And Learning from NASCAR’s Recent Decline in Business
NASCAR is one of the most popular sports in the country. They often pull in over 100,000 fans to a single event. For comparison, an NBA basketball game might pull in 18,000-20,000 fans on a given night. NASCAR has sponsors like no other. Sponsors on the track, the car, the driver, and everything and anything. Money comes in and has for years. But while money still pours in, there is major reason for concern; NASCAR has recently seen its television ratings drop 45%! This isn’t a small drop. The NFL is freaking out about an 8-12% drop and NASCAR’s drop is four times worse!
How did NASCAR fall from grace? Maybe it’s an aging fan base, over-saturation of content, or competition from other sources of content. That’s not really the point of this article. The real point is that NASCAR has been disrupted and now must figure out a way to re-engage fans.
If you think you can’t find yourself in the same position, then I fear for your business. NASCAR is bigger than all our businesses combined and then some. None of us are immune.
There are things you can do to improve your chances of success, but there will be changes you have no control over. For example, imagine being in real estate during 2008 when the housing bubble burst. While many were devastated by this crisis, some were able to pivot and weather the storm. You too can prepare yourself for an uncertain future in business by taking some steps to stay relevant, no matter what:
1. Talk to Your Fans (Clients)
Ask your clients what they see. Ask your clients what they want. Ask your clients what pain they have. Think about this. Your next idea for staying relevant may lie within those answers. For example, in the life insurance industry, there is constant pain over commissions. We’ve yet to find a system, company, or software that gives everyone the commission tracking they need—and “everyone” means the agent, the agency, the brokerage general agency, and the life insurance carrier. If you can solve that problem, you’ll stay relevant for a long time. That’s a more extreme side hustle, but you get the idea. Your clients will complain to you about the industry and in those complaints may lie your answer.
2. Write About It
Marco Polo didn’t become famous because he was the first explorer or the best explorer (he wasn’t), but because he was the explorer who wrote about his journeys. While not Marco Polo, you too have a story, so write about your journey. (I first learned about this Marco Polo story from Nathan Barry’s book, “Authority”)
Telling the story of your journeys will keep you sharp, give you an extra reason to stay-up-to-date on trends, and it will create opportunities to change your platform. Imagine being a health insurance agent when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was rolled out. If your focus was on the individual health insurance market, you didn’t have a job anymore. But what if you had been giving advice to solopreneurs through a blog you created? The fans of your page would still be interested in what you had to say, and you could monetize your blog and move to sell a product. The idea is to create something that stays with you regardless of economic conditions.
3. Take Time to Think
Real estate agents and mortgage brokers didn’t have a lot of time to think during the height of the housing bubble—which is probably why so few of them were prepared when the bubble burst. No matter how well your business is going right now, it’s critical that you take time away. Go to the beach, or wherever it is you go to relax, and read, brainstorm, ponder, and think of new ideas or different ways to do things. Therefore, if your industry does collapse, you already have a new idea, a new service, or a new product in the pipeline. And if the entire US economy crumbles, at least you can look back on some good times at the beach.
4. Expect the Unexpected
You know what happens when you assume things? Usually nothing good. Assuming the markets will behave the same in the future as they have in the past is never a good plan. I am not saying be a Negative Nancy, but you can be a realist and an optimist at the same time. You’ll be better prepared when your situation changes and you can avoid that whole “woe is me” thing, which is never a good look!
NASCAR isn’t going anywhere, at least for a while. Chances are they will find a way to rebound. But had they talked more to their fans, started creating content earlier (they are creating content now, thanks to Michael Verlatti), took time to think, and realized that the unexpected decline could actually happen, then they might have avoided some of the trouble they’re in now.
- SeatGeek: Tickets for the NASCAR events.
- BlueHost: Website hosting we use at both KazSource and Sportsepreneur.
- Envato: Themes for your website.
- ConvertKit: Prepare for an uncertain future in business by building your following.
- Leadpages: Gather new business leads.