Category Archives: Industry

Have you ever heard someone say “yes, Fundraising time!”? If you have you would be one of the few because typically nobody wants anything to do with fundraising. It makes us uncomfortable and many times isn’t worth the hassle when all is said and done. So let’s talk about 4 that are worth it and 3 that probably are not.

Worth it:

  • Car Wash –  yes a good ol’ fashion car wash on a hot day can be a great way to make money if you have access to a good spot and a couple of outgoing teammates willing to flag down cars passing by. It’s also good because the “safety in numbers” feel you get by not being the only one there trying to ask for money

  • ESPN The Magazine –  ESPN has a great fundraising program that allows the kids to sell subscriptions to their magazines online and the best part is that the team keeps $30 out of the $40 per subscription .  Most players can find at least 1 or 2 family members or friends willing to get a one year magazine subscription for charity and if you have 10 players that’s an easy $300-$450 in your team’s pocket to pay for expenses like uniforms or lodging etc.

sublimated basketball uniforms

  • Parent Jerseys – This one is the biggest no brainer of the bunch. Nearly all parents and many grandparents would love the chance to sport their kids jersey in the stands to let their boy/girl know how proud they are of them. Allen Sportswear is one company that always offers to make parent jerseys at a discount so leagues can sell them for fundraising. You can get a mock up of the parent jersey and email it out to the parents so they can see it and get excited or your league can have one made and display it during registration so the parents can reserve one on the spot.   Either way works great and it’s an easy way for the league to earn thousands in fundraising before the season even starts.

  • Donut Deliveries – Who doesn’t like Donuts? Getting neighbors and family to buy a dozen donuts for $15 and then getting Krispy Kreme donuts in the morning is easy and a sure fire winner. Just put a post on Facebook and another app like NextDoor and post that you’re delivering Donuts for $15 a dozen and before you know it you will be up $500-$1000! It’s amazing what a few determined moms can do in one day… On a side not I’d like to thank the amazing volunteers at iprevail and foster friends of Oviedo for  stealing their idea. 

 

Not worth it:

  • Cookies – Telling a kid to go out and get cookie orders “yuck”.. Nobody is excited for that, the kids feel terrible and the parents end up having to buy all the cookies because nobody else wants them. Then the parents get bitter at your league for forcing them to buy expensive, crappy tasting cookies and start thinking about putting their kids in a different league next year. No thanks.

  • Coupon Books – Another item nobody wants to buy, $10 to save 10% at some sandwich joint nobody goes to is hardly appealing.  Every time my kids bring me a stack of those things I feel depressed knowing I’d have to pay for them all and I’d never use those stupid things once. I actually did take my kid out of a football league for making me buy 5 of them. I was so angry I signed him up for a different league the next year.  So if you’re looking to lose a bunch of players just force them to sell useless coupon cards! Yeah!

  • Sponsorship runs –  I’m gonna run 20 laps at who cares field so please give me money for every lap.  It’s takes people all of 1 second to know they are being duped and get annoyed. Then the kid pleads “please help me, I have to earn $50 by next week”. You look into those sweet eyes and vow to knock the daylights out of whatever adult has put you in this incredibly awkward situation. If it’s your kid you also vow to never sign them up for that league again for as long as you live. Great, you just lost more athletes, congratulations!

 

The need for fundraisers is prevalent and real but how you go about it can make or break your team/league. So be smart, don’t put the kids and parents in awkward situations; instead do a fundraising activity that will bring your athletes, coaches and families closer together for a stronger foundation.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and one of the founders of iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on consistent and sustainable support for foster homes, homeless assistance and natural disaster survivors.

Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage these days. Most towns have multiple leagues so directors are competing for the best athletes against another league just a few miles down the road and the uniforms your league wears go a long way in ensuring you end up on top. However, not everyone can afford big brands like Nike for their uniforms and with the easy access to internet, there has been a lot of cheaper sources for your organization’s uniform and equipment needs, and if you’re lucky you will find one at par or even better than big brand quality. Should you rely on luck? Picking the right uniform and the right company to provide them should be a huge priority for any league.

I will start a 7 part series to go over the most common shortcuts and pitfalls of uniform buying.

PART 1: “INTEGRATED PANTS”

Obviously there are a lot of uniform questions we can go over but I’d like to focus on integrated pants today. It seems all the rage lately has been for custom integrated youth pants. Leagues want the bottoms to match the crazy tops and for good reason, it looks really cool.

Are custom Integrated pants a good idea for your league?

 

Offshore companies like Pakistan, Philippines and Mexico have recently started making cheaper sublimated integrated pants and it’s caught on like wildfire but is it a good idea?  Before you jump headfirst into integrated pants and custom top for $59.99 you have to ask yourself why it’s so ridiculously cheap.  The danger zone in all these uniforms is that the integrated pants are not equipped with approved pads so if one on your boys gets a compound fracture in a game and they open them up what they will find is a double layer of cheap foam in the sewn pocket. I made a decision a few years back not to sell anything like this but instead sew the pockets in the hip and butt so you don’t need a girdle.  What this allows the league to do is put approved padding in the thighs, knees, buttocks and hips and avoid a potential massive lawsuit.

(Extra ribbing on the thighs and very stiff for maximum protection)

(These are approved pads for youth football)

 

(vs unapproved overseas foam pads)

 

( It’s clear to see that these are just two piece of foam glued together with a little plastic to hold the shape)

 (Ridiculously bad quality and dangerous)

( These are actual pads pulled from overseas integrated pants.  They are cheap, flimsy and glued together to make them appear like the approved pads…. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen)

Is it worth it?  I guess that’s the million dollar question. Since these overseas companies have no oversight or regulations they have cut corners to a very dangerous level. Blocks of cheap foam is not an approved pad and it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens. Custom integrated pants really became popular just a few years ago so most people, leagues and officials have yet to realize how dangerous these foam pads are for the kids. So I guess the answer is if potentially ruining a kids career before it starts or even losing your home to save a few dollars on these cheap pants is worth it to you then go for it. With all the added safety rules that the football industry is coming up with to protect our kids, I would think that it should be a huge priority for leagues to ensure they are wearing the proper safety equipment.

 

If you are a parent of one of the players I would demand to have the league open up a pair of game pants and inspect the padding yourself. It’s dangerous and could potentially ruin your kid’s life.  It’s time to put a stop to this new dangerous trend and protect the kids from potentially lifelong injuries..

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and one of the founders of iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on consistent and sustainable support for foster homes, homeless assistance and natural disaster survivors.

 

why-uniforms-matter-1

 

 

When it comes to sports teams nearly every league or coach is faced with the dilemma of looking great or sticking to a set budget. Sometimes you can do both but usually one or the other has to give a little (or a lot) depending on budget. Usually the person in charge will choose to skimp out on uniforms because as long as everyone looks the same what’s the difference anyway right? Wrong.

Multiple studies have shown that what uniform you wear and how you look impacts your mental state and can even impact the game.  Here are a few examples of why

 

Your Uniforms Impact The Other Team – When a team shows up looking good it has a psychological impact on the team they are playing. The other team assumes you must be good based off of your looks and will come out playing less confident. On the other hand, when your opponent sees you wearing something that looks like it was bought at Walmart and screen printed they automatically assume your team is a bunch of scrubs and they come out swinging, fully expecting to win and that gives them the psychological edge.why-uniforms-matter-2

 

Your Uniforms Impact Your Own Players – Research has shown that when a player is dressed in what they feel is a superior uniform they not only have more confidence but actually believe they can lift more and run faster. How does this translate to wins?  Belief is a power tool for a coach and will give the players the confidence they need to pull off close games in the end. The players are more likely to be aggressive and less likely to get down if you start losing. All these variables factor into more wins by your confident players.

 

Your Uniforms Impact Future Teams – Getting the best players each year is a challenge for any coach. Not only do your uniforms impact your recruiting but it also impacts your retention rate. Players look around and see what everyone else is wearing, if they are always on the team that looks like garbage they will soon find a team that doesn’t. Unfortunately for that team, the player will usually find their new team by playing against them and taking a mental note of how great and confident that teams looks on the field. So you will end up losing your best player to a rival which really sucks.

why-uniforms-matter-3

Uniforms are only one factor in a successful team but they are a much bigger factor than most people believe. “Dress like it, play like it” is more than a tagline, it’s a way of life and a key to your future success.




 

 

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan

 

 

Byron-Scott1

Lets face it, when it comes to leadership we have all failed. In fact, without failure it is impossible to become a good leader. Failure is the greatest teacher and if you are humble that teacher will make you a good leader one day.  This leads me to Byron Scott, the now ex-coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. I have watched this team since I was a kid and I’ve never seen anything like the train wreck the past two years has brought to the Lakers team. The dysfunction on and off the floor was something you wouldn’t even believe in a movie, whether it was Russell taking secret videos of his teammates, or the team getting blown out by 40 it was hard not to watch this incredible train wreck. Coach Scott was responsible for this wreck just as much as Captain Edward John Smith was responsible for sinking the Titanic. The team was not very good and the players were too green but what this team suffered from the most was lack of leadership. There are three key areas he failed in that any leader can learn from.

D Angelo Russell

Lack of Humility – This may go against conventional wisdom because most of our great athletes tend to not have a shred of humility. As Kobe Bryant once said, “There may not be an I in team but there is in win”. This may work as a player but as a leader the biggest trait you must have is the humility to see your faults and change. Coach Scott liked to call others who disagreed with him stupid, he publicly chastised his players and blamed every loss on his team. It’s no wonder he had issues communicating with his players. Because he thought he was better than everyone else nobody stepped up to help him.  The players growth was stifled and he never developed a young leader to take over the reigns. In short, Scott coached with the same arrogance he played with. When I think of another athlete that never learned humility and has failed in the sport he loves so much Michael Jordan comes to mind. He has to be one of the the worst executives of all time and there is no reason for him to have that distinction other than his belief that he is better than everybody else.

 

No system – Coach Scott failed to set up a system within the organization that everyone would follow, a brand bible so to speak. When running an organization, whether sports or corporation, the first thing you must do is set in stone your core principles, what you’re trying to accomplish and how you’re going to get there. The past three years the Lakers have had no direction in what kind of free agent to pick or what kind of player to draft. Because they have no system, they don’t know how the pieces are supposed to fit together. People talk about how LaMarcus Aldridge walked away from his first choice Lakers because of analytic’s, but that really had nothing to do with it. When he showed up to he was blown away that the Lakers had no idea what they were looking for, how they were going to to play and how they planned on getting there. They tried to distract him by bringing in advertising firms and letting Kobe tell stories about his glory days.  Not only was this stupid but it let him know this organization was a hot mess and led to him practically running out the door. Every great coach has a system and a way of doing things in which he’s able to plug the right kind of player into, the Spurs are the best example of this in the NBA but other great examples are Coach K at Duke and Jim Boeheim at Syracuse.  All these coaches do an amazing job of not just signing good players, but good players that fit their system. A corporation is no different, look at the most successful companies and now think about their employees. Everyone knows what an Apple worker looks and talks like at their Genius Bar. You can walk into any Chick-Fil-A in America and you know you’re going to get a serving, respectful worker willing to go the extra mile for you. These companies hire the people that fit their DNA and that’s why they are great.

seahawks

No Love – Okay, I’m not saying he should be in love with his players or team, but I am saying he needs to show the love. Other than Kobe he rarely, if ever lifted his players up. When they did good he would point out the one bad thing they did. When they did bad, he would belittle them and many times bench them for extended periods of time.  Nothing was good enough for him and nobody was deserving. Take in contrast a coach like Pete Carroll, who has one of the toughest and hardest playing teams in the NFL.  He is practically a cheerleader on the sidelines, gives the credit for every victory to his players and gushes about all the positives of this players every time he’s in front of the camera. He may be on the extreme end of things but he is a great example of the power of loving up on your players and team. It’s important to lift your people up personally and publicly. They will work harder for you and you will see them in a better light as well, sounds like a win win to me.

 

Coach Scott will probably never coach again but he can still be successful in his life if he takes the lessons he learned and applies them to his life going forward. We can all learn from this, see our failures for what they are and learn to be better people, leaders and difference makers in this world.

 

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan

 

Will Jesus Make Me Rich?

America has long been the land of opportunity and for many years it was also considered a Christian Nation. I grew up like many believing the reason America was the richest, most powerful nation in the world was because we were a Christian Nation. Now that we are no longer a Christian Nation is it a coincidence we are also collapsing like a stack of cards? The messages in the bible can be very confusing so I’d like to break down a few misconceptions many people have in today’s day and age.

In the bible there are two covenants, the old and the new.. It doesn’t get much simpler then that but it has created a lot of confusion.  For example:

Old Testament says in Psalm 112

1Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
2Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.

 

Hmm, sounds like God blesses those who please him with money to me; but wait!

 

The New Testament says in Matthew 19

21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

His Disciples were astonished because the Old Testament taught that God blessed the righteous with wealth.

So which one is right?

Well, they both are right. You may be asking how two opposite ideologies could be right but it’s really quite simple. Jesus is not Santa God, running around throwing gifts on those who are nice and give coal to those who are naughty. He’s also not the “Ticket to a wealthy life” as many multi level marketing companies like to teach.

The best way to explain how they both are right is to tell you how being a Christian has affected my life and business. I am by no means close to being a rich man in American standards but I have a beautiful wife and three amazing kids along with a business and a nice place to live in. My needs are taken cared of and my relationships are fulfilling. Wealth to God is more than money, true wealth to God is a life filled with joy and a heart refined by fire. That doesn’t mean a Christian won’t get wealthy, but if he or she does it will be a byproduct of living a good life and being the best they can be at what they do. I consider myself wealthy in all the areas that matter except for monetarily.  At the same time, when a person is bankrupt in their relationships and has a heart that’s never been tested because they run from their problems, it’s nearly impossible for them to ever attain true happiness, which is true wealth. They have more money than they can handle and think they can literally buy their way out of every situation. They forget about God, grow callous in their hearts and in the end have bankrupt souls.

So, will Jesus make you rich? Yes, but not in the way most people think of it. When you live your life as a Christian business owner and not as an owner that happens to be Christian the by-product of your beliefs will produce a business that has integrity, compassion and a never ending need to be the best at what you do. Profit is the inevitable result of a healthy business, and hopefully by the time God blesses us with that, we are ready to be used as good stewards of God’s riches.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan

If you aim at nothing you will hit it everytime- Zig ZiglarThere is probably nothing that more graphically illustrates the importance of focusing on your goals than being in combat. Yet the same principles apply in any leadership setting. Having been in the US Navy for 19 years, I have had my fair share of military leadership and learned the discipline it takes to stay focused and help others around me do the same. In those years, I have excelled (mostly) and rose pretty fast through the ranks, despite some set backs in the early years, and have landed at the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.

There are many factors to successfully leading in the military that also applies to leading your business, your sports team, even your family to success. But there is one lesson that is most commonly overlooked yet most critical to creating a road map to success- and that is to establish and disseminate your Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles. Before you jump into a series of tasks and tactics and find yourself wondering why you are somehow missing the mark, draw that mark!

1. Mission Statement:
Your mission statement should be clear and concise! This statement describes what your organization or department is about. Start by asking yourself these questions: “What are you aiming for?” “What is your overall objective that will guide the actions of your organization?” “What is it that you desire to achieve and how will you achieve it?” As you work on refining your answers, don’t confuse it with short-term strategies or specific goals. When writing a mission statement think broad scale- 10,000 ft view from here! Think about including these 3 key elements:
1. Key Market. Your WHO. Your target audience, primary stakeholders, or customers.
2. Contribution. Your WHAT. What product or service are you providing to those customers?
3. Distinction Your WHY or your USP. More commonly referred to as your Unique Selling Proposition, it answers the question “What makes you unique?” or “Why would a customer choose you over a competitor?”

One example of a good Mission Statement is:“To provide the fast food customer food prepared in the same high-quality manner world-wide that is tasty, reasonably-priced & delivered consistently in a low-key décor and friendly atmosphere.” I stole that one from McDonald’s! Your individual Mission Statement, whether you’re writing it for your overall organization, or just for a smaller department, may or may not include all the elements above. The Mission Statement for the US Navy Chief Petty Officer is: “Provide leadership to the Enlisted Force and advice to Navy leadership to create combat-ready Naval Forces.” You’ll notice no distinction statement, primarily because there’s nobody else that does what we do – no competition!

2. Vision:
Your vision should describe who, or what, you intend to be. Again, use as few words as possible, yet succinct, broad-term, but not too generic. Although the vision statement for the US Navy Chiefs is a little longer than some, it is concise enough and careful consideration was given to use necessary language to drive the point home to its leaders:
“A senior enlisted force that serves first and foremost as Deck-plate Leaders committed to developing Sailors and enforcing standards; remains responsive, aligned and well-connected to both Leadership and Sailors; and conducts itself in a consistently professional, ethical and traditional manner.”

3. Guiding Principles:
Although some organizations may use Values over Guiding Principles, the context is basically the same. There is a little more specific direction here for how you expect those in your organization to act. They are a set of shared beliefs that drive the priorities, behaviors, and perception, thus creating the organizational culture. I’ll share a good example from the Coca-Cola company that helps drive the point:

  • Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
  • Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
  • Integrity: Be real
  • Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
  • Passion: Committed in heart and mind
  • Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
  • Quality: What we do, we do well

Your first challenge of being a BOSS is defining what your Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles are. What are the things that have driven your success and what can you imitate from previous leaders that you have deemed successful? You can start there, but these should be extracted from deep within your soul – and they also have to align with the larger organizational statements. Whether you are a supervisor on a factory floor that makes widgets, a mid-level manager, or CEO, you need to develop these statements and values. If you can arrive to work on your first day with these statements already in place, you’ll be ahead of the power curve. If you’re already in a leadership position, it’s never too late to do a round-turn and get these on paper. Spend some time on them. And most importantly, you need to CLEARLY communicate these to your subordinates in order to provide consistent direction and expectations. It may not be a bad idea to share your MVS to the person you report to. Again, maintaining that alignment up and down the organizational chain is fundamental to your success. It will also show your BOSS that you have a true leadership prowess, and that’s NEVER a bad thing!

By: Brandon Keener is a Senior Chief Petty Officer at the United States Navy, a leadership position where he manages people, programs and policies. Brandon and his wife have also launched a couple of successful home based businesses based in San Diego, CA.

Sales atmosphere is a tricky thing. In order for your team to be productive you need the right combination of pressure vs fun, fear vs safety, self motivation vs teamwork. Balancing the atmosphere can be a full time job, but if you pay attention every day you can stay on top of it before it gets lopsided and toxic.

Pressure vs Fun – Too much pressure creates “The Boiler Room”, too much fun creates an early 90’s dot com company. Both are bad for business and unsustainable so it’s important to find the happy medium. I have to look, listen, and feel the tempo of what’s happening on the floor. If the  atmosphere gets too tense I’ll go out and bring up some random sports news that get people to stop thinking about their problems and allows them to relax for a few minutes while discussing things like “Is Richard Sherman really a thug or not.” If the atmosphere gets too lax and everyone is having fun but practically nothing is being accomplished, then I need to go out and redirect everyone’s attention to the numbers. This usually sounds like a SONA (State of the nation address) but it jolts people out of dreamland and focuses them back on winning. Usually I will accompany this by finding additional cold call leads for each of the reps and adding it to their call list. If they can’t find any work to do, I will find it for them and once they know this they usually figure out how to stay productive.

Fear vs Safety – Personally I like my office to feel like a family atmosphere but that can backfire at times. Managers will tend to either make their employees feel too safe or too fearful and I’m definitely on the safe side. This can be good and bad; good because people like coming to work and enjoy the atmosphere which in turn creates camaraderie and loyalty, and bad because they can tend to get lazy, not hit their sales numbers and feel like it’s okay because their job is safe. To stop this from happening, it’s important to have regular meetings with your reps to go over their numbers along with plans to get them moving if they are behind. If for some reason their numbers stay down you need to nip it in the bud quickly by putting them on probation. Don’t let bad habits sink in or you will end up losing a good employee in the end.

Self motivation vs Teamwork – Every sales rep needs to be self motivated (this is a must). At the same time if you want to have a great team, the reps need to have some selflessness and be able to help the team. A good sales rep many times will hit their number a week or two before the end of the month and this is great but it also makes them tempted to sandbag deals to get the next month started off hot. I put individual numbers up on the board but I stress what the team goal is often to try and prevent this. In order to hit your team goals each month all the reps need to put that extra effort into helping the team and not just worry about themselves. A sure sign you have a sandbagger is that he/she always has a slow last week of the month followed by a bunch of sales turned in the first couple of days of the next month. This is a person you need to talk to about being a team player before it becomes a problem. You want every rep giving 100% each month, when they don’t, other reps see this and it becomes a cancer that has to be cut out.

Atmosphere is not hard to regulate as long as you stay on top of it each day. If you as the manager let this go too long, you will suffer one way or another, which usually means losing sales reps and costing you money to hire and re-train. To effectively run a company and keep your bottom line, it is important to avoid unnecessary expense and turnover. Take these tips to the bank and enjoy a prosperous year.

 

Successful Business Team

Successful Business Team

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

7 Good Excuses To Spend Your Company Money

7 Good Excuses To Spend Your Company Money

In the world of small business where we don’t have the luxury of multi million dollar operating expense budgets, we have learned to pay close attention to where every dollar goes, what are the “need to have’s” versus  the “nice to have’s”. Because of this chronic cost consciousness, what owners and managers often miss is that there are a few expenses that not only justify their existence in their annual P&Ls but generate an intangible return on investment that impacts all business functions.

I am talking about having fun! Think about extraordinary team building activities that will blow your employees away. There is no faster way to build camaraderie and teach real life lessons of success, failure, humility, teamwork, perseverance, focus, planning and strategy than actually engaging in activities that require them. So here are a few of my favorites:

1. Take them to a gun range – Say what!? Yes that’s right, a gun range. Obviously if you employ people that, eehemm, wouldn’t be allowed in a gun range then this would not work.  Assuming you have a team with no criminal record or other issues, this is a great team building activity. Many people love going to the range on their own, so this is a good chance to take them to the range and let them show off. Many times there is a person that always wanted to go but never had anyone to go with so they never did (they generally will be the most excited). I recommend having competitions and prizes for “best shooting”, “rookie of the year” (for the newbies) and “most improved” for the guy or gal that is horrible at the beginning but gets better. Your team will love this out of the box activity and create great memories.

2. Sailing – Sailing is a great way to build teamwork. If you live anywhere near the water, taking your team on a sailboat and learning how to catch the wind and take off can be exhilarating.  If you have a few people that actually know how to sail you may want to consider renting Hobie cats, dividing your team up and having a race.  It’s pretty simple, just assign a Captain for each boat (usually the guy that knows how to sail), let them pick their teams and off you go. The winning team gets free lunch and beer  after the race paid for by the losing team or teams!

3. Mud Run – Mud runs are one of the most popular races today. They are fun, dirty and create great memories. The best part about it is that the whole team gets motivated to work out during the weeks leading up to the race, which is never a bad thing.  With the way insurance rates are going through the roof, keeping a fit and healthy team is always a bonus. Again, it is always a good idea to hook the winner up with something afterwards, even if it’s just a beer.

4. Paintball – The first time I took my team paint balling, I was worried some of the ladies would not take to kindly to being shot at.  Boy was I wrong! Not only did everyone love going to war with each other for bragging rights, but the most fanatical competitors where the ladies!   They ate it up and wanted more when we were done. Since then I try to have at least one or two paint ball outings a year and they have never failed me yet.

5. Go Skiing – Every company has leaders and this is a “leader” activity. Even Jesus had his special 3 apart from the 12 and so should you.  Money permitting, I like to take my leaders skiing because it’s the best way to show them they mean a lot to me. If you rely on people to make your business go, then you will have to do more than give them a bonus twice a year to keep them loyal. The key to keeping good employees is doing things for  your people they wouldn’t normally do for themselves. 

6. Four wheeling – There are many places that do guided ATV tours with either go cart style vehicles with roll cages or 4 wheeling ATV’s.  This is another one of those activities that’s a lot of fun but is not something many people would ever do on their own. Nothing bonds a team faster than getting dirty and muddy together!

7. Beach Rental – Renting a house on the beach will help your stressed out team unwind and relax. Personally when I do this I tell them to go ahead and bring their significant other but unless they are married they have to sleep in separate rooms. If I’m paying I make the rules! I’ve never had a problem with this and it keeps things professional even while relaxing on the beach and letting life’s worries pass by you

I have never felt like spending on fun, coupled with some strategic planning or plain old bonding was a waste of money. What usually happens is everyone goes back motivated, more inclined to go out of their way and help another team member even if they do not have to, or just more pumped up to work and be part of a winning team. If you stay consistent and learn to practice this wisely, you will see your bottom line grow slowly but surely. Work hard and play hard, it will never get old.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Author’s Note: Watch out for a follow up article in the next few weeks about Travel and Entertainment Tips and Secrets that Do Not Break the Bank.

Owning a business or leading a team can be one of the most challenging things you can do, but it can be fun and rewarding if done right. I always say I’d take the worst day in my life as a business owner than the best day I had working for someone else, and I say this because for the most part (since I got to choose the industry I want to be in-sportswear), going to work has always felt like a lot of fun, instead of a tedious obligation.

It is easy to take for granted that my team members may not feel all the excitement and vision I have for the company. One of the biggest yet seldom addressed pitfalls of a small business is the psyche of the team members and how they feel about you, the company and the brand. I have learned over the years that pre-maintenance is a lot easier than damage control so in order to keep my office up and running on all cylinders there are 7 things I like to do:

1. Have a plan and write it – Sounds so simple but one of the biggest failures of small business owners is that you have dreams and ambition but it doesn’t make it on paper. This leads to constant changes, instability and employees losing trust that you’re the right person to lead them. Nobody wants to be lead by someone who changes their mind about the direction of the company on a whim (I’ve learned this the hard way). You may have a ton of brilliant ideas and in time you will get to them but remember you must first “plan your work and work your plan”.

2. Communication – Nobody will tell you that they like meetings but it’s vitally important that you have at least one scheduled each week to talk about where the company is at, what direction the company is headed and at least one personal victory story from the week before.  Personally, I like to start my meetings by casually talking about the weekend events and really try to get the team involved. When you are meeting with 12 and under this shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish; if the group is larger you may have to be a little creative. Next we go over each team members highs and lows of the previous week so we can learn from each other and finally we cap it off with this weeks expectations; it’s simple and to the point.

3. Food – Everyone loves food and there’s no quicker way to get a group moving and motivated than bringing in something delicious for them to eat before your meetings or during the week when you feel the momentum has shifted away from what you want. Every once in a while I’ll go out and buy each person the candy of their choice or just pick up a big bag of assorted candy and put it in a bowl… Be careful of candy coma (yes, this has happened to the office before). Also, never underestimate the power of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.

4. Games, games, and more games – I own a sportswear company so games come easy. We have office brackets for the NFL and NBA playoffs, March Madness and pretty much anything else that comes up. We also play in an inner office fantasy football league which creates some very fun and colorful talks each week. Participating in inner office games like these will bond your team members and create a sense of belonging and loyalty.

5. Have a plan for each employee – Everyone wants to achieve and succeed at what they do. Your job is to map out a career path for each person working for you and let them know about it. When an employee knows you have a plan for them, it is easier to get through the hard times when they come (which they will, they always do). The plan also motivates them to work harder to achieve the next step in their careers. As a small business you may not have a lot of opportunity at the moment but you can plan to grow and when you grow, the new positions that become available should be filled by current team members if at all possible. This will give the next guy who’s working his way up some hope for his future as well and boost company morale.

6. Plan trips – Each year I try to take a company vacation with the team. This may sound expensive and unnecessary and at times it is, but if you can budget it in, your team will love you for it and make your company a place everyone wants to work at. We usually make our annual business planning session an excuse to hit the slopes or spend a weekend at the beach. When budget does not permit, be creative! Paintball nights or something that everyone loves to do can go a long way.The benefits  far outweigh the costs and create memories that will stay with you forever.

7. Get to know them – In America employers have a phobia about actually getting to know the people who work for them.  I find this to be one of the dumbest things American businesses have adopted. Knowing about your team members’ family and kids, or other loved ones and actually asking about them (God forbid) is a great way to help them achieve their goals and let them know you care. For some reason we have been raised up to believe the boss has to be cracking the whip and glaring through their office window at their employees to be effective, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A great leader will know how to balance being personal and objective and when to be what.

Boosting Employee MoraleShow you care and your team will also care, that’s a win-win if I ever heard one. Morale is one of the most important factors of growth that a leader has to pay attention to in a small business. If your employees give up, your business will soon follow. I have had my share of letting it slip every now and then but it is always good to be reminded that it can turned around if we put the above tips into practice.

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Marcus Luttrell Quote

Storm inside us