year horizon. Yes, fix problems if and when they arise, but they don't let smaller problems interrupt their focus on the big picture.

Spend wisely for the long term. This takes strategy and a commitment to planning. The best clubs concentrate on the balance sheet and avoid becoming consumed by monthly variances in the income statement. The point is to look to the future.

 5.  The Finish Line

Targets have been reached. Have you achieved your objectives? Have you become a club of the future?

Always ask yourself "how can we do this better?" Adopt that attitude and your club will invariably succeed.

Become a member of your race club today and help shape the future of race clubs.

If you like this article and want to discuss governance, and perfromance and getting your business on track and how I can help you, give Adam Carter a call on 0400 761 700 and check out the rest of my blogs

Adam Carter | Carmalk Consulting


M: 0400 761 700

W: (07) 3869 2573


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