Regional Business News
regarding the 2010 Olympics
in British Columbia, Canada
OlyBLOG is for businesses across Canada,
especially in Vancouver / Whistler and throughout B.C. We also
hope companies in Alberta and United States (i.e. Washington, Oregon,
Idaho, Montana and California) will find OlyBLOG interesting and informative.
Originally published July 1, 2004
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SMBs (small and mid size businesses) will profit from the Olympics, but
it probably won't be in the way they think. Retailers especially will
be surprised how dramatically the Olympics can negatively impact their
business. Manufacturers, construction and service companies too will be
in for a rude awakening.
The Olympics will bring incredible visibility and wealth to Vancouver
and Whistler, but it will also bring higher taxes, inflated property values,
complex municipal regulations and oppressive traffic and security measures.
In fact it has already started, and only the naïve would argue that
the Olympics has not played a major role in the skyrocketing markets in
the GVRD over the last year.
Opportunity is the hallmark of the Olympics.
It creates a business feeding frenzy.
However, only the very smart and fleet of foot will prosper.
You can remain staunch, dig in your heels and refuse to go for the gold,
or you can learn to think differently and get in the game. Some businesses
will be a perfect fit for traditional Olympic strategies, while others
will have no choice but to operate independently.
Fortunately, there are solutions for everyone. For example, in the years
surrounding the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, 45 foreign companies invested
in Australia . . .
10 Call and Distribution Centers
5 Manufacturing Plants
1 Retail Outlet
A total of $520 Million and 1,150 New Jobs
(Real jobs, not the part time crap the B.C. government pawns off in their
glowing statistical analysis of a booming job market.)
PLUS there were investments of
$288 million in Technology and
almost $2 billion in Sports.
Also, international visits and tourism grew 78% between 1993
& '96. 210 conventions injected more than $1 billion into the economy.
The food and agricultural industry showcased to thousands of buyers and
journalists from around the world. Australia captured new markets for
wine, meat and produce inside Australia and abroad. (Are you listening
in the Okanagan?)
The Sydney Games provided a vast array of opportunity for small and regional
businesses. Regional businesses won Olympic construction contracts worth
more than $300 million. In addition 32 regional companies delivered $36
million worth of products and services through import programs.
Many small businesses prospered including piano manufacturers, agriculture,
boat manufacturers, scientific and software companies, etc. What most
people don't realize though is that many of the businesses above had nothing
to do directly with the Olympics. They simply rode the wave.
Unfortunately, not all SMBs did well. The competition, especially from
official sponsors and large BIG BOX companies is fierce.
As I said above, there are solutions for everyone, but only if you know
what to do, get creative, and get a little added push from the local Olympic
Organizing Committee, i.e. VANOC.
SMBs in other Olympic regions have successfully put their businesses in
the OLYMPIC SPOTLIGHT and capitalized on the attention the world focused
on their regions. It's not difficult or complicated, but you need a plan
and you need to implement your plan sooner than later.
Large corporations do well in the ramp-up and during the Olympics, but
the reality is, if you operate a SMB in an Olympic region your cost of
doing business will increase substantially. If you're being placed in
this untenable position shouldn't you also benefit along with the BIG
BOX 'Official' Players?
'Official Sponsors' shouldn't prosper at your expense. However, if you
don't start now to leverage Olympic momentum you will most assuredly get
run over and lost in their scramble for gold. From a promotional perspective
you have to put yourself in the Olympics and compete just as hard as the
athletes. Maybe not quite as hard, but you do have to at least create
a plan and implement it.
It takes 10,000 hours and up to 12 years to train an Olympic athlete.
How long will it take your business to get in the game?
Many retailers mistakenly believe their greatest commercial gains will
occur during the seventeen day run of the sporting events. Actually, this
period generates the least direct revenue overall for most SMBs. In fact
for 96% of them it is so small there is nothing to pursue.
Even more alarmingly, half the SMBs I've spoken with believe there isn't
anything at all for them on the Olympic stage. Fortunately, nothing could
be further from the truth. The perception of what the 17 day Olympic run
can do for SMBs is grossly misunderstood.
In the past many SMBs made small fortunes when they leveraged Olympic
momentum properly. But for all the companies that did it right, there
are countless others that lost money because they didn't understand the
business model of the Games. For example, did you know that during the
Olympics, standard crowd control procedures and especially anti terrorism
operations (depending where your business is located) could force your
business to close during the entire run of the Games? When it happens,
businesses are usually given little or no warning. Planning is virtually
impossible. If you're a retailer and counting on doing brisk business
during this period you will sustain huge losses. Even if your business
has nothing to do with retail, but you are located in an Olympic core
you will suffer the same fate even if you've been operating at that address
Situations like this can bankrupt an SMB. Little mistakes and wrong assumptions
turn into financial nightmares.
There are probably many other things you don't know.
*Ed. Note: We invested over three years and a six-figure
budget researching Olympic organization relationships with sponsors, contractors,
suppliers, partners, etc. The results surprised us too -- mouseover below
Have a comment?
Learn more about the challenges small
businesses face. Leverage
Olympic organizations are
BIG BUSINESS MACHINES that attract corporations like Kodak,
CocaCola, McDonald's, Wal*Mart, etc. Consequently, VANOC (Vancouver
Organizing Committee) will be stretched thin trying to also develop ways
to assist small and midsize businesses leverage Olympic momentum. Surprisingly,
many people don't realize the event can also be lucrative for smaller
businesses including agriculture, manufacturers, entertainment, technology,
retail & obviously tourism, even when they don't have products
or services that appeal to Olympic fans or serve a direct Olympic need.
The information we share here is invaluable in helping
small and midsize businesses leverage Olympic momentum.
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