Find Answers to the Top 5 Questions About i9 Sports
At i9 Sports, we understand that you have questions about how our business model might work in your community. Starting your own business is a big undertaking, and it’s important to make sure the company you choose is a good fit. In this post, we’re answering the Top 5 questions about i9 Sports.
1. What is the average ROI, and when do successful franchises see that return?
Profitability is ultimately determined by the way a franchisee runs the business, and your franchise earning potential is dependent on your efforts. i9 Sports provides all of the tools necessary for each franchisee to thrive. Results are largely determined by how aggressively you market, how many sports and venues you offer each season, and the quality of the programs you provide.
Our free franchise report provides a breakdown of revenue figures for franchisees who operate three to four venues within their territory. Additionally, a part of our process will be to connect you directly with owners so that they can share firsthand what their experience has been as owners and answer questions of yours they likely had themselves going into business!
Once you turn in a franchise application, we will help you reach any of the franchisees in our system. We encourage you to speak with several franchisees to get a well-rounded picture.
2. Do you help us find venues? What happens if I can't find a venue?
Steve Cox is a franchisee in Columbus, Ohio, who owns two franchises and has been with i9 Sports for 15 years. He says, “I have never had a situation where I couldn’t find a place. Sometimes it’s a matter of persistence. The i9 training does a really good job of giving you a step-by-step venue acquisition plan. If you just follow this process, it works.
“You need to be willing to look at multiple venue types: city; county; township; school space, including stadiums; church space; and commercial space. The hardest part is the willingness to call on people and get rejected sometimes.”
Your dedicated business coach will help you identify areas that will be ideal for your venues. It’s ultimately up to you to secure the playing locations. We’ve helped franchisees secure hundreds of venues nationwide during our two decades in business, and we provide a toolkit full of strategies to do the same for you.
3. There is too much competition. Does the home office do market research on territories?
In some ways, competition validates the market: If your community is already full of youth leagues, that shows your community is enthusiastic about youth sports and has plenty of potential customers. What we know from experience is that many of the children participating in existing leagues are not having the sports experience they deserve.
Our offerings are different from the competition’s. We play multiple sports – flag football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, and volleyball – more sports for kids to try than in a league that offers one or maybe two sports.
In our leagues, everyone plays. No one sits on the bench for most of the game. Being a contributing part of the team is good for kids and makes the parents happy. Those parents talk to other parents, and word about your leagues gets around. We emphasize teaching skills, sportsmanship, and healthy competition.
Convenience is another huge advantage that sets us apart. We have a one-day practice and play format, which makes it much easier for busy families to participate. Parents can sometimes be overwhelmed by the demand of three-day-a-week sports leagues — especially families that have multiple kids playing on different teams with different schedules. We calm the scheduling chaos by making everything one-day-a-week-at-one-field simple.
4. What does a workweek look like? What is the expectation of Year 1?
While out of season, working from 9 to 5 is a reasonable expectation, but there is also a lot of flexibility. That’s one major perk of being your own boss. There’s a lot of work, but it’s all very rewarding come game day!
The expectation is that this becomes your full-time job. Part-time effort yields part-time results, so if you want to be successful, jump in with both feet. The business coach team is ready and willing to guide you on how to prioritize and accomplish tasks so that time is used wisely.
“One of the things that is really important is that what you’re doing in Year 1 and Year 2 is not what you will be doing in Year 5. At first you do everything. Over time you start delegating. I worked my tail off for the first three years. Now I work maybe 30 hours a week,” Steve says. “Over time you will have a work-life balance you could never have by working for someone else. On the backend, it pays off like you don’t imagine.
“Early in, you are wearing a lot of different hats, so the ability to multitask and do different things outside your comfort zone is important.”
5. We can't find coaches for our leagues already – will the volunteer model work?
Like any business, finding the right team will always be a challenge, but the simplicity of the once-a-week game and practice model is a much smaller ask of a coach than for a league where they’re required to show up multiple times during the week.
We have processes and tools in place to help recruit and train. Execute the right way on this, and a “coaching culture” is built that is extremely rewarding for all involved. Youth sports – not just i9 Sports but all youth sports – are built on the volunteer model. We simply improve the model and make it more effective by providing resources and support to those volunteers.
Our support to coaches includes sample practice plans, rulebooks, videos, and different training modules to help train and prepare your coaches and staff. We also handle communications and logistics. This makes a huge difference for coaches. When volunteering for other leagues, they are often asked to develop their own practice plans, and handle scheduling and communications. i9 Sports coaches get to focus on the part of coaching they love — guiding and supporting kids.
Steve says, “You do have to ask for volunteers a lot, and it can be challenging, especially early on. Once you’re more established and you have returning coaches and returning families, it becomes easier. i9 gives you systems. If you follow those systems diligently, you’ll be successful. As you become more experienced, you can tweak them to your own needs, but if you follow the process and ask, you’ll find the coaches.”