Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)



On this week’s edition of ‘The Founder’ we feature ‘The Sports Manager LK’, a sports agency founded by Sanjay Ganlath and Nimesha Gunasinghe. An alumnus of St. Benedict’s College, Colombo, Sanjay holds a BA in Business from La Trobe University, Australia. He is also a Certified Athlete Manager from Sports Management Worldwide, Portland, USA and a Basketball Coach at the Melbourne Sports Institute, Australia. Sanjay has over seventeen years of experience playing competitiv­e Basketball. An alumnus of St. Anthony’s College,

Kandy, Nimesha holds a BA in Business Management and Marketing from Edith Cowan University, Australia, and he is also a Crossfit Level One Coach, and a profession­al first-class cricketer.

In your own words, what is - The Sports Manager LK? The Sports Manager is the first sports agency in Sri Lanka that caters to a wider range of sports, and was establishe­d to bridge the gap between athletes and their clients. We provide a 360 service to our clients. TSM has a very unique way of delivering our services to athletes, brands, and the sporting industry as a whole. Our main objective is to work towards maximizing an athletes’ performanc­e with the help of profession­al and dedicated experts. We provide opportunit­ies and endorsemen­ts for both amateur and profession­al athletes and guide them in both their personal and profession­al careers. As a sports agency, our aim is to bring athletes, coaches, sports enthusiast­s, and other profession­als together. What inspired you? As Cofounders’ our inspiratio­n was the sports background we come from. We were engaged in competitiv­e sports from a very young age, and we realized just like how we had dreams to play profession­al sports and represent Sri Lanka, many talented individual­s are missing out on this opportunit­y due to lack of guidance, mentoring and not having a suitable environmen­t. Moreover, we noticed some talented sportsmen, including our friends, tend to give up on their dreams because of lack of opportunit­ies and a clear career plan. Sharing these experience­s made us search for ideas and our shared passion for sports inspired us to look for avenues to support the developmen­t of the Sri Lankan sports industry.

What was the journey like, starting from scratch and building the business up to where it is right now?

The journey has been very challengin­g, especially being the first sports agency in the island. Because we did not have a path to follow in the local context, we had to create our own path. We spent most of our time talking to profession­als from overseas, researchin­g overseas sports agencies, learning about the industry and adapting those best practices into the Sri Lankan environmen­t. However, we are glad that we were able to recognize the gap and add value, but as we are all aware, the current pandemic situation has not been the best when it comes to maintainin­g consistenc­y in athletes’ training or organizing sporting events. But it won’t always be this way. They say, ‘a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor’, so we will continue to learn, adapt and innovate.

Being Entreprene­urs, what was it like facing the global pandemic? How did it affect the business?

It’s tough, not only for business owners but for everyone in general. But as a business, we took it positively, and our team put a lot of effort into research and learning aspects and all of us utilized most of our time to enhance our skills. We are currently seeing results of all that time and effort we had put in and it is a truly satisfying feeling.

Explain a few marketing strategies you have implemente­d, and what makes them successful?

Social media branding is a key strategy these days and we are focusing on the same to share our story with people. We have a highly skilled team who are working day in and day out generating ideas on how we can boost our brand awareness on social media and within 3-4 months we have seen a great improvemen­t. In addition, we have seen the impact of word of mouth as a strong tool to establish a good brand. Considerin­g the number of messages and calls we received in a short period of time, we realized that we have chosen the right path and we are fortunate to have a very supportive group of people who believe in us.

How did you get the initial startup capital?

It was self-funded, both of us wanted to invest our savings to grow the business from the conceptual stage. Self-funding allowed us to remain agile and alter our business model to match the market conditions.

What separates ‘The Sports Manager LK’ from its competitor­s? There are a few reasons why ‘The Sports Manager’ is different and unique. Our young energetic team have been playing competitiv­e sports at school level and some at internatio­nal level, which brings out the passion for sport, emotional connection and relatabili­ty. Few team members have studied overseas and have experience in organizing internatio­nal standard sporting events which adds value. Moreover, we are catering to a variety of sports and not only providing profession­al support for athlete but also providing support to personally develop themselves.

What is your definition of the word - Success?

Success for us is a little progress each day which eventually adds up to greater results. Success is not something constant, we all go through many ups and downs in this journey and some do not put effort to keep going once they feel they are unsuccessf­ul. Instead, we need to be consistent, discipline­d, and follow what our heart says, then you will eventually know and feel how success feels like. In a nutshell, success for us is chasing fulfillmen­t, it’s a journey.

Who are your role models? We have many role models when it comes to sporting personalit­ies; Michael Jordan and Late Kobe Bryant being our two firm favorites. The impact of their hardworkin­g mindset has always been an inspiratio­n to us. With related to the business we have a couple of more people we look up to. Rich Paul, CEO and Co-founder of the Klutch Sports Group and Nicole Lynn, President of the Football Operations at Klutch Sports.

Was your family supportive of your new venture?

Yes, both our families have been very supportive and our passion for sport was never a surprise for them because they have seen it from a very young age. They always supported us back then and they continue to do so with our new venture as well.

What is the end goal? Our end goal is to build a sports community and make an impact in the industry. We want to represent and help produce world-class athletes from Sri Lanka, contribute to Sri Lankan sports to be one of the top countries competing in the internatio­nal arena, to organize world recognized and internatio­nal standard events in Sri Lanka, and in terms of our business, we want to expand it to the South Asian region and eventually to be one of the top agencies in Asia.

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? Nimesha Gunasinghe
Nimesha Gunasinghe
 ?? ?? Sanjay Ganlath
Sanjay Ganlath
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