One of the lessons I’ve learned in 2016 is that Twitter is a fantastic place to float ideas to gauge interest in fitness business concepts. Occasionally a 140-character tweet sparks far more engagement and discussion than I initially expected. Here are 16 tweets I published in 2016 that resonated enough with my audience to justify their retweets and likes:
1. Owners of healthy gyms will spend more time today worrying about how their summer is projecting than they will on lead-gen for this week.
I put this one up on February 2nd following a discussion with a consulting client who’d wasted hundreds of dollars promoting a New Year’s Resolution promotion that he’d dreamed up and launched on January 4th. Barely anyone signed up, and it wasn’t because of a lack of service quality. There is far too much competition in the fitness industry for you to get away with last-minute pitches. As the old saying goes: If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, don’t even bother showing up.
2. I may be missing out on a good intern, but I can't bring myself to select a candidate that uses "LOL" & "TTYL" in our email correspondence.
The painfully low barrier to entry in the fitness industry is to blame for an incessant lack of professionalism, but that doesn’t make it okay. Treat every job or internship inquiry as if you were a high school student corresponding with an admissions officer at Princeton University and you’ll instantaneously set yourself apart from roughly 75% of the other applicants.
3. Nobody appreciates a leap year as much as a business owner who realizes it means 1 extra day of cash collections to improve your February #s.
The calendar giveth (as outlined above), and the calendar taketh away in a month like December of 2016, where I have to run a third bi-weekly payroll...ugh.
4. Welcome to the fitness industry. There's going to be opinionated competition. Learn to act on logic and not emotion and you'll be just fine.
I can’t emphasize this enough: If you have settled on a training philosophy of your own, you officially have haters. Don’t waste your energy on arguing with internet trolls. Instead, focus on being better than yourself and advancing your cause.
5. Your goal should be to make running a gym look so easy that everyone can do it. Your responsibility, then, will be to talk most out of it.
At least three out of every four incoming interns at CSP will raise their hand on day-one when I ask: “How many of you would like to own your own gym someday?” If you’ve read my material in the past, you’re aware of the fact that gym ownership isn’t for everyone. We’ve begun integrating business-specific in-services into the internship curriculum to ensure that our coaches have an appreciation for the fact that there’s a lot more to filling your gym with clients than simply opening the doors and turning up the music.
6. A baseball dad just described CSP as a "mass marketing machine." Apparently our 1-man marketing department with a $0 ad budget is effective.
This might have been the biggest compliment I received in 2016. The key to spreading brand awareness on-the-cheap is identifying trends in social media and then inserting yourself into the conversation. We’ve accumulated more than 50,000 followers between our company Twitter and Instagram accounts by focusing on delivering information-packed (and relevant) content. Find your voice, be consistent, and stay in your lane if you want to establish “mass marketing machine” status without spending additional dollars.
7. Assuming the competition sucks is lazy. If they weren't good at something, they wouldn’t be in business. Identify that thing, then be better.
Underestimating your competition is a dangerous game. As Bruce Lee said: “Never take your eyes off your opponent...even when you bow.”
8. Occasionally a HS athlete calls to inquire about our services, asks thoughtful questions, and gives me a little hope for HS kids everywhere.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the athlete who inspired me to post this tweet has since been accepted to play baseball at Harvard University. The over-parenting I am exposed to on a daily basis is overwhelming. My two sons will be educated early and often on the importance of being an advocate for oneself.
9. You have roughly a 0% chance of getting clients to love your brand if your employees don't love it as well.
If you serve in the military you have “brothers and sisters,” while in the working world you have “colleagues and co-workers.” My goal as an employer is to see my staff love each other and the brand they represent as much as our nation’s military personnel love their peers and the country they’ve decided to serve.
10. Just had a mom say that her 18yo kid "sits 85/86 and pumps the strike zone with command for days." Gotta love a mom's passion for the game.
The best way to connect with your target market is to learn to speak their language, on their level. If a mother of a teenager can do it, I sure as hell better be able to figure it out.
11. Convincing my 1st son that he'll love having a brother is the equivalent to converting personal training clients to a semi-private model.
We’re all naturally resistant to change, and this analogy is one I’ve learned by doing in 2016. Turns out there isn’t a whole lot of difference between convincing your personal training clients that they’ll enjoy sharing your attention, and helping a two-year-old come to terms with the idea of no longer being the center of attention in his home. In the long run, clients realize semi-private training environments are fantastic, and little boys realize that having a brother to raise hell with is far more fun than playing alone.
12. Aspiring (and new) gym owners need to stop outlining their ever-so-important internship program and actually earn the right to have one.
If you are on the cusp of opening a gym and your business plan features the word “intern” even just once, that is far too many times. The primary objective of an internship is to provide a comprehensive learning environment in which the participant will be exposed to a variety of coaching, assessment, and programming scenarios. This type of environment simply doesn’t exist in a start-up.
13. The kids with the best work ethic in our gym are rarely the ones whose parents schedule all of their training sessions and speak for them.
This tweet reinforces the message in point #8. If you’re old enough to train in this setting, you’re old enough to speak with my Office Manager Stacie regarding your next visit or the fact that you’ll be due for a new program soon. We get far more out of the high school athlete who demonstrates independent tendencies than the one whose dad is leaning against the wall watching his every move in the gym.
14. Just convinced an athlete that the black lab walking around our gym is a therapy dog assigned to help people bounce back from missed lifts.
Our athletes are impressionable...almost to a fault.
15. Learning that prospective clients who hammer home "money is not an issue" are all but guaranteed to be more trouble than they're worth.
Albert Einstein used to say that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again with the expectation of achieving a different result. If this is true, I am definitively insane, because I keep falling into the same trap of getting excited when someone says this to me. These clients almost universally qualify as high-maintenance from the moment they walk through the door.
16. Your personal brand is more than a logo. It's what people say about you once you've left the room. Sometimes character outweighs creativity.
No elaboration needed here, people...just a message that bears repeating.
You can find me at @pete_dupuis on Twitter (and Instagram) if you'd like to keep an eye on more of the random business-related things I have to say as we head in to the new year.
Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for a prosperous 2017.