Business Strategies in
Olympics Sport Regions


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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.

Profitably Leverage HIDDEN Olympic Momentum

If Olympics doubletalk has you baffled ...
... welcome to the club - you're not alone.

It's a challenge to stay excited about the Olympics when you are constantly broadsided with hidden costs and misinformation, but stay excited, because if you get in the game and do it right, you can profit.

Unfortunately most business owners think it's easy to jump on the train at the last minute, but think again. The IOC has been doing this for a long time, and they are very good at protecting their interest. They don't share, especially with small companies. If you want it you have to take it.

Who pays for what, and how much, will make your head spin, but the real question is, "How can I compensate for the high cost of living in, and doing business in an Olympic region?"

Part one . . . who pays for the 2010 Games?

That's easy. You do . . . case closed.

Even considering that John Furlong, CEO VANOC, has done such a great job of giving transparency a new meaning, it's not hard to see that the Olympic cash register is ringing up a grand total that will be staggering for taxpayers.

But really . . . who cares? You know 2010 is going to be expensive. We've been talking about cost details here for years, and well before local mainstream news companies took up the rallying cry. Before newspapers told you about the cost downside, they leveraged Olympic frenzy to boost real estate prices so they could reap the rewards of selling advertising to condo kings. The "Who Pays?" issue is water under the bridge. Spilled milk. The fat lady sang. The real estate bubble is jetting into deep space like a flatulent "Mighty Mouse" on steroids.

The reality is - "You pay for it," . . . and as I always say, "If you have to pay for it, you should benefit too."

If you believe Furlong however, you won't have to pay for it, because by his cooked-book estimation his crack team is on time and budget, and for the most part, local mainstream news media are helping him spread his twisted logic to gullible taxpayers near and far. Hell. What's wrong with paying three times the cost for Olympic-related facilities while social issues and life support bunk together in the hospital hallway?

The second question, regarding "How Much?" is still open for debate. How much? Well, it's going to be a lot, and a lot more than you dreamed in your wildest fantasy. The Athens dream team turned into a twelve billion dollar nightmare while Salt Lake City's dream eventually morphed into a $1.2 billion bust. Turin is "still" dreaming in real time today, and also as we watched last year when they threatened bankruptcy two months before their spectacle. Their dream will no doubt become harsh reality once they identify hidden costs.

It's time for you to stop dreaming. At this stage, who really cares who pays and how much? The only question you should be asking, as a small or midsize business owner is, "How" will I pay for it? The important question is how will you make up for the overwhelming and rising cost of living in, and doing business in an Olympic region?

While HBC, Rona, GM, Coke, NBC, The Vancouver Sun, CTV, Petro Canada, and all the rest push overflowing wheelbarrows of cash to the vault at RBC, how can SMBs proportionately share in the windfall? If all these fat cats are making a killing, why shouldn't you at least break even? That, I can answer. It's because the big guys don't like to share, and like all good business teams, they will do whatever is necessary to own the podium as well as the gold.

Fortunately, I have good news. Thanks to the internet, small and midsize business owners have easy access to the entire world. The same world that is peering through your window and about to make the trip to your region looking for your products and services. Pre-internet, you never had access to this huge cash-rich mob before they arrived on your doorstep, and it was exactly how the IOC and other Olympic organizations like VANOC liked it.

The IOC insists that VANCOC cannot start promoting our Games until Beijing is over in 2008, but why wait? Do you really care what the IOC or VANOC do? Of course they don't want our region to make noise. However, everyone in the publicity business knows that promoting an event at the last minute dramatically increases costs, but if you can spread the promotion out over a longer period, costs go way down. Big players absorb the added expense of last minute promotion, but SMBs get shut out entirely.

1,000 SMBs going online to promote 2010 will have incredible impact for not only the Games, but also the individual businesses. We might also be able to turn around some of the negative information regarding our homeless and water scandals, and make prospective 2010 visitors feel more comfortable. We need damage control and we need to start the process today, not in 2008. When you hear a message from a small businessperson who is respected by the community, or a message from the government, whom do you believe? What makes you think it is any different regarding Olympic information. Talk it up today.

The Vancouver Sun is full of stories and suggestions about what to do about the homeless, but they refuse to align the Olympics with the issues. Why don't they connect the dots? Don't you find it a little embarrassing that now, at the eleventh hour, that Vancouverites are concerned about the homeless? Where were you a year ago? You can't be so nave as to think that the rest of the world knows that we are simply sweeping the homeless under a rug until the Games pass. Vancouverites are insular, but we're not stupid . . . are we?

The Greeks had a great solution for thousands of stray street dogs roaming Athens' streets just before their Games. At first they rounded them up and killed them by the hundreds. Greek residents found heaps of dead dogs in the back alleys in the months leading up to the Summer Games 2000, at least until people on the internet started talking about it, then they decided to put all the homeless puppies in kennels until the Games passed. I wonder how many dogs were actually released back into neighborhoods? But that's another story. Maybe we can do the same thing with Vancouver homeless on the Eastside? Aren't you embarrassed that we are only cleaning up our mess because visitors are coming? Aren't you embarrassed to look so callous and selfish? In the eyes of the world, Vancouver now looks less like the most livable city, and more like capitalistic entrepreneurs. I bet you didn't see that coming.

In the past, Olympic organizations managed a monopoly. Today, things are different. For example, sometimes racks up almost 3,000,000 hits a month. That's right, three million hits a month from people around the world who are interested in learning what is happening in our region regarding 2010. Thousands of business owners from around the world come to OlyBLOG every month looking to make connections with thousands of small, midsize, and big business owners in the Vancouver and Whistler regions. Three million a month doesn't sound like much when you compare this number to the tens of millions of hits a "DAY" that some sites attract, but consider that we are still over three years away, and the people who come to the site have a qualified interest. Over 2,800 unique sessions a month are generated by business people focused on Olympic interests and spending. In that context, the opportunities are staggering, and that's not counting our newsletter.

How many hits does your Olympic region company website get?

What are you waiting for? If it's an invitation from VANOC, don't hold your breath, because it ain't coming. You need to get Olympic optimized.

Don't know how to make your website Olympic-friendly, or scared that if you even whisper the "O" word the Olympic marketing police will bash down your door? Are you confused and wondering how a large and growing group of companies are doing it?

Here's part of the reason it's so confusing. To begin with, local mainstream news media love nothing better than controversy, and they know that creating confusion keeps people buying their newspapers and watching their newscasts. That alone is enough to intimidate and turn you off the game.

Secondly, VANOC makes it almost impossible for SMBs to share the wealth. How do they do it? They also create confusion.

Consider this. If you attend seminars hosted by Olympic organizations you'll see that they pitch very hard to persuade SMBs to submit RFPs for 2010 products and services. The challenge, is that before you can see the rulebook, you have to sign a non-compete and iron clad confidentiality agreement swearing yourself to secrecy in perpetuity, even if you find yourself later embroiled in a lawsuit with Olympic organizations.

Confusing? There's more. Much more.

Not only will they not tell you all the rules before you get in the game, once you get in the game they change the rules. For example, the federal government of Canada, which just happens to be an Olympic partner, already changed the rules about bringing foreign workers into the Vancouver and Whistler regions. Contractors building Olympic projects pay foreign workers well below local market, and definitely not union rates. Canadian trades people are available and more than qualified to do Olympic jobs, but they can't afford to do it at poverty wages that foreign workers are coerced into and sometimes more than willing to accept. It happens in ALL Olympic regions, but local news media make it sound like it just spontaneously combusted and no one saw it coming.

Here's one of my favorite Olympic confusions. Olympic organizations are very clear in warning small and midsize business owners that "if you are in this for the money," don't bother becoming a supplier or contractor. They actually say these words during presentations. There is a very good reason they tell SMBs that they shouldn't expect to make a profit managing Olympic contracts. It's because most of the time, they don't. Confusion clarified.

Instead, Olympic organizations advise prospects to become suppliers or contractors in order to "boost the visibility of their companies," and they then proceed to list companies who have done so in the past. Problem is, the list is pretty short and we keep seeing the same companies paraded forth, year after year after year. Porto-potty suppliers, knitting, and printing companies top the list. Unfortunately, this is a region of real estate trading, and retailers. We know what developers get out of it, but what about the small producers and store owners?

Here's where the confusion gets really muddled. Olympic organizations claim that the primary reason you should become a supplier or contractor is to boost the visibility of your business, but what they don't tell you is that buried in the ninety-six page contract you have to sign upon "winning" a contract, are a series of clauses stating that you cannot tell anyone that you are an Olympic supplier or subcontractor. No one. You can't tell anyone that you are an Olympic supplier unless the IOC expressly allows you to. You can't talk to media, your friends, your business association, or your family. You can't put it in writing or even speak about it in casual conversation. Seriously. They are very clear. No one. You are not allowed, in their own words, to "promote the relationship." You can't even say that you signed a contract with VANOC.

So, if you can't make a profit, and you can't tell anyone about your contribution, what's the point? How frustrating and confusing is that?

Why become a supplier? What do you get out of it?

Allow me to clear up the confusion. Instead of becoming a direct supplier, create a plan that will allow you to leverage Olympic momentum independently. If you do, you'll be able to tell the world that you contributed to your community, and made a profit to boot.

How clear and clever is that?

The solution however is relatively simple.

Attach an Olympic-friendly web presence to your company, and profit.

Own the Podium? Or own your business. Hmm. Tough choice.

Contact me to learn how . . .

Click here to BUY THE BOOK - Leverage Olympic Momentum

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If you have to pay for it?
Shouldn't you benefit too?

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