One Step Forward – Two Steps Back
I’ve been writing this blog in my head for several months.
The reality is that I haven’t wanted to write it, but that I knew I needed a critical moment in time for all the pieces to fall into place and for the truth of the situation to finally present itself.
In essence it’s two fold – good news and bad news.
First, the three pieces of bad news.
We will not be opening a second location any time in the next two years. Our second round of funding has fallen through because the terms of the agreement were not aligned with the values of LeftFoot to fully leverage our quality niche in the youth soccer market. Essentially, we will not build or lease a new facility until 2017 at the earliest.
Combined with the lack of funding is a complete pivot within the company regarding our staffing, pricing, and operations. We’ve had to make some painful decisions and transition our business model from an “invest and prepare in the future” type process toward a “refined and improved operation” that will emerge profitable and focused. Our staff has been reduced from twelve full time administrators and coaches to five full time employees and several part time coaches.
We’ve overgrown our LeftFoot 4.0 model and don’t have enough space for attendance in Minneapolis come October 15th or February 15th, 2016. With the LeftFoot 4.0 model we only have space for 475 members. We have over 480 participating members right now and must reorganize the Academy to fit within our Minneapolis location in an appropriate fashion. More than 30% of our customers don’t use all of their sessions, but we create the space for those sessions that go unused. This creates a painful relationship on both sides. LeftFoot6 is designed to address this lack of capacity and issues with session allocation.
The good news?
We’re still here. We’ll be open in Minneapolis for the foreseeable future and we’re prepared to realign the company toward our LeftFoot6 model, albeit with a smaller staff that provides appropriate services in the interim.
What this means for you:
We will be…
1) Disconnecting our phones and customer service from Friday, August 28th until September 10th to realign the company processes and systems toward our LeftFoot6 model. This will give us uninterrupted space to complete the turnaround and launch the operations model we need. Don’t worry you will still be able to contact us, just leave a message and we will return an email support ticket to you.
2) A complete online-support ticket (self-help) model of customer service will be implemented to reduce costs, interruptions, and streamline services. Calling Mike to fix everything won’t be an option any longer. Mike is still on the team and needs to move his focus to LeftFoot6 projects. If you need assistance, you can create a support ticket at http://questions.leftfootcoaching.com/.
3) Coaching sessions will need to be full; As a reminder of our policy, sessions with only ONE player will be reduced to a 30 minute One on One, Sessions with FOUR players or less will be reduced to 45 minutes.
4) Launching LeftFoot6 in the coming weeks with several videos explaining Why, What, and When. Fundamental to the transition to LeftFoot6 will be the end of the Academy Select and Academy Tuition memberships. October 15th will begin a new pricing, scheduling and systematic shift to our LeftFoot6 model. It will save you a lot of money and balance our costs with our services.
5) Excess Capacity in terms of Bumps. We’ve begun the transition to the LeftFoot6 model in the ways of being All Ways Open. This allows you to purchase discounted “packages” of sessions based on your Academy Series aligned with the opportunity to get more visits in shorter bursts of time. Again, you get to save tons of money in the LeftFoot6 model with several packages down to $11/visit reduced from $35/visit. Go to www.leftfootcoaching.com/september-bumps to take advantage of this new model.
Through all of this transition I came home from the Shambhala Mountain Center retreat completely aligned with my core vision and purpose in life.
It’s to create a home for kids, players, and coaches to come together along the journey of youth soccer. What I have to do is lay the foundation for everyone to come together —not just for my own benefit any longer, but for the benefit of the whole.
I will see the company through this painful and exciting rebirth of our future and start two purposeful projects that will summarize the future of LeftFoot.
One, I have to write the book on The LeftFoot Way. The LeftFoot Way describes the practice of mindfulness in youth soccer and summarizes my coaching philosophy and process of teaching. This is in deep connection to what I refer to as the guidebook, “Coaching as a Spiritual Journey.”
On the wall outside of my office I posted a banner with what I call the “Coaches Prayer” by the Dalai Lama.
Over the past two weeks I’ve needed to read it again and again to remind myself why I do what I do.
I thought I’d share it with you….
“May I become at all times both now and forever,
A protector for those without protection,
A guide for those who have lost their way,
A ship for those with oceans to cross,
A bridge for those with rivers to cross,
A sanctuary for those in danger,
A lamp for those without light,
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter,
And a servant to all in need.”
— Dalai Lama