Help Yourself in 2005
A relatively small investment on your part will bring the force of a whole industry behind your business.
By Liza Horan
I’m going to tell you how $100 can make a difference for you in 2005. First, though, I must note that as I write this, neither the staff of RSI nor the Tennis Industry Association know what I plan to cover here. No one put me up to it.
Now, back to this greenback. These days a crisp bill with Ben’s portrait buys fewer things than it did a decade, a year, and even a month ago. The willingness to spend it is relative to the reward, of course. I won’t think twice about the $100 fee American Airlines requires in order to switch my return flight from the Australian Open. But the extra $100 on my electric bill in July isn’t as easy to face. While the former allows me to spend more time in the magical land Down Under, the latter likely means more to my cat and guests than to myself.
One hundred dollars is very easy to spend these days without much thought. I’d like you to give some thought to it, though: Spend $100 on a one-year membership to the TIA.
I assure you that it’s not about dropping alms into some black hole. The money gets put to use doing good work for the sport. But, perhaps more importantly from your own perspective, you will directly benefit from it. Your business will gain exposure and tools to increase your profits. Need I continue?
Sure, I do: The margins in retail are sliding as inflation is rising, customers have many choices of where to buy, and the internet is choking offline shops.
“If you’re not a member, how can you voice your opinion? It’s like talking politics if you haven’t registered to vote,” says Chris Gaudreau, the owner and president of Racquet Koop in New Haven, Conn., who became a TIA member last summer. “I’m a one-man show here, but I network with a lot of retailers. Whether you own five stores or you’re like me with one, we’re on the same team. Our concerns are the same. We bounce ideas off each other, share opinions, get advice, and trade product with each other.
“I want to be an active participant in this association,” says Gaudreau, one of three retailers who sits on the TIA board. “It’s in my best interest to do it. The research alone is worth it.” Now, there are several levels of membership and accompanying benefits. The $100 “Individual Membership” is the entry-level one that affords links from TIA-related websites and overviews of key research conducted by the TIA. Such reports cover dealer trends, tennis player participation, and the “Cost of Doing Business,” among others. You can find all the details by visiting tennisindustry.org and clicking on “Membership.” Of course, once you see some of the benefits that the “Supporting Membership” guarantees, along with important marketing and promotion efforts, you may be tempted to bump up to the $1,000 level.
These days people are looking for measured risk and returns. So take it slow and easy, join the TIA for a Ben Franklin and get to know the staff — people who spend 100 percent of their time promoting tennis to the masses and trying to boost the tennis economy — and your fellow members. They are the big manufacturers, the small specialty-shop owners, tennis instructors, the media, key association personnel, and many more.
You never know how it could impact your own way of doing business. Now isn’t that worth $100? P.S. — It’s tax-deductible!
“The [membership] money gets put to use doing good work for the sport. But, perhaps more importantly, you will directly benefit from it. Your business will gain exposure and tools to increase your profits.”
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