Focusing too hard on scoring goals can be bad for business

Along with many people across the nation, I wait in anticipation for summer to be over. Saturdays are just not Saturdays without the football season.

Despite my team’s poor showing in the previous three seasons (I’m a Wolves fan), I look forward to the first game with more hope in my heart than ever before. In this sense, football is truly unique. What other business could continually disappoint its customers for so long and yet expect them to return, season after season? The most successful businesses build up a loyal base of followers by consistently delivering the goods, not by constantly disappointing them!

Loyalty plays a lesser role in the professional services industry, but maybe we should strive to produce more of it. An unequal focus on gaining new business can lead to firms neglecting existing and potentially loyal clients. Building on valuable existing relationships can help to protect against competitors who may be able to offer quality service at a lower price.

At football clubs, existing relationships often get neglected in pursuit of lucrative new customers.

Many teams venture all over the world for pre-season matches, trying to boost shirt sales. Then ticket prices go up when they return.

The reason football clubs are able to do this is relatively simple. My team’s biggest rival currently offers cheaper tickets and plays in the Premier League. However, despite offering a better-quality product for less, my loyalty does not allow me to change my allegiance.

Within professional services it’s quite the opposite. Clients can be loyal, but in return they expect the attention they deserve and consistent, high-quality service.

As an accountant, the football world presents several curiosities. For example, why is my team prepared to spend £15m on a relatively unknown Portuguese player? How can this be justified?  Where did the money come from? Who on Earth is he? The answers are, as yet, unknown.

But maybe, just maybe, he will be the missing piece in the jigsaw, and finally it will be our year. If Leicester City can do it, why can’t we? Surely?