Getting sponsored is an extremely exciting step in your go karts career. However, finding sponsors definitely isn’t easy. You need to be determined and persistent and prepared to receive a few knockbacks before you eventually secure sponsorship.
Big brand sponsors may seem more glamorous, but when you’re first beginning on the road to securing sponsorship, you are likely to find that you will be much more successful if you look locally and within your own circles. Big companies will receive thousands of applications for sponsorship, whereas smaller, local companies probably receive very few requests. This means that they are likely to consider yours much more thoroughly. Supporting somebody from the local community is likely to be a big draw for them too.
Even better, wrack your brains and think about if you personally know anybody who works within a company, especially somebody who might be quite high up and be able to exercise some kind of influence. Consider friends, family members and even anywhere you have worked, or do work, yourself (providing you are on good terms, of course). Essentially, any potential sponsor is buying into you as a person as much as they are your go karting credentials, and so if they already know you personally that will really help to secure the deal.
What can you offer?
It is very important to think about what you can offer to a potential sponsor. Sponsorship isn’t just about a company supporting your go karting endeavours; it is a two-way business deal and you need to be able to provide value.
Brand awareness is going to be a significant part of what a sponsor is hoping to get out of the deal. It may not seem like an obvious route, but building some kind of personal social media presence for yourself is likely to be very attractive to a future audience. You are then not only coming to them with X amount of go karting achievements under your belt (or the potential to achieve, at least) but also with a ready to go audience.
Keep your application short and sweet
People don’t have time to read long, rambling letters. Keep your request short and concise. Discuss your achievements and be clear about what you want from the partnership. If you ask for something directly, you are much more likely to successful in obtaining it. Do you want kit sponsorship? Financial support? Help with travel or accommodation for race meets? Don’t be vague.
Before you start approaching big sponsors, you need to put the groundwork in and get your name known locally. Sending details of your racing triumphs to the sports editor of the local paper is a good way to begin. Then try asking well-known brands if you can put their sticker on your kart. This will give the illusion that you are sponsored by them, which will improve your credentials and potentially attract interest from other sponsors in the future.
Most importantly though, focus on the go karting itself. Give it your all, make yourself known for your talents and sponsorship will come in time. It isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile.