Things Your (Basketball Training) Business Can Learn From the NBA:

1.  Social Media is important in your marketing mix but not always deemed critical by big business.  This could be an inroad for you.

2.  Social Media In Your Basketball Marketing Mix What metrics we should view in measuring social media efforts.

3.  How they engage.  Go take a peek at the Clippers Facebook page

4.  When to engage on social media.

5.  What topics convert well.

6.  Tech entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t really love Facebook- so choose your own platforms.  Don’t always follow everyone.



A successful basketball business often has more than one person involved in the ownership.  Are you planning on starting / growing a basketball training company or taking on new partners?    Basketball Entrepreneurs have the following business structures to choose from as they start or grow their businesses:

basketball entrepreneur and legal structure1.  Sole proprietor

2.  General Partnership

3.  Limited Liability Partnership

4.  C Corp

5.  S Corp

6.  LLC

7.  Non profit organization

8.  Professional Corporation

9.  Professional LLC

Look over the infographic below to make sure your basketball entrepreneur path and your legal structure match up properly.    Then get advice from a solid accountant and lawyer.  In Texas, I recommend Austin Startup Attorney Natalie Lynch This article is not intended to be legal advice.



My recommendations:

1.  Pick one or two social platforms and develop expertise and traction before hitting them all.  Think about what platforms your audience is on.  Start with them. I like LinkedIn   Next up is Facebook.  Consider establishing Twitter and Pinterest accounts for SEO purposes.  My basketball trainig business audience is spread out.  Dads on, Moms are on facebook and the kids I train are on Twitter and sometimes on Facebook.  For Buzzworthy clients- most are on    Almost 1/3 of my traffic currently comes from

2.  Deliver value and help others.  Be a thought leader, have a take, ask questions, curate other valuable content and share.

3.  Write regularly on your blog and share with your social network.  Think twice a week for your basketball training business.  Occasionally write unique content for your social platform only.

4.  Try an integrated approach.  Remember that your website is your hub and that social media are the spokes which represent your inbound network.  Spend more time building your empire and less time  building Mark Zuckerberg’s.

5.  Basketball businesses can no longer rely on word of mouth.  Your competition is in the conversation.  The conversation is digital.  Get in the conversation.

6.  Get started now.  Here are some free guides to social media marketing:

7.  Take a peek at the infographic below which breaks down which sites serve different basketball training business missions.


social media options for basketball trainers


Infographic by



National Take Your Daughters to Work DayFour years ago I was lucky enough to celebrate National Take Your Daughter To Work Day.  My employer was Greenbuilders who built a wonderful green home.   Ellie was only 4 years old, but behaved wonderfully, learned a lot and I documented it here:

I share this because as basketball coaches and trainers it is important we make time for this. I have been unable to the past few years but look forward to making a big deal out of it this year. It can be easy to forget we are the coaches of our own children. We had a blast and I want to hear about your experience.

The date is April 25th, 2013. Don’t hesitate to move the date, but don’t put it off.  Posting this now so we have plenty of time to plan.


“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.” 

 Martin Luther King Jr. 

1.Basketball Training and Mentoring  Remember Coaches… we are honored and lucky to have the chance to mentor our young people every day.  Fill their emotional tanks.  Listen to your basketball players.  Tell them about similar decisions you faced in life.

2.  Share not only your successes but your struggles and mistakes.  Sharing your mistakes is often the lesson kids cherish most.  Being vulnerable can establish credibility.

3.  Mentoring is giving, but the rewards are amazing.  Be a go-giver.

4.  For profit basketball businesses have a duty to give back.  I work with about 100 families.  I need to not only mentor, but also need to provide mentoring opportunities for some of the CEOs, doctors, attorneys, principals, etc. whose kids I work with.  Connecting suitable mentors to kids is a powerful process.

5.  Remember, authority does not equal leadership.  True leaders are servants to their teams.   They mentor.



Austin Basketball Training and Basketball CampsIn today’s insecure economy many of us have found an outlet for creative growth, extra income, and entrepreneurial spirit.  I often hear this referred to as “the side hustle.”  A place for us to enjoy hustling again.  Some place where our thoughts are valued and candid conversation does not mean a spreadsheet or a meeting where no one asks our opinion.  A place for us to grow mentally and to think: “what if?’

My side hustle began almost three and half years ago as I gave some basketball lessons to kids who wanted to accelerate their game.   Their success integrating our lessons led to a more formalized training program, referrals and more fun than one should be able to have.  Built a website, experimented with SEO, and content writing.   So how did it transition from a few “lessons’ to a full time business that permitted me to leave my cubicle?   So many stepping stones, failures, pivots, and conflicts.  And probably more to come.  Let me share a little about the mindset part:

1.  I realized it wasn’t work.

Every basketball training day was fun.  Looked forward to it.  And… would have done it for free.  Passion.  Unbridled passion.  Ever get the feeling you were born to do something, then you get to the actual grind part and you aren’t so sure?  Funny thing was that I realized I liked the grind part.

2.  People wanted to pay me.

shutterstock_59422417And refer me more people that wanted to pay me.  And book more sessions.  When I announced my rates were $50 per hour for private basketball training… nobody pushed back.  Very few negotiators.  Lots of people have business ideas.  I had checks.  Checks are validation of a business model.   The moral of the story is to spend less time on business plans and more time trying to get checks.  If people won’t write checks then you don’t have a business model to plan around.  Listen to your prospects.  The model is in the listening.  The plan is in what brings in checks.  Especially if you can nail #3.

3.  Alignment of goals.

Basketball Training GoalsI successfully aligned my client’s goals with my business goals… and still profited.  We were talking about the dreams of young basketball players.  While this was side hustle- I was not a hustler.  I did not want to sell – I wanted people to buy… and for both parties to profit.  This was my version of conscious capitalism.  My goal was to help young people work toward their goals with a sense of passion, purpose and power.  I was fully invested in the goals of my clients.  In a world of six sigma, systems, and commoditization, we went a different route.  Growth thru personalization.

4.  I developed a waiting list.

basketball business waiting lineDemand grew.  From a product that successfully delivered value.  Word of mouth and referrals became the overwhelming source of new clients (65% referrals / 25% internet.)  My Saturday morning sessions now had a waiting list.  A waiting list is a powerful validation of your business model.  A business model driven by referrals is even more powerful validation.

5.  The kids got better.

basketball training and resultsWe don’t produce McDonalds’s All Americans or promise college scholarships.  We will work with a kid in a wheelchair if they have the passion required to be in our gym.   But the improvement was significant in both statistical categories and anecdotal evidence.  Not only did the business margins work, but the product/service worked.

6.  Turning away revenue became painful.

basketball business competitorWe sold out 3 out of 4 camps last year (and the fourth did not sell out because of a glitch in scheduling.)  It became obvious that we could accommodate Christmas Break camps, MLK Day, President’s Day, Spring Break and more Summer camps.  The demand was there but my commitment to my full time job did not permit it.   I referred about 60 people to another camp last year.   My customers and leads to a competitor… it was painful.  I realized I was leaving about 25k on the table in revenues.   Forget about the fact that I could only venture to guess how my business would grow if I could instantly respond to prospect phone calls, be focused on my business (not just be in my business), etc.  Exploring new opportunities was not even an option.  Scaling proven business models was impossible.  I had run out of hours in a week.

7.  I accepted that life was and the cubicle

Corporate America was every bit as risky as being an entrepreneur.  Corporate America had become obsessed with the ‘least common denominator.”  Terms like “human capital” and “talent acquistion” had disappeared and group think had become the new standard of leadership.  My family deserved better from me.  And frankly I realized corporate America did not owe me anything.  We all owe ourselves.  I had a feeling I could do a better job looking out for the Corbett family than my boss could.  My boss had his own family to worry about.

8.  A funny thing happened at the supermarket.

My wife and I were shopping when the mom of one of my student/players approached us.  She had never met my wife so I introduced them.  Amy proceeded to tell my wife what an impact I had on her son over the past year.  (Her son came to us as barely making the C team in Middle school but loved the game.)  Amy cried as she told my wife her son now played on the A team at a prominent high school team and the life lessons I had shared with him.   Here we were standing in the middle of a supermarket and a grown woman was crying to my wife about me.  I, too, was tearing up.   My business purported to deliver passion, purpose and power to young basketball players.  Somehow they were delivering it to me.  Business validated.  Side hustle no longer.

9.  The Family

Corbett FamilySorry- none of it was possible without them.  This is a whole different post.  Stay tuned.



Richard Branson Quotes for Basketball EntrepreneursRichard Branson is one of the world’s best known billionaires and is the iconic leader of all things Virgin Brand.   We wondered, what advice might Richard Branson give to basketball entrepreneurs?   Here are some of his quotes we thought apply:


“Nobody else is going to start your business for you. 2013 is the time to put your ideas into action. Now is the time to do.”

“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”

“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules.  You learn by doing and by falling over.”

“My general attitude to life is to enjoy every minute of every day, I never do anything with a feeling of, “Oh God, I’ve got to do this today.”

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”

“So I’ve seen life as one long learning process. And if I see – you know, if I fly on somebody else’s airline and find the experience is not a pleasant one, which it wasn’t in – 21 years ago, then I’d think, well, you know, maybe I can create the kind of airline that I’d like to fly on.”

“My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around. ”


THANKS RICHARD BRANSON!  You are an inspiration to basketball entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs world wide.  I follow Richard as a thought leader on  I recommend you give him a look as well.


promoting your basketball businessSomeone is talking about you.  Your customers.  This conversation is critical to the future of your business and contains keys to success or failure.  Most basketball business owners try to ignore these conversations.

One tool to get back into the conversation and use the info to improve your business and the referral rate of your business is to send out a net promoter score survey.  I have been familiar with this process from my years in corporate America but thought I knew my customers far too intimately to need some “corporate” tool.  But wait- maybe I was just trying to ignore the conversation.

A Harvard study reported that 48% of customers who had bad experiences with a business told at least 10 people.

The Net Promoter score survey is authored by Fred Reichheld.  He wrote the book The Ultimate Question.  The goal of NPS is to gauge the likelihood of a customer referrring your product or services to a a friend.  It can also predict the likelihood of that custom buying from you again.

I want to thank Hubspot for bringing it back to my attention.  They offer a cool E book on surveys and your business here:

Special thanks to for the cool infographic below for visual learners like me.

Ready to send out a net promoter survey for your basketball training business?

Try this free survey software for up to 100 surveys:

We are going to send out one of these but also plan more detailed phone / in -person interviews to really achieve our goal of growth thru personalization.

net promoter score and basketball business


Basketball start-upIf you are just thinking about giving a few basketball lessons for a hundred extra bucks a week- skip this article.  This article is for those considering a basketball business start up that will become their focus of their lives and be their main paycheck and beyond as they help breathe life into the games and dreams of young basketball players.

Serious business requires serious learning.  Start-ups are a whole different style of business thinking.  Stanford professor and entrepreneur Steve Blanks is considered the nation’s foremost expert in how to build a start-up business.  Imagine what it would be like to learn from Steve Blank at your own pace and in your own living room.  Imagine that it was free.

Imagine no more:



SHMEDIUM is not the size of my favorite hipster’s deep v and ironic t-shirt.  

SHMEDIUM represents the small to smallish to medium business growth we will witness across America this year.

It represents all of the small entrepreneurs across America who walked away from corporate America and built/proved business models and are now ready to take it to the next level.  America needs SHMEDIUM because it represents new jobs, hope, and the idea of freedom.    Somewhere around 65% of new jobs thanks to SHMEDIUM  .   The kind of hope that brought pilgrims here in the first place and has entrepreneurs across America up working just hours after the end of Christmas.   Freedom to pick oneself rather than waiting to get picked.  Freedom to use your mind creatively every single day.  Freedom to grow and breathe life into other people.



SHMEDIUM is relevant because we won’t be focused on next quarter’s numbers, surviving the next layoff, or how to get thru a meeting without being noticed.  SHMEDIUM will create more value than Large will create spreadsheets justifying their salaries.  SHMEDIUM  has to focus on personalizing to the customer and actually having a relationship.   Funny though, SHMEDIUM values that relationship because they truly want to.  SHMEDIUM is fun and believes in human talent and solving real problems.  SHMEDIUM solves real problems because they can think strategically, test quickly, act decisively, and communicate personally.

2013 – The Year of SHMEDIUM