We talked to SallyAnn Reiss of PlayyOn about her love for sports competition, camaraderie and community.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
SallyAnn Reiss: We are healthy, grateful, and making the best of it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded PlayyOn.
SallyAnn Reiss: I love sports – the competition, the camaraderie, and the community. As an athlete myself (basketball, rowing, tennis, soccer, softball…), this has been a big part of my life. As I became a parent, a team coach, and then a manager/coach of a 6-team basketball club, I found it very overwhelming to manage the administrative side of the program and event management. The process of organizing and managing my players (and their parents) online became a huge time sink, and, more importantly, it left me feeling frustrated and underserved.
So I decided to do something about it. I collaborated with some other coaches, admins, and parents to figure out the core needs and designed it. Then I hired some engineers to build the system of PlayyOn. What you see today with PlayyOn represents the next generation of software that serves the recreational sport and activities industry by providing a modern platform on which they can communicate and financially transact.
How does PlayyOn innovate?
SallyAnn Reiss: We not only built a better software platform for organizers of sports and recreation, but we did it differently. We made an ‘interest network’ platform that allows a network of people to connect regarding similar interests and common needs. In essence, we created a “linkedIn” for sports and recreation.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
SallyAnn Reiss: We serve the organizations that run recreational sports activities and events. Needless to say, that business has suffered a lot during COVID. However, a lot of programs are coming back now. Their focus has shifted from ‘competitions’ to ‘training.’ Sports is too much a part of our normal lives to ever fully stop… thus the pivot by many organizers. For a lot of our PlayyOn customers, coaching is not just a passion, but it is also an income, so we see them adjusting their programs to ensure a continued business exists.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned? Yes, we had to cut back in all areas. What we learned is that our customers still needed us no matter what. As they adjusted, we have seen things come back. Perhaps it is a reach, but I believe that sports is CORE to our daily/weekly needs and will never be considered optional.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and PlayyOn in the future?
SallyAnn Reiss: Our team deals with the stress and anxiety of the situation the way we always do. With a measured plan. Personally, I have always dealt with stress and anxiety by setting objectives with reasonable, measurable results. When the target is clear, and a path is defined, the stress is less. (As well, I play a lot of tennis and shoot a lot of baskets!)
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
SallyAnn Reiss: At a quick glance, it would appear that the sports management software space is crowded. However, we see all the other companies as either being in the ‘team software’ space or the ‘website making’ space. Both of which are very limiting to most organizers. What they want is a ‘turnkey’ solution with no payment walls that lets them organize all their programs and events in one place. PlayyOn is easy to adopt, meets all their core needs, and is affordable. As for staying in the game… we never left. We know that if you provide a product that makes your customer happy, they will come back.
Your final thoughts?
SallyAnn Reiss: PlayyOn is customer-driven, and we want to simplify the administrative load of those people who are organizing and managing recreational sports programs and activities. If we do this, it will help be the solid base from which everyday sports will continue to thrive. At the end of the day, our mission at PlayyOn is to create software that encourages and supports lifetime participation in sports and recreation.
Examples of organizations using PlayyOn
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