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How To Find A Bowling Sponsor


If you are a bowler seeking financial support for competing in tournaments, then it might be helpful to learn how to find a bowling sponsor. Although it may seem that all you need to do is ask someone or some company to become your financial sponsor, it can be tricky if you do not first develop a plan.

How to find a bowling sponsor best begins by organizing a plan of action before presenting the notion of sponsorship to a target person or groups of people. Just as in business, anyone seeking financial support for a proposed venture would develop a written business plan to present to potential investors. An informal, written business plan should also accompany any request for financial support in bowling ventures and should be completed and ready for presentation before making first contact with prospective investors.

The following ten suggested steps are intended to offer ideas for success in acquiring a "sponsor" or "financial backer" for competitive bowling:

1. Schedule - Initiate a one year schedule of events where you intend to complete. Create a calendar of events you identify as specific tournaments, leagues, or any type of event you wish to enter where prize monies are available and then build your calendar on a spreadsheet or some known computer format so the potential investor(s) may preview the scope of events where his or her money will be applied. Regardless if you are maintaining full or part time employment or if you seek solely to be a competitive bowler focusing all of your efforts each day on getting ready for tournaments, you must build a calendar of events to share with your potential investors. Leagues can be considered part of a sponsorship package and should be included in your schedule of events in the same way as tournaments are scheduled as targeted events. Of course, it is your option to develop your calendar of events in any fashion you wish, it is sometimes wise to invite investors to participate in all opportunities throughout the term of an arrangement where prize monies may be awarded. A sponsor should be considered a partner in your business venture as should be treated with the same respect as a partner in any other business strategy.

2. Cost Per Event - Assign a projected cost per event included in your calendar of events. If one given tournament, for example, is slated as a target event, then research and document the amount of the entry fee to be paid in advance and exactly when the entry fee must be paid to properly register for competition. Determine how much additional monies are needed for event preparation such as the acquisition of new equipment, practice fees, travel expense projections, meals, lodging, tips, and so on. It would be extremely helpful to consult with an accountant who has expertise in advising you about justifiable expenses as business tax deductions. Any projected expense predicted for the given event should be assigned to the event in advance and must be included in the master presentation for a financial sponsorship written plan.

3. Combined Costs - Assign a projected total cost for all events listed in your calendar of events. Determine how much total monies are needed for capitalizing the venture and break down that amount into individual increments on the per event basis. When a potential investor reviews your written plan, it is important that the entire cost of the venture be detailed to expose the per event costs leading the overall projected cost for the entire venture. Itemize per event projected costs, including league play, local events on weekends, events where you must travel and incur expenses accordingly, and any other costs needed in preparation for competition. Outline the amount of monies necessary to cover the costs without excessive cost overrun projections. Keep it real, neat, and tidy. Do not embellish costs but rather strive for accuracy and honest evaluations of anticipated project costs.

4. Prize Monies - Assign a list of prize monies and total prize funds available for earning income from each event on the calendar. It is helpful to show a sample prize fund payout from a similar event so the potential investor can easily see how prize monies are distributed in tournaments, leagues, or any other competitions you schedule where monetary prizes are available to win. Do not expect an investor to know as much about the process as you know. Develop a step-by-step procedure in your business plan taking your investor through a mock event and indicate how the invested funds will be used for competing in the given event, how your performance will determine how much you can potentially earn for a minimum prize and what you can earn for one of the top prizes, including a first place prize. A documented recap of a prize fund payout from a prior event is always good to include in your business plan, particularly if your name appears as a previous winner of a prize. It is important to show a given event flow chart process from the time an event is entered and the entry fee is paid to the time your competition is completed and how you fared in the given competition. Make your prospective sponsor feel a part of the process and treat the investor as a true partner and ally in the venture.

5. Contract - Offer a contract to each investor. The written agreement should encapsulate all scheduled events on your calendar, all monies required to compete in the venture in total and broken down on a per event basis, and how the distribution of prize earnings will flow back to the investor. For example, if you have ten total tournament events on your calendar and each event accumulates an average cost of $500 per event including entry fees, travel expenses, lodging, meals, etc., your projected costs for the combined ten events would be $5000. You can also project an additional $500 to be used throughout the term of the agreement for such things as practice, new equipment or general pro shop expenses, for advanced reservations or entry fees. Also for association or organization membership fees, or for clothing or apparel You will want to list these types of anticipated expenses separately from the per event assigned costs until you arrive at the projected amount of $5500 as the total amount of monies needed to capitalize the venture. Other important features in a sponsorship agreement should include the flow of earning from each event back to the sponsor. If you are considering joint checking business accounts, then make note of plans to do so. It is normally easier for you to merely give a deadline date for the invested funds to be placed in your hands and use your own independent bank account to handle all business transaction relative to the venture with total transparency in all transactions.

6. Distribution of Prize Monies - Make it clear in the contract when and how prize monies will be distributed to sponsors. There should be no doubt as to when and how any investor will receive prize monies earned from scheduled events and how these monies will be distributed between bowler and sponsor or sponsors. Articulate precisely how much of each dollar earned in competition by you, the bowler, will be forwarded to each sponsor/investor. Nothing alienates investors from continuation of sponsorship after the term of a contract expires as poor accountability by the bowler and the inability to execute all conditions of the contract. Integrity is of paramount importance. Never mislead anyone as to when, how, why, or what is transpiring during the term of an agreement. You must plan for long range success, not merely short term success. Keeping investors interested in your venture begins with an enthusiastic approach to presenting the notion of sponsorship at the onset, then a presentation of a complete business plan outlining how the venture will work, and finally how the execution of the plan as stated in the agreement will be completed.

7. Recap of Events - Make sure you recap the event and mail, email, or fax a copy of the final results or a copy of ongoing results to each investor as you move through the contract term. Communication of results, poor or good, is key to investor retention. Treat even the smallest investor as part of your bowling family. Communicate with the investors precisely at the time and in the manner you indicate in the agreement. No need to over-communicate useless information but communicating necessary information and event details is essential.

8. Contract Shares - Include contract shareholder provisions in the umbrella of your contract agreement. Allow any investor to purchase one or more shares, including all the shares if desired, by a specific investment calendar date. In the example of the $5500 venture above, you might wish to sell shares in increments of $100, with 55 available shares tendered. Or you may wish to offer shares of $500 per share with 11 shares in total available for purchase. Individual shareholder agreements must be available so all you need to do is to fill in names, addresses, contact information and numbers of shares each shareholder owns until all the shares are sold and individual shareholder agreements are finalized. It helps to have final shareholder agreements notarized but it is not necessary. The strategy most bowlers experienced in sponsorship arrangements prefer is to have one investor only. Naturally and as you might expect, one sponsorship agreement is easier to administer than several agreements but the challenges are that if the sponsor elects to not renew or re-enter into a new agreement after the present agreement expires, you are left with no financial backing whatsoever. When you sell shares, it is easier to retain investors for longer periods of time.

9. Accountant Services - It is helpful to use the services of an accountant to help organize a business plan and execute the terms of agreement as you progress through the term of the agreement. It is also important to keep accurate records of all transactions relevant to the contract, to the investors and for personal tax accounting purposes. Keep all receipts for expenses incurred as you move through the contract period of time and document each expense on a spreadsheet after each event listed on the calendar of events is completed. An accurate record of all money transactions, of all prizes earned during the term of the agreement, and an accurate record of all monies distributed to sponsors during the term of the agreement must be completed. Think with the end in mind. Be ready to have all bookkeeping records ready for submission to an accountant when it comes time to prepare an income tax return. It is helpful to use the services of an accounting professional so every expense incurred or any dollar earned is properly accounted for and sheltered by justifiable expenses. Take zero short cuts when it comes time to having all documentation ready in the event of an IRS audit. Just as you would prepare for an event with practice and having your equipment ready to go, prepare for the business end of the venture.

10. Prepare for Success - Planning for success is the first step in achieving success. Dedicate and commit to developing a written business plan, albeit informal and to the point, and include a biography of your bowling accomplishments spanning as many years time as possible. Include background information about yourself such as your level of education, your work history, references from friends and business people, and also include action photos of yourself during competition accompanying a publicity photo with you wearing business apparel so the effect is purely professional when a prospective investor reviews your written presentation. Closing the deal with an investor begins with selling yourself first. Taking the investor on a journey through your bowling career highlights is not enough. You must convince the investor of the seriousness you are taking your bowling career and how prepared you are to protect your interests through preparation and training as well as the interests of the investor by being prepared from a business standpoint. Separate yourself from your competition on and off the lanes. Be a true professional, dress like a professional, and act like a professional and that effort will help you be successful in any thing you do henceforth. Prepare a list of potential prospects who may be in position to invest in your venture.

Potential investors might be fellow league members, business owners you know in your community, individuals who enjoy being a part of the sporting community, or perhaps someone who has been a known sponsor of bowlers in the past. After you have prepared your written business plan, make several copies so you can offer as many as needed to prospective investors. Arrange of a brief meeting to explain the venture and leave the business plan with the investor with the understanding you will follow up on a specific time and date to make necessary arrangement to finalize terms of agreement. Plan your work and work your plan. Sounds trite but this strategy is proven to be very effective.

We hope these tips help motivate you to plan for success and acquire a bowling sponsor!

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