I’m back for my third go-around of contributing “business insights” in my weekly Fit-Biz Thursday segment. In this first week, I am sharing some tips in the written form, but you can expect to see informational videos and live Q&A’s in an alternating format the rest of the way through the spring.
As I type this, I am sitting at the gate of an international flight headed to London. I’ll spend tomorrow enjoying a day of tourism, followed by an entire day of lecturing to a collection of 60+ gym owners from around the United Kingdom. While I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the United States for the occasional speaking engagement, this will be the first time I’ve dabbled in international business instruction, and I’m feeling very fortunate.
I also realize I am extremely fortunate to be able to share and learn in this Strength Faction community, so I thank you for your attention, and hope to bring value each and every week. I’ve decided to begin with ten random yet important business tips that you can employ today in your professional lives. Bear with me, as I’m going to bounce all over the map here:
1.) Be known for something. It doesn’t have to be a sport-specific niche. It can be as simple as being the best training environment in town. Just do something different so that the next time someone asks, “why should I train there,” your client’s answer will be something other than, “it’s usually pretty clean and the equipment doesn’t suck.”
2.) Surround yourself with positivity. There’s nothing that brings a training environment down more rapidly than a coach with a bad attitude. This also applies to clients. You don’t have to accommodate a shitty attitude. Firing a client can be refreshing, and it dramatically improves the likelihood that you go home from work feeling positive about returning the next day. Steer clear of the people who like to say, “I’m not a pessimist, just a realist.”
3.) There’s no avoiding social media in our field these days if you’re concerned with driving leads to your business. Instead of resenting the obligation and mailing it in, embrace the process and take some pride in creating clean and clear visuals. Start by downloading a free app like Canva, or pay a few bucks for WordSwag so that you can start cranking out pretty visuals just like the Strength Faction does.
4.) You ever set foot in a classy steakhouse and immediately find yourself greeted by a warm and welcoming maître d? Pay close attention to their commitment to hospitality, and then emulate it at your gym’s front desk. The moments that take place between entering your office, and grabbing a foam roller are immensely valuable if you are looking to make clients fall in love with your business. If you’re looking for an in-depth example of just how important this piece of the puzzle is, pick up a copy of Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table. Awesome read.
5.)Do you have employees? If so, I want you to ask yourself this simple question: Given what I know about my team now, is there anyone I would not hire if I could go back in time? If the answer is anything but a definitive “no,” it is time to terminate the cancer on your staff. Sometimes we become so committed to justifying decisions that have already proven themselves to be poor that we ultimately compromise the performance of our business. The best business owners walk away from poor decisions the moment they identify the mistake.
6.)If you own a gym, brands like TurboTax and TaxAct aren’t sufficient to take care of your annual filing needs. Employ a quality accountant and write that check for services rendered each April knowing that you’re dramatically reducing your exposure to audits. Eric and I like to joke that our CPA probably deserves Employee of the Month status at CSP more than once a year.
7.)Considering giving your gym a facelift in the near future? Maybe, instead of identifying some fancy new equipment you’d like to offer, you should think about subtracting a few things instead. We relocated our business from 6,600 square feet to 15,100 square feet during the summer of 2012, and the only new equipment we introduced was a second prowler, and a second set of farmer’s carry handles. A wise gym owner once told me, the single best piece of equipment you can own is space for your clients to move around.
8.) Take a vacation. I’m talking about a real one. None of this “I went on vacation to Perform Better – Long Beach” bullshit. Fitness professionals spend too much time being caught up in the fitness professional lifestyle, and eventually start categorizing professional development weekends as “trips.” We all need breaks for mental health purposes, and I implore you to take them annually.
9.) Don’t get too caught up in any single new methodology at your gym. For some reason it has become trendy to identify as “a PRI gym,” or “the facility that uses FRC.” In reality, these are all just valuable tools in our tool kits, as opposed to being an entire training philosophy that will drive our existing businesses. What typically happens is a single coach attends a seminar (or twelve) and comes back having seen the light, ready to roll out their perfect new philosophy on fitness to their clients and colleagues. While doing so, they lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of existing approaches that work. Don’t let that single voice shout louder than the others on your team or you run the risk of losing your existing identity as a business.
10.) Use the shit out of this resource that is the Strength Faction. Comment on threads in the forum. Ask questions of your peers if you’ve got a problem. Sign on for as many Q&A sessions as you can. It is easy to sign up for this program and instantly become a lurker who never actually engages in the dialogue. That would be a mistake on your part, as you would be missing out on an opportunity not just to solve problems and get better, but also to assemble the kind of network that results in you having a couch to crash on in just about every major city in the country. This community is THAT tight.
That’s all for now, friends. I hope to see many of your smiling faces on our next business Q&A.
– Pete Dupuis