You start with a roadmap – MOD006

Show Notes

Welcome to the Merchants of Dirt Podcast Episode #6, hosted by founder Kyle M. Bondo. This is your insider’s guide to practical recreational engineering where I teach you the art and science of building, promoting, and directing off-road races. In this episode, we’re going to get into why developing systems — that is sets of repeatable processes — is essential to building successful races, how the techniques of documentation, consensus, and orchestration form the cornerstones of your race promotion business, and how to put those cornerstones into practice by building your first race promotion system — or what I like to call your ROADMAP.

In This Episode
  • 0:01

    Podcast Intro

  • 0:22


  • 0:50

    Everything starts with a first something

  • 4:16

    Racer turned promoter

  • 8:21

    Be a Race Promoter, Not a Race Director Revisited

  • 33:38

    Building your ROADMAP

  • 37:59

    Anatomy of a Roadmap

  • 39:10

    Get a Head Start with my FREE Road Map

  • 41:17

    And Now You Know

  • 41:19

    Call to Action

  • 42:42

    Podcast Outro

Everything starts with a first something

Race promoters have difficulty with first. What to do first, what to buy first, what to promote first. So instead of trying doing what they SHOULD do first, like learning about their business, watching how other race promoters do it, or writing things down so they don’t have to learn them again, they wing it.

Mr. Murphy LOVES the “wing it” crowd! Those are HIS people! I think Mr. Murphy has a whole waiting room full of race promoters who just wing it. It’s what paid for his monster Ford/Hennessey F-250 Super Duty VelociRaptor SUV.

Racer turned promoter

Unfortunately, if you’re like me, you are a racer turned promoter. And as a racer, the first thing you most likely feel comfortable tackling in your race plan is one thing you know best: your course design! The course design is a racer’s comfort zone. Don’t feel bad — I started there too. Everyone arrives at their own FIRST STEP in different ways. For the racer turned promoter, FIRST is what you know — The Course! Unfortunately, this is where most race promotion businesses start to GO OUT OF BUSINESS. After creating a course, there is a reverse engineering process that starts to take place in an attempt to make all of the decisions you made while “WINGING IT” fit into all the right boxes. THEIR NEXT is to build a business AFTER the race stuff. The result is a mixed up sequence of activities, resulting in an environment where nobody knows what comes next.

Be a Race Promoter, Not a Race Director Revisited

In Episode #4 — Be a Race Promoter, Not a Race Director, I talked about how the race promoter runs the business, while the race director is a role within the company: a role that runs the race. I also talked about how when you first start out, the Race Promoter and the Race Director are often the same person.

Taking things apart
Why should you not start with Course Design and Races before your build a business? When you WING IT — you have all the control. And YOU are the only one who knows what comes next. Now only you — if you have time — can get anything done. Nothing is written down. Nothing is followed. It’s just you and your gut! Riding off into the sunset. Meanwhile, you can’t share a single task with anyone else. Not unless you take the time to explain all the WHAT’S and WHY’S of doing it. Welcome to your single point of failure: YOU!

All in your head
Why is having everything you know about racing only in your head bad? If you listened to Episode #4 — Be a Race Promoter, Not a Race Director, you might already know where I’m going with this. Everything is in your head! Then you get sick! Who knows what comes next? Who knows what steps to take next in YOUR race promotion business? Nobody. And that is the biggest reason race promoters do not make money. The #1 reason race promoters do not make money is that nobody can do what they do. Why? Because they don’t want anybody to know what they do. They don’t like to share the process “in their own heads” with anyone but their closest confidants.

Why the hesitation?
I think it has a lot to do with the misconception that they will become irrelevant if they teach others their special way. If they control the process, then everyone has to come to them. They maintain all the control. Unfortunately, with all that control comes an unintended consequence. Everyone has to wait for you to make a decision. No one can act without your input, direction, and authority. This kind of thinking has a name: it’s called “control freak”! Being unable to share your process is incredibly inefficient. And it violates one of my main principles of race promotion: SHOWING VALUE.

If your process is all in your head, then how do you share it? Or do you even try to share it? You cannot get everyone engaged or to take initiative if no one knows what comes next, or what the end goal is suppose to look like. Nor can you execute your plan with any speed, because they will always be waiting on you to make decisions. Not just the important ones, but ALL OF THEM. Your team will be stuck after each action, waiting for you to tell them what to do next. Does that sound very valuable?

Single point of failure
How do you STOP being the single point of failure?

  • First — You go back to kindergarten and remember that sharing is good.
  • Second — Learn to let go of some of that control, and share the way YOU want your races to go with others.

Building your ROADMAP

You build a roadmap by leveraging the techniques of documentation, consensus, and orchestration. These are the cornerstones of successful race promotion.

  • Documentation is just getting your process out of your head. When you put it into a form everyone can see and share, you begin to remove yourself from being the single point of failure.
  • Consensus is where the race promoter turns a race into something of value. Because when you stop doing everything yourself and start involving your team, you increase your capability to see the things you never noticed before. It gives your team a chance to start noticing things you can improve too. Together you and your team will begin to create good value out of bad, and new value where none existed before.
  • Orchestration is the simple execution of your process. This is how the race promoter turns a documented plan into a profitable race.

Enter the Roadmap
If documentation, consensus, and orchestration are the cornerstones of race promotion, then the road map is the structure that these stones support. Without one of the cornerstones, the structure falls. This makes the roadmap a fundamental tool used for sharing the race promoter’s overall plan with the team. It allows everyone involved to see big picture, and agree on how it will be implemented. No one cornerstone out-weights another. They all have to be in sync for the road map to work.

One of those benefits is having the ability to review how well your plans and processes were executed. This is where the race promoter learns what worked, and what did not work. Since each race is essentially your laboratory, you need a review cycle to modify the roadmap BEFORE you use it to build your next race. None of this happens if you do not document your process, share it with others, and follow each step in your plan exactly as you laid it out. Don’t build a race without it!

Anatomy of a Roadmap

A roadmap consists of two basic things: a start and a finish. The in-between of a road map can include as much or as little detail as you want. If you’re like most race promoters, you have some kind of process in your head, but you’ve never written it down, or produced a race the same way twice. We all do it. We think we’ll have time to write down how we did something, but we never do. So it’s time to write it down!

Brain on paper
If you have to, think of the roadmap is your brain on paper. Your brain in a medium you can share!

  • #1 — Start with High-Level Processes: Your map should include all your important destinations. There might be numerous routes to take to get to that destination, but this one is your specific path. I suggest you begin (at a minimum) these high-level processes:
    • Planning — This is where you decide on what governance you will fall under. Will you stay independent and do it all yourself, or will you get sanctioned and follow the national rules for your race (and all the requirements/constraints each of those involves).
    • Building — This is where you break out your processes for developing your branding, venue, course, structure, and budget plans. The outputs of each of these plans will feed into your master implementation plan, and be used to create a presentation (or bulletin) to be included with your permit submission.
    • Promoting — This is where you use the time between permit submissions and permit approval to develop your processes for developing your marketing, staffing, land management, services, and emergency plans. The output from your marketing plan will be used to initiate and manage your communication, sales, and customer engagement plans, while each of the other plans will feed into your master race direction plan.
    • Directing — This is where you finalize all the inputs into your race day processes for gear staging, onsite setup, event execution, event services, and clean up. The output from these activities will feed into all measurements and metrics used to evaluate your race value.
    • Growing — This is your review processes for evaluating how each process in your roadmap performed, how your lessons learned impacts the overall roadmap framework, and how you will go about making changes to your road map.

    The final destination in your road map should be the completion of all your processes. It will often be the final activity that takes place before you start all over again. It could also link into a bigger road map that focuses more on your strategy.

  • #2 — Document Your Processes: At a minimum, your overall goal should be to document how you go about building a race. Think about your race in sections like I showed you above. The first is Plan, then Build, etc., in the order of how you would orchestrate any event. For a race, start with high-level, big picture activities first. I like to use a big piece of scratch paper, or even a whiteboard (if you have one) to draw boxes. You draw your first box on the paper. What process does that box now represent? Write that in the box. Each additional box you draw is a process that connects or flows to the next box or process. Then draw lines between the boxes, with arrows pointing to each box in the flow. Your drawing, in its raw form, represents the basic form of your road map. And that’s it.
  • #3 — Add in Details: Some boxes may connect to more than one box, but the simpler your road map is, the easier it will be to understand. Start with something easy like your naming the race process. Every race needs a name! Do you have a process for naming your events? This is where it would go. The OUTPUT of this process will be a name. But this box is the PROCESS for naming your race. What is that process? You can decide later. All you need to know now is that you NEED to have some kind of process that results in a race name. Remember, the goal is to write down the big stuff from start to finish first. The details come after you have to core structure written down.
  • #4 — Share it with Your Team: Once you have a draft roadmap, share it with your team (or if you don’t have a team, your friends)! Get some feedback. Ask them if it makes sense, if the order is correct, and if they think something should be added (or removed). A few more eyes on your road map will help you find the holes, fill in the gaps, and spot any problems. Don’t forget that if you build it right, your road map will be a working document that will change with you over time. Each time you go through all your processes, you will discover things that work and things that do not. You will also learn better ways to do what you’re doing now. And when you find these things, you need to document them in a new road map, and share it again!

Get a Head Start with my FREE Road Map

What if you didn’t have to write it all down, but could follow a simple road map that included all the necessary steps? Wouldn’t that free your brain up for other things? Like course design, marketing, and customer services? I’m building an easy-to-follow road map that will help you identify the steps, structure, and timelines you need to generate your own road map. This road map will show you the exact path you need to use to build a race in 90 days. This is the minimum amount of time you need to get a small race off the ground. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but if you follow this roadmap, you too can build a race in just twelve short weeks. And it is entirely FREE, just for you and your fellow serious race promoters.

Build a race in 90 days with my starter road map, and when you’re done, you can use it to do it again, and again, and again. Or change it to meet your special conditions and requirements. Go to: — put your email address in the box at the bottom of the page. And I will send you my 90-Day Roadmap PDF absolutely free.

If you request the 90-Day Roadmap this month — the month of November 2016 — I will include the 90-Day Roadmap supplemental e-Book to you for free! (when it is released). That’s a $39 value — just for providing me with your email address. I won’t do anything with your address except send you my newsletter once a month (complete with exclusive content and links to new episodes).

Get on the list to get your exclusive 90-Day Roadmap today!

And Now You Know

I have a few things I want you to do right now:

Action #1 — Join
Go to SLASH Join and drop your email in the box so I can tell you when a new episodes has come out.

Action #2 — Feedback
Did you learn something useful? Is there something I can do to make them better? I would certainly like to hear about other race promotion pains you might have. If there is a topic you would like me to cover, please join my Facebook group: Merchants of Dirt Race Promoters Group. But if you don’t want to ask the group, I am @MerchantsofDirt on Twitter, or you can contact me through my blog at

Action #3 — Review
If you liked this episode, I would love if you would go to the Merchants of Dirt podcast page on iTunes and gives me a quick review and a 5-star rating.

Thank You for Listening!

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