Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you will have heard about the fantastic achievements of Leicester City Football Club in the English Premier League. For those who are unaware, Leicester were one of the favourites to be relegated from the premier league, never mind win the league and at 5000/1 odds some people had even more to celebrate.
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about Leicester’s success on a blog that’s predominantly for creatives, business and brides-to-be, well the answer is their achievements this year can be applied to every creative business in the UK. Whether or not you’re a football fan, there is certainly something we can all gain from this moment in sporting history.
Lay your foundations and do the basics right
Whilst many football fans see Leicester winning the premier league as a fluke and a one off achievement, they were certainly poised for a good season. Just like a creative business, a football club is a business, ok so our circumstances may look slightly different, the amount of income we earn, the amount of money we spend on the business and the risks we can take are much less than a premier league football club & business. So how did Leicester do anything different on and off the pitch that factored into their premier league title and how can we apply those business decisions into a creative business?
- They set out a clear priority to stay in the premier league. To achieve this they knew they had to be conscious about their spending and ensure the football and skills they were implementing on the field covered the basics. As a creative business it’s essential that the basics are covered, you need the basic skill set, a start up sum to get you off the ground and a good idea of your clients and audience.
- How much time and energy did Leicester City FC put in, whilst we will never know the exact details, I’m sure we can all assume it was a heck of a lot. There’s a strong reason to suggest they probably put more time and energy into their football than the usual suspects at the top of the premier league. When you become established in your field, it’s very easy to become complacent and assume the work & results will come to you. As a creative, you should never stop learning, developing and competing with your competitors, even if you can’t dedicate as much time as others, the time you do dedicate needs to be resourceful.
- Leicester had one measure of success and that was to gain enough points to stay in the premier league, it was evident quite early on that they would achieve this success, but they always had that measure in place until the day it came about. Once they achieved that priority, they focused on continuing to do everything they had been doing, ensuring the foundations were kept in place. Setting yourself business goals is a great way to succeed in business, rather than compare your business to others around you, compare your business to your achievements and goals.
Understand your strengths
Leicester were very open about their strengths, after all it’s on the football pitch for all to see. One thing they did right was concentrate on their own strengths and game plan and didn't compare them to teams around them. Rather than focusing on everything they were inadequate in (Big name players, huge stadiums, large finical backing etc) they focused on their own game. It’s the same with your creative business, you need to understand your own strengths and what you can bring to the table instead of what everyone else is already doing. This isn't an overnight task, it may take time but to get the ball rolling, consider these points in relation to your strengths:
- What Value does your business offer?
- What separates you from others in your industry?
- Why will people be intrigued to follow you, purchase your products and services?
- How will your audience grow and interact with you and your business?
Don’t just answer these questions and never see them again, it’s important you always evaluate your progress and measure your success.
Take Care of your audience
If you’re a Leicester City fan, firstly I’m slightly jealous but more importantly I imagine this must have been the best years for any serious football fan in Leicester. Leicester have always involved their fans with the football club so it was nothing new that they put a percentage of this year's success down to their following. But how did they grow such an amazing following and how did they keep them engaged when teams like Arsenal and others had empty seats during their home games, even though they still had a strong season.
Throughout the years Leicester have built up an authentic relationship with their fans, they connect with their fans and see them as a foundation of the club. Authenticity allows people to connect and be more engaged a whole lot easier, that audience then become a strong fan base that feel like theiy're part of the club. The same thing goes for a creative business, building a business through social media, face to face connections or blogs, you need to involve your followers so they feel part of the family. Interacting with your audiences will keep them coming back for more.
Football fans, much like social media followers can be fickle, they can easily become unengaged and lose interest very quickly. You will always have those loyal supportors/followers but there is also a large majority that won’t stick around if they don't feel a part of that ‘family’. This doesn't mean you have to win the premier league or be the best in your industry to keep them engaged, it’s more the opposite. Even when business is quiet or the football club isn't doing well, aslong as your audience are kept involved and you acknowledge them - it’s very likely they will stick around. With a creative business think about implementing your tips, giving out advice, sharing your success and your credibility and audience size will increase.
Evaluate the situation
Given Leicester's situation, you could have easily forgiven them for getting carried away and loosing sight of those foundations they put in place. Let's be honest, competitors said their success wouldn't last and most people assumed the same. It's easy within any sport or business to fall into the idea that success can only be achieved by certain factors, in Leicester's case, because they didn't have the million pound players or huge stadium then they would be unable to achieve what they achieved. The same applies for business, by focusing on the latest trends, strategies or what people say we should be doing, we fail to do the things that we're currently doing as a successful business. Of course there is always room for improvement and growth within any business and yes, you may look at industry leaders for inspiration but remember to be unique and keep your own strengths and success in sight.