When preparing for your future outside of sport and trying to figure out how you will financially support yourself and your family after retirement from sport, you will have a few major decisions to make. One of the most important decisions you will have to make, concerns transitioning your career to either being employed or starting your own business. If you feel ready to take the risks associated with becoming an entrepreneur and decide that the world of business is for you, then you will have to proceed and choose a business sector that suits your skills and talents and resonates with your values.
Before the Internet became an integral part of our everyday life, if you wanted to start a business you either had to have some savings or visit your local bank manager for a business loan. However, now, in the age of e-commerce, where a brick and mortar presence is not required, the cost of starting an e-business is quite low and can be reclaimed after a few months’ profit.
The fundamentals of commerce apply in the internet business world as well: someone is trying to sell a product or service to another human to either fulfill an unmet need or solve a problem that needs solving. The Internet provides access to a growing global market with billions of people that can be potential customers. There are actually 3.95 billion Internet users in the world as at June 2018 compared to 3.7 billion Internet users in 2017. Out of them, 1.66 billion people purchased something online in 2017 — and an estimated 1.79 billion people are expected to purchase something online in 2018.
Athletes with the visibility they have acquired during their sports career, are considered as one of the most direct channels to reach customers; the connection between fans, sport and athletes, develops the fan phenomenon which is unprecedented in any other sector of society. The huge virtual marketplace provides a unique opportunity for athletes to start their own internet enterprise and take advantage of the special characteristics of their brand, image and the relationship they have developed with fans and others, throughout their career:
- Customers are one of the most important assets a company can have. As an athlete what puts you in an advantageous position when it comes to starting your e-business, is that you don’t need to build a customer base from scratch, as you most probably already have a sizeable social media following that can be utilized as a base to promote your products or services. In addition to the pre-existing followers, you have useful information about these followers which if used properly, can tell you a lot about their preferences and purchasing habits.
- Your personal sports brand can be tied to your product or service to increase the visibility of the message you are sending to potential customers, without spending crazy amounts of money on advertising. Even if you have an excellent product or service to sell, you still need to make people aware of it using the channels the internet is offering, such as social media, online advertisement and search engine marketing. Utilizing your personal sports brand as a promotion tool for your product or service serves as a low cost and effective advertising channel.
- Although the internet allows your product or service to become visible in every corner of the planet, creating a marketing strategy to reach customers in different markets around the globe is not an easy task. As an athlete, it is possible that you have a personal brand that is recognizable across various countries and continents, therefore you have an edge in your attempt to reach even more customers globally.
- All the people you have met or worked with throughout your career are part of a useful network that you can utilize in your e-commerce endeavors; you can either ask people from your network to mentor you when it comes to e-trade, you may also reach out to people from your network to invest in your upcoming business venture, or you can look into your network for talented people who can work for your business.
The internet marketplace constantly develops and changes, but the principles of starting and growing a successful online business remain quite the same. As a sports personality with high visibility, a large network, and possibly a large social media following, you have a high probability of success with a prospective internet based business venture. For more information on how to utilize your sports brand and other athletic strengths in establishing and running a successful internet business you can contact us at [email protected].