A lifetime runner with elite standing in distances of 5km, 10km, 1/2 and full marathons, Kevin O'Connor began his coaching career in 2012. He has a great reputation from years of work in the community and in the races he hasn't competed in, his cheering presence has been infectious from the sidelines. Kevin came to me with a unique situation; he wanted to continue training as an elite runner but also develop his new business. I helped design his service offering; building his client management process, developing his brand, and training him for community management.
Until we met, Kevin's audience had consisted primarily of working professionals who were already active runners. Our research showed that the most accessible place to find these people were at and around races, running clinics, yoga studios, and local gyms. Almost exclusively offline. It was great that he had a roster of already dedicated community supporters but I saw an opportunity to meet a wider demographic of potential customers. At this point we started brainstorming strategic alliances; sponsors, fellow runners, local vendors, and peers who could speak to his expertise. After a digital poll and a dozen in-person interviews I discovered that his customer satisfaction was quite high. The majority of his clients either signed on for long-term training or referred friends and colleagues once they'd achieved their goals. During customer interviews I also started asking his current clients for video testimonials and recorded them on the spot—this was later edited into a testimonial video, published on YouTube, and placed on the front page of his website.
After we refined Kevin's service offering—a series of flexible tiers that corresponded to time commitment and distance or pace goals—we shortlisted the places his brand should be visible. I helped develop his business plan and secure his business name, created a stationary package, photographed him and his racers, and then set up a Facebook business page. Google Apps became his hub for client management with calendars to manage his training schedules. My goal was to get him the maximum value-per-dollar out of this startup phase and it translated into community management and lead generation—which in this case meant 1-2 sentence intros, in-person at local events. Kevin's brand became a new way of thinking and talking about his business; sharing health and nutrition advice, posting shout-outs and cheers via social media, and updating the community on weather conditions and local routes. In a way it was doing what he had been doing for years but in focussed, measurable bursts of information to a highly-engaged audience.
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Year-over-year, Kevin increased his profits by almost 50%, signing over two-dozen new long-term athletes while retaining his current customer base. His second priority has been content and in 2014 he'll be writing about his experience, runners, and routines for best-practice. Pretty inspiring for a man who continues to medal in his age group for the majority of races he enters.
Business Advisor, Designer, Photographer