“Begin at the beginning”—a simple concept, but one that works well for coach Jodi Kandl in her work with the all-star cheer teams at Cheergyms.com, including its special needs team, Sparkle. “Every athlete that walks in the gym learns differently, whether they are on the special needs team or not,” says Jodi Kandl.
A new gym’s tryouts listed in the local newspaper calendar. Facebook ads promoting a new team. A Twitter campaign that targets most of the local cheer community. Coaches wearing shirts emblazoned with gym info at competitions, making sure to be seen by the Level Five athletes. Signs in the median of the road, attracting the attention of athletes on their way to their current gyms. There are also promises: free tuition if you’re good enough—not to mention free uniform, free travel and the assurance you’re going to Worlds. Cash bounties for getting your (talented) friend to sign up from your competitor. Cheerlebrity-style opportunities for sponsorship, exposure or branding.
When in doubt, diversify, diversify, diversify. For CheerGyms.com owner Morton Bergue, all-star cheerleading is just one part of a bigger puzzle, as it comprises one-fifth of overall business. To maximize profitability, Bergue and his team regularly host classes and stunt/jump clinics for novices and school squads, and space is rented out during non-peak hours for everything from birthday parties to Tae Kwon Do classes. The move isn’t just a smart business strategy, but a necessary one.