If you ask me a generic question regarding business advice for the average gym owner, I’m going to tell you to track key performance metrics first every single time. With the increasing accessibility of “business-y” blogs such as mine, the importance of chasing specific performance indicators seems to be trending closer and closer to the common sense category amongst the gym owner community.
This is great.
The problem I’m beginning to see with increasing frequency, however, is the habit of getting lost in KPI spreadsheets while some of the most important basics are being neglected or left unattended entirely. With this in mind, I want to put ten simple reminders on your plate that can all be easily implemented the moment you return to work next week:
1. Never, ever stop reading.
Without question, the strongest business owners (and minds) in my network are the ones who can always tell you exactly what they’re reading, and what their definitive “go-to” books are. Some are prolific consumers of content (think 100+ books annually), while others shoot for a book or two a month. There is no right or wrong number of books consumed in this case. All I can tell you is that I am more thoughtful and intentional about the way I run my business when I am constantly consuming new ideas in this format.
Take this great advice from AngelList Co-Founder, Naval Ravikant, if you don’t particularly enjoy reading: “Read what you love until you love to read, and you’ll eventually get bored with the basic stuff.”
2. Use your gym.
Seriously, there aren’t enough gym owners who prioritize their own training the way they’d like to see their clients embrace it. I’m not a big “you have to look fit to sell fitness” guy, but I do believe that you need to experience your services and believe in them because they work for you. Otherwise, your sales pitch runs the risk of coming across as lacking authenticity.
Make your own health a priority.
3. Ask everyone for feedback.
By everyone, I mean clients, employees, colleagues, spouses, and even your landlord. We don’t collect enough insights from the people around us, especially when times are good. It is so easy to fall into the trap of enjoying strong revenue while in the midst of your inevitably busy season, as the clients who you’ll need during the down months are quietly walking out the door because you didn’t realize they were annoyed about something trivial.
When business is good, keep searching for the bad.
4. Thank your peers.
Your gym doesn’t exist without the coach standing alongside you on the training floor. Stop what you’re doing right this very second and send a text to a colleague who you know does a particularly good job at being a team player.
A simple “I see you working hard” goes a long way.
5. Develop hobbies outside of work.
I play co-ed recreational indoor soccer every Wednesday night. I knew one person the day I joined the team. Here I am multiple years later, continuing to show up every week to an event that allows for both casual exercise, and conversations with people who could give a shit about the fact that I own or operate a gym. In fact, I’d imagine 90% of them have no idea what I do for a living.
You likely need to stop living your business, and that starts with making friends outside of work.
6. Smile More.
When did it become a badge of honor to self-identify as the king or queen of resting bitch face? Seriously, smile more…like all the time. Smile when you pass clients and neighboring business owners in the parking lot. Smile when you pick up the phone to give the sales pitch. Smile when you remind a client that he’s overdue for this month’s training payment.
Smile 50% more and every aspect of your life and business will improve. I promise.
7. Think huge in terms of business goals.
As I mentioned earlier, we have a tendency of getting caught up in the KPI-tracking spreadsheets. Thing is, these sheets are typically meant to keep us on track for incremental increases in short-term business growth. But when was the last time you answered the question: “What’s an absurdly ambitious goal I can set this month?”
On July 1st I decided I wanted to hit 10,000 Instagram followers by the end of the month because it would enable me to utilize the “swipe up” feature in stories, allowing for far more effective distribution of links to blogs like this one you’re reading. I had 8,200 at the time and it had taken me three years of continuous posting to get there. The goal was audatious, and it was exactly what I needed.
I began asking questions of people with larger, more engaged audiences. I began consuming information from specialists like the content creators at Buffer and The Social Media Monthly. I began sharing material from others that I knew would bring everyone value, and they in turn reciprocated.
I finished the month with a shade over 9,600 followers. No, I didn’t hit my goal. I did, however, increase my audience size by 1,400 members after having averaged 260 or so in each of the 31 months preceding July of 2019.
Big goal. Big strategic shifts. Big results.
8. Reinvest in your business.
Someone recently asked me how important I believe facility upgrades to be since he saw them as an unnecessary investment when business was good. I told him to ask the first client he encountered in the gym if he was aware of any broken equipment. That client listed 5 areas of concern without hesitation, including 3 that the gym owner was entirely unaware of.
Fix the little stuff as soon as you spot it. People notice.
9. Network often outside of your industry.
Going to the Perform Better Summit annually and connecting with old friends is great, but old friends typically bring old ideas. If you want to learn new stuff and think differently, you need to talk to new and different people.
10. Question the value of your own services.
I’ve got a question for you, and I want you to be 100% honest with yourself when you answer it: Would you pay your current rates to train in your gym if you lived just down the road and needed a place to exercise?
Seriously, would you?
If you even felt the slightest moment of hesitation while answering this one, there are problems to fix, and services to improve.
I’ve got 100 more of these habits to share with you…
My business partner Eric and I are going to spend Monday, September 23rd digging deep into everything from lead generation, to pricing strategy, gym design, and everything in between. If you’re interested in learning exactly how we’ve attacked building and maintaining the model we’ve had in action since 2007, this packed day of information is for you.
*** Take note that this registration includes complimentary attendance to the CSP Fall Seminar which is set to take place during the two days before our mentorship event. This one will be a good bang for your buck continuing education opportunity.