MOD 004: Be a Race Promoter, not a race director

Merchants of Dirt Episode #4

The future direction of your racing business depends on learning why all race promoters are race directors, but not all race directors are race promoters.

Key Take Away #1: Why you cannot be both

When I say that all race promoters are race directors, but not all race directors are race promoters, all sorts of people come out of the woodwork to challenge it.

When I first brought this topic on my blog in Be a Race Promoter, not a race director, I immediately heard from race directors that object to this characterization.

Why do they object?

Because they own their own companies AND direct their own races.

They claim they can do both and claim they do both well.

I do believe you can you try to perform both positions, but I do not think you can do both well at the same time.

As race director, it is your job to run the race from beginning to end.

While as a race promoter, it is your job to sell that race (and all future races) in addition to making sure the entire racing business is running successfully.

This means a race director and a race promoter are not that same things.

I see the race promoter as the founder of your racing company, the overall creative strategist of each race, and responsible for the leadership and future direction of your business.

In Merchants of Dirt Episode #2, I stated that over half of your time spent on building your races will be spent trying to sell it.

Because if you want to build a racing company that makes money, selling only one race will not be enough.

In simple terms, the race promoter is the boss, the driver, the one making all the decisions.

Meanwhile, as the race promoter is running the entire racing company, I see the race director, a role designed to manage the race promoter’s plan, not running the entire company.

That’s because a race director is a job within the race promoter’s company, not the owner of the company.

Essentially, the race director is a subordinate role to the race promoter.

The race promoter runs the company, and the race director works for the race promoter.

Which one wins when you need to both jobs at the same time?

The answer is nobody wins.

Key Take Away #2: Why you shouldn’t be both

In many smaller racing companies, the race promoter and the race director is the same person.

In many small racing companies or racing companies that are just getting started, there are few key people available.

Without a big staff, most of the roles in your company will be filled by the founder

The positions you do not fill will probably get neglected until you get around to them, making for a lot of slack for one person to pick up.

This means you are now two people: The owner, and the only employee.

You pay your own salary (if you get one), and you let yourself know if you’re doing a good job or not.

What if you just want to take the weekend off?

What happens when you get sick on race day or a family emergency and you need to be both directing your race AND at the hospital at the same time?

It’s a fair question and one that causes all sorts of business to go out of business every year.

It’s called the catastrophic event.

Could your company survive an emergency like that?

If the answer is, “No”, then I’m sorry to say that you own your job, and it makes you the single point of failure in your own company.

Key Take Away #3: Working in Your Company, to Work ON Your Company

Think of all the things you could work on if you were not the race director.

By borrowing a concept from Michael Gerber’s great book, E-Myth Revisited, Gerber’s summarizes that if you are going to run any business, you have to FIRST go to work in your business.

Once you know every position and what it should do, only then can go to work ON your business.

You have to understand what you want out of each position before you could ever hire someone to do it to your standards.

By working IN that job, and DOING that job, you know exactly how you want that job to function.

Then all you have to do after working IN that job is write down how you want it performed.

Then, with a written description of the position, you know have what becomes Version One of that position description.

Now any future employee you hire to do that job can judge their own efforts against your provided standard.

Key Take Away #4: Defining Your Race Director Role

Of course, one of the most important positions in your racing company is the race director position itself.

You cannot cut your ties with the Race Director role without first defining all the elements of the work that YOU think a race director should do, and how they should do it.

You don’t want your future race director to do what THEY think should be done in that position.

What you want them do is what YOU think they should do in that position.

The goal is to communicate how you want the work done, by explaining it as if you were doing it.

Once you have it written down, then and only then, can you think about hiring someone for that position.

You cannot build past your symbiotic relationship with the race director and race promoter roles until you decide that someone else could and should do the job in your stead.

And Know you know.

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Thank You for Listening

Thank you so much for listening to Merchants of Dirt Podcast. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to me @MerchantsofDirt on Twitter, by Email, or my Contact Form.

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Kyle Bondo
Kyle Bondo is a thinker, podcaster, author, and creative strategy dragon seeking to make a small dent in the universe. He is the founder of Reckoneer, host of the Merchants of Dirt and Get Lost Racing podcasts, and an avid adventure racer.
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