Race promotion is a tough business, designed to make you money.

You’re not running a charity or practicing a hobby when you decide to make race promotion your full-time gig.

You’re in it for all the marbles.

But you are not going to get all the marbles without a fight.

No matter what kind of racing company you build, you are going to have competitors.

Most of these competitors are not going to be happy about you starting up in their market.

In fact, some might go as far as actively sabotage your efforts.

Did you think they were going to willing allow you to take their best race day dates, their customers, or the choice parks and courses?

Well, they’re not.

That’s why they call it competition.

Only in this competition, if you don’t place in the top three, your prize is a failed business.

However, you are in luck.

When it comes to racing, many of your competitors are lazy.

What do you mean lazy?

By this, I mean that they don’t change their strategies all that often, especially when new challengers show up.

They’re used to seeing new promoters show up, get frustrated, and quit long before they need to do anything serious about it.

And if a race promoter does manage to get up and running in their area, they have ways of minimizing the threat.

One way is to use their relationships with park managers to get the choice dates without having to submit permits or proposals in advance.

This makes your planning and scheduling efforts very difficult.

Additionally, there is a good chance that they already know all the local club presidents and local outdoor retail shop owners on a first name basis.

This could jam up your strategy to use local clubs for trail maintenance, or even from finding relevant sponsors for your races.

They could even go so far as to poison racers against you.

Rather than improve the quality of their races, they might slander your reputation, block your efforts, or make finding customers very difficult on you.

Instead of making a better product, many competitors go to great lengths to rip yours apart.

Unfortunately, if you are a new race promoter, you might not see this coming.

You might think that everyone in off-road racing appears super nice to each other.

Even when you’re at each of their races, no one is really tearing each other’s races apart.

You may even believe that everyone is supposed to help each other out, volunteer for each other, and even take an active part in building a community.

On the surface, it may appear that way.

But when you decide to act on your vision to create a new racing company, that is when you see just how “friendly” the other racing promoters are to you.

Some might even say these tactics are “just business”, and it’s “nothing personal”.

Unfortunately, when you start to hear bad things about your races from other promoters — especially those you respect — it starts to feel VERY personal.

How do you get past this?

First off, you have to go back to thinking that you are an MMA fighter, and your business is the ring.

As an MMA fighter, think of your biggest competitor as your next fight.

Do you want that fight to include the best fighter there ever was?

Of course not.

You want to compete against a sickly, ill-prepared, underserved, under coached fighter.

Then when you get into the ring, you want to beat that fighter to a pulp, take away all of his customers, and go home with all of his lunch money.

Would that be nice?

Remember when I said that your competitors are lazy?

Fortunately for you, many racing businesses have been sitting on their backside, shoving Cheetos into their face and not training.

They have been enjoying the benefits of having the entire market all to themselves.

Especially if their only other competitors are one-offs or hobby races that really don’t hold a candle to a hungry race promoter with actual business skills.

That is your advantage!

As a fighter that is new to the ring, your business is leaner and meaner than your competitors.

Take advantage of those who has been resting on their laurels for far too long.

If they are doing only a few trail runs a year, figuratively kick them in the teeth with a three-race championship series.

When they try to imitate your championship series, double down with a five-race championship series in the Sprint, and another in the Fall.

If they have a special venue, use all the others good around them.

Or go find those venues nobody has even considered racing at before and make some new friends.

Use your speed to market and agility to produce races that exceed your competitor’s value.

If they look like amateurs, add some polish and make your company look like a franchise.

If their people are just alright at customers service, make your seems like you stole them right from Disney World itself.

Quickly go from startup status to full production before your competitors have a chance (or the ability) to respond.

Never stop fighting for your place in the market.

And never pass up the chance to catch your competitors napping.

And now you know.


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Posted by Kyle Bondo

Kyle started Reckoneer with the simple mission of helping those who want to become race directors and learn the mechanics of outdoor recreation engineering. Kyle demystifies outdoor racing with over 20 years of endurance and outdoor industry business knowledge. Combined with his top-rated podcast Merchants of Dirt, dozens of articles, lessons, and infographics, Kyle has made Reckoneer the premier educator in outdoor event management. Build better races today!