“Philadelphia, wonderful town, spent a week there one night.” —W.C. Fields
Here’s the shocking truth about 2020: It hasn’t lasted 36 months. In fact, it’s not even over yet!
More gyms went bankrupt in 2020 than ever before. The COVID pandemic became a business lockdown, and fewer than 50 percent of all gyms survived.
Luckily, microgyms fared better than big global chains. But inflexible franchises like Orangetheory and F45 definitely struggled, and even owner-operator CrossFit gyms were hammered.
Two-Brain gyms fared better than most, with the average losing only 26 percent of their revenue through the first round of the COVID Crisis, and they came out the other side way ahead of the curve.
Knowledge: The Way Forward
I believe in the adage “never waste a crisis.” In 2020, I leaned on my mentors more than ever before. I spent more money on mentorship, hired more experts, and even brought Seth Godin, Chris Voss and Cameron Herold to our online Summit.
I asked myself, “Who has already solved the problems we’re facing as gym owners?” and then, “Who is the best in the world at solving this particular problem?”
I also read more books, watched more videos, took more courses, attended more seminars and learned more than ever before. I’ll share the top lessons later in this series.
But I also found myself returning to the fundamentals—the tried-and-true, proven strategies that have stood the test of time. I looked for bedrock truths. I asked all these experts, “What’s the one book you’ve read five times?” instead of “What are you reading right now?” I’ll share my list of best books with you in this series as well, but they won’t all be new releases.
Most of all, I leaned on data. You can’t fake data. Data doesn’t guess.
Here’s one example: When some gym owners turned to Zoom to save their gym, we went in the other direction—because retention data showed that Zoom classes wouldn’t keep a client’s interest for long. So we asked, “How can we hold a client’s interest long enough to make it through this shutdown?” We found some of the top online trainers in the world and hired them to teach us their retention strategies. Then we built those proven strategies into our coursework and shared them with every gym in Two-Brain.
Early in the year, I learned that good ideas aren’t enough and that communication trumps everything. And so the first lesson of 2020—maybe the most powerful for me personally—was “How to Lead in a Crisis.”
In this series, I’ll share my Top 10 lessons learned in 2020. I’ll also share some of my top information sources.
2020 sped up the evolution of gyms by about three years. Some didn’t make it. But the gyms that survived are poised for growth.