The Fitness Business Spectrum

What do you sell?

How do you sell more of it?

How many clients do you need?

What’s the best way to scale your business?

What kind of business will give you the profit you want?

What kind of business will give you the lifestyle you want?

Most importantly, what kind of business will help you change the world?

New technology is making it easy to sell access to equipment or programming or products. On the other hand, personal attention has never been more valuable—or more needed.

What’s the business “sweet spot” for microgyms?

Here’s the full spectrum of fitness businesses in 2021:

A graphic showing various fitness services on a spectrum from access to attention.


On the far left, you’re selling access—either to a plan or an idea. It’s a one-way relationship. You don’t tailor the workout or the diet to the client. Your gym doesn’t get rearranged based on the workout. There’s no accountability and very high churn. This is a volume game: You need to sell as many clients as you can every single month.

On the far right, you’re selling your attention. Every session is 1:1; and every workout and nutrition plan is tailored to the client’s progress. Programming in advance is tough, but accountability is very high. Instead of selling access to a plan or equipment, you’re selling access to yourself. This is a value game: You need to sell a few clients on a very high rate and keep them around for a long time.

As you move from left to right, you’re selling less access and more coaching. Your retention improves, and so do your clients’ results. At the extreme left, we have the front-loaded costs that kept most people out of the gym business in the era before CrossFit. But at the extreme right, you’re trading your time for money. It’s tough to scale a business in which you sell your personal attention and time. The far left is no coaching; the far right is all coaching all the time.

The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. What are your options?

Personally, I love coaching groups. But I was a 1:1 trainer for 15 years, and it got old. Many coaches actually prefer the intimacy and control of coaching 1:1. And still others would rather play the high-stakes, all-or-nothing game of opening a Planet Fitness franchise.

This week, I’m going to help you find your sweet spot: the place on the spectrum that fits you best. Then you can build your business with a clear plan to scale.


Other Media in This Series


“How to Sell Programming”
“Selling Access: The Fragile Path”
“The Coaching Sweet Spot”

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