Removing Speed Bumps

Removing Speed Bumps

In this series, I’ve been talking about building your business flywheel and your personal flywheel. I told you how to get each one turning, how to build momentum and then how to keep it going forever.

Now it’s time to talk about the things that stop your flywheel.


Flats, Potholes, Roadblocks, Detours


First, of course, it’s hard to push a poorly shaped wheel.

Here’s your business flywheel, as a refresher:A yellow circle as a representation of a business "flywheel."There are six handles on the flywheel. Push any one and the wheel turns faster—unless one is missing: Then you have a flat spot. It’s not a wheel at all. It requires ridiculous work to make one simple turn, and you can’t speed up because you’re flat.

For years, marketing was the flat spot on the wheel for many gym owners. You’d upgrade your team through weekend certifications. You’d keep clients longer because you gave them amazing experiences. You’d sign up 100 percent of the people who came through the door. But … almost no one was coming through the door.

So you’d push really hard through the “get more leads” part of the wheel. You’d put out enormous effort. You’d run a short-term challenge or something and make just enough money to keep the wheel barely moving. Phew! Then you’d hit the next flat spot: Your staff would get burned out and leave.

It’s pretty hard to push a hexagon down the road. But that’s what most gym owners are doing every day. We fix that problem in the Incubator.


Severe Tire Damage?

Now the wheel is turning smoothly, and you’re working hard to speed it up. You’re getting leads and signing them up. You’re teaching your vision to your staff and the local community, and it’s sinking in. They get it. You’re streamlining operations and giving every client the same excellent value. Faster and faster the wheel turns …

… and then—bam!—you stop dead. Or you hit a bump and lose most of your momentum.

Those bumps could be:

– Low rates.
– Toxic clients.
– The wrong coaches.
– Your inability to make hard decisions.
– Your unwillingness to have hard conversations.
– Your cash flow runs out.
– Your fear.

Of course, your personal flywheel can also hit bumps: your home life, your fitness, your health—these can all derail you.


Can You Do the Hard Things?


Your job as a leader is to knock the bumps off your flywheel and clear the road ahead. Your success as a leader is 100 percent dependent on your willingness to do these hard things. In fact, it’s the only thing that matters.

It doesn’t matter how much you know, or read or watch. It doesn’t matter how much you pay your mentor. All that matters is your ability to do these hard things.

Can you work hard? Of course you can: As a fitness entrepreneur, you’re used to hard work. You can grind. You can do it for 16 hours a day. But these aren’t the truly hard things: These are the “easy hard” things.

The “hard hard” things are firing a coach, raising rates or telling a client “this isn’t going to work anymore.”

The “hard hard” things don’t usually get easier because they’re big. And they’re rare. You don’t get a lot of practice doing them.

The “hard hard” things are the things that move the flywheel. Not “grinding.” Not reading 1,000 books every year.


Help With Hard-Hard Decisions

After working with thousands of fitness entrepreneurs, I know my value as a mentor really comes down to this: Can I help you do the hard-hard things?

We publish information and education every single day. I get three to five emails back every day (and I love them—thank you!). If you follow the instructions in these emails, you will push your flywheel. You will get results.

But those results pale in comparison to the results you’ll get with a mentor. Because experience shows you where to push. And empathy puts another hand on the wheel.

Mentors remove obstacles. Let’s travel this road together.


Other Articles in This Series

How to Build an Unstoppable Business
Building Your Personal Flywheel
The Flywheel Turns on Trust

1,000,000 Fitness Entrepreneurs: The Two-Brain Plan

1,000,000 Fitness Entrepreneurs: The Two-Brain Plan

Our mission is to make 1,000,000 fitness entrepreneurs wealthy.

Here are the four steps we’re taking to get there.


Step 1: Fix


We’re going to fix the gyms that are already open and make those founders wealthy.

We’ve figured out what’s working, and we teach people to do those things. We’ve been doing that since I found my first mentor in 2009. Now we use data to help us figure out what’s best faster. We find the new best ideas in the industry, test them and deliver them to Two-Brain gym owners.

It’s harder to fix an existing gym than it is to open a new gym. So we’ve spent years mentoring gym owners to fix the early mistakes they made, just as I did back then.

But when we take these lessons and share them with people before their gyms open, those entrepreneurs zoom to wealth in three years instead of 15.

Step 2: Inspire Through Education


We’re going to make coaches more entrepreneurial.

This happens by encouraging fitness coaches to build their own brands under other people’s umbrellas or to open their own gyms with the help of their current owners.

We’re going to accomplish this by taking our existing best resource (the coaches in Two-Brain gyms), enriching them with business knowledge and then weaponizing them by helping them build careers. In some cases, gym owners will license their brands to their coaches and help them own their own businesses. In others, gym owners will help the coaches make more money coaching.

If you own a gym, you can jump straight to this step by downloading our free Intrapreneurialism 101 guide. Help your coaches build their careers in a way that builds your gym—instead of builds your future competition.

Step 3: Create


We’re going to make more coaches.

This is what Two-Brain Coaching is for: to help us pump a million new fitness coaches into the world. If each coach can change 150 lives, we can affect change in the world’s health. And we can do it the right way: all the right things for all the right people for all the right reasons. We’ll do it with data and proof instead of fake supplements and influenced legislation.

We’re method agnostic. We don’t care if coaches improve fitness through pull-ups or pole dancing. We just want a healthier world.


Step 4: Generate Clients


We’re going to create more clients for Two-Brain gyms.

This is where Two-Brain Media is already helping: We need to educate people on the value of fitness, we need to help them avoid the opiated decline into death, and we need to teach them how to take control of their lives.

We can do this. We don’t have to wait for people to find CrossFit or Pilates or boot camp, then wait for them to fall in love with an ideology, then wait for them to decide to open a box. We don’t have to hope that doctors will embrace our philosophy of fitness and somehow create an audience to support themselves.

We have all the parts. We have all the data. Best of all, we have the will to do so.

We don’t have to wait for anyone else. Not anymore.


Our First Focus


We want to make current gym owners wealthiest of all because they deserve a reward for figuring all this out.

Here’s the thing about wealth: It’s the best reason to open a business. Wealth is the freedom of money and time. Wealth is unattainable in a nine-to-five despite what we were told in school. You can’t save your way to wealth, and you can’t cut your way to wealth. Wealth requires risk.

And entrepreneurs who risk everything to help others become healthy? They’re the most deserving people on Earth.

If more gym owners become wealthy, more people will be drawn to gym ownership. Current gym owners will stay in the game longer because they’ll see a light at the end of the tunnel. More lives will be saved.

We’ve mapped the path to wealth. When you’re ready for some direction in your business, book a free call with my team.


Other Articles in This Series

Playing the Infinite Game
We Can all Win
Never Have Competition Again
The Mindset Necessary for Success
Why You Want More Two-Brain Gyms in Your City

We All Can Win

We All Can Win

In the first article in this series, I wrote about Playing the Infinite Game. Here’s how the philosophy applies to your business.

Gym ownership is not a zero-sum game. To get a new client, I don’t have to take one of yours.

In fact, it’s a positive-sum game. As more gyms open, the cost of opening a gym goes down. Equipment is cheaper now than it’s ever been. And best of all: The expensive lessons learned by tens of thousands of gym owners are available in our Incubator. You can pay a little and dodge hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs.

Microgym owners can make a great living from 150 clients. That’s it: 150 great people paying the right rate and staying long enough to stabilize the business.

You don’t need to fight me for clients. I don’t need to fight you for coaches.


Fear Vs. Facts


New fitness Founders think they have to compete for a few simple reasons:

  • We’re mostly first-time entrepreneurs.
  • We’re scared.
  • We don’t have a buffer (we need to make money now).
  • We think the market is limited.

This was me, in 2005.

I opened Catalyst with 30 clients. But that wasn’t enough, and I thought I had to take clients from other local trainers to succeed. I remember saying to my partner, “I’m going to bankrupt everyone else!”

But I didn’t. Many of the microgyms that were around in 2005 are still around today. They kept some clients and got new clients. Some of theirs came to me, and some of mine went to them. If they were good at business, they’re still operating.

The key to a good gym isn’t getting clients. It’s keeping clients. And in a small city, even when the major employers go bankrupt, there are more than enough clients—if you build your business the right way.

In the next articles in this series, I’ll write about why this is true. I’ll explain how you can avoid having “competition,” describe the mindset necessary for success, show why you want a Two-Brain gym next door, and detail how we’re going to make 1 million fitness entrepreneurs wealthy.


Other Articles in This Series

Playing the Infinite Game
Never Have Competition Again
The Mindset Necessary for Success
Why You Want More Two-Brain Gyms in Your City
1,000,000 Fitness Entrepreneurs: The Two-Brain Plan

Starting a Gym: Marketing

Starting a Gym: Marketing

Yesterday, I wrote about scaling up from a personal-training studio to small-group training.

But where do your first 20 clients come from?

Heck, where does your first client come from?


Relying on Relationships


When you’re opening a gym, there’s nothing more reassuring than the first client purchase. It’s more than the money: It’s proof that you have something that people want. That you weren’t totally wrong about the viability of your idea. And that all your front-end systems work: You can bring people in, sign them up and take their money!

Marketing is about relationships, and that’s never more true than when you’re in the Founder Phase.

You need to think about each new client individually, instead of an undefined group.

First, before you do any marketing, build your systems to maximize your retention.

Make sure you have your pricing and program offerings dialed.

Your first clients will come from your personal relationships. As I wrote in “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief,” it’s normal for your first client to be your mom. Or your sister or brother-in-law. Who would want to support you more than your family?

And, of course, support means paying you because they believe in your ideas, not enjoying your service for free because you need more practice. Good will should run toward the founder when he or she is starting a business. The new entrepreneur will need it!


Reaching Out


Here’s the process:

1. We call your best clients your “Apple” clients. Take them for coffee one on one.

Ask them these questions:

“What brought you to my gym in the first place?”
“Why haven’t you joined any other gyms?”
“What’s your biggest problem in life outside of your fitness?”

2. Ask about the people closest to them.

“Who has been most supportive to you on your journey, besides me?”
“What do the people in your workplace need? How can I help them?”
“What’s your biggest challenge in trying to help your family get fit?”

3. Map your client journey.

Where do new clients generally come from?
What do most new clients say is their goal?
What do your best clients list as their favorite part of your service?
Write all that down, and make sure every new client gets the same treatment.

4. Make your clients famous.

Every week, interview one client on camera. Just ask, “What’s your fitness story? What are you most proud of achieving? What’s something you never thought possible before? What would you say to yourself one year ago?”

5. Answer your future clients’ questions.

Publish one article every week. Start with the most basic questions possible, and answer them. Build an email list of everyone you know. Every third email should include a clear call to action: a clickable link to book an appointment with you.

6. Use your email list to start Facebook ad campaigns.

The key question to ask before you start any marketing is, “Who is my client?”

In my PT studio, that was easy: middle-aged professionals paid for themselves or their athletic kids.

But when I tried to start a CrossFit box, that was hard. I didn’t define my ideal client, so I made wild guesses about my service and pricing. And because I didn’t get my prices right from the start, I attracted a lot of discount-seekers who couldn’t really afford coaching. So I tried to degrade my service to their budget instead of asking, “Who can afford what I want to sell?”

You sell coaching. Who wants to be coached? Tell them how you’ll solve their problems.

That, in a nutshell, is marketing.

Want to start your gym the right way? Click here to download our FREE guide: “The Ultimate Business Plan for Gym Owners.”


Other Articles in This Series

How to Start a Gym
Starting a Gym: Location, Space and Equipment
Starting a Gym: Scaling Up
Starting a Gym: Adding Staff
Starting a Gym: Do You Need a Partner?

Starting A Gym: Adding Staff

Starting A Gym: Adding Staff

How can you work on marketing when the floor needs to be scrubbed?

Your role as entrepreneur is to invest your time in the highest-value roles. That means removing less-valuable things from your plate. But most entrepreneurs don’t do this well.

They say things like:

“No one can do this like me!”

“It’s faster to just do this myself!”

“I can’t afford any screwups!”

“No one cares as much as I do!

I’ve been there. The tug-of-war between “I know I should delegate!” and “I can’t turn my baby over to my staff!” is an internal battle between logic and emotion.

Luckily, that’s why we’re called Two-Brain Business: we work with both.


The Path to a Solid Staff


Here are the steps to figuring out how to best spend your time and then actually create the time to grow your business.


1. Break down your day by the hats you wear.

If you were to duplicate yourself into 12 clones, and each clone could only do one job all day, what would those jobs be?

Cashier? Maker of the doughnuts? Purchaser or supplies? Decorator? Cleaner?

Make a list. We call these “roles.”


2. Now program your clones: Make a step-by-step list of everything you do in each role.

For example, the cashier is responsible for entering client sales correctly, processing refunds, collecting money, closing the batch at the end of the night, balancing receipts with collected funds at the end of the shift (and end of day), depositing funds at the bank, and so on.

Make the checklist as simple as possible. We call these “tasks.”


3. Assign an hourly value to each role. What would it cost to replace yourself?

Cashier—$13 per hour?
Baker—$18 per hour?
Purchaser—$20 per hour?
Cleaner—$11 per hour?

We call these costs “replacement value.” You will hire valuable people to replace you in each role eventually. And you will pay them what the role is worth.


4. Next, do a Time Valuation on yourself.

How much time do you spend in each Role? Record your total time spent (in hours) for one week.

For example:
Cashier—10 hours
Baker—20 hours
Purchaser—3 hours
Cleaner—5 hours

Multiply total time by the replacement value of each role.

Cashier—10 hours x $13 per hour = $130 replacement value
Baker—20 hours x $18 per hour = $360 replacement value
Cleaner—5 hours x $11 per hour = $55 replacement value


5. From your list of replacement values, find the lowest. Hire a person to fill that role.

Give the person a 3-month contract that clearly spells out the role and every associated task.

In other words, provide a checklist.


6. Here’s the critical part: You, the owner, MUST reinvest the time you save by working in a higher-value Role.

We call this “Climbing the Value Ladder.”

If you bought yourself five hours by hiring a cleaner, you must show a positive return on that purchase.

You can either replace the baker for five hours, saving yourself $90 (five hours x $18) or you can jump a few rungs up the ladder and spend time in a new role, like marketing.


7. After a month, evaluate your staff’s performance.

Assign a scale from 1 to 10 for each task.

Review performance with the staff member. What can he or she improve?

Now review your performance in your new role. What can you improve? Are you seeing a positive return?


8. After three months, repeat steps 5, 6 and 7.

Buy yourself more time. Climb to the next step. Measure your ROI.


Building a Real Business


Most entrepreneurs never build a business: They buy themselves a job instead.

But if they want to scale, be able to sell their business someday or just take a holiday, they must replace themselves in all roles eventually.

This is the directive approach we teach entrepreneurs in the Two-Brain Business Incubator. It’s virtually risk-free and far less scary than the usual “ready, fire, aim” approach to hiring.


Other Articles in This Series

How to Start a Gym
Starting a Gym: Location, Space and Equipment
Starting a Gym: Scaling Up
Starting a Gym Marketing
Starting a Gym: Do You Need a Partner?


Done-For-You Hiring Plan and Detailed Job Descriptions for Gym Owners

Starting a Gym: Scaling Up

Starting a Gym: Scaling Up

Bad choices at startup can be fatal.

Yesterday, I told you how to choose a location, determine the rental space you need and figure out what equipment to buy. These are all hard-won lessons from me and over 2,000 gym owners.

But they’re not the only important moves at startup.

Getting the first clients in the door is a huge stressor (and I’ll tell you about that here). But it matters how you go from 0 to 1, from 1 to 4, from 4 to 20, from 20 to 100, and from 100 to 150.

In a coaching business, you’re never trying to attract 150 members at a time. You’re trying to coach 150 individual people.


Two Big Mistakes


When I opened my first CrossFit Box, I already owned a 1:1 personal training studio across town. We found CrossFit in 2007 and ran a little experiment with some of our clients.

We invited them to participate in a group training class once per week. A dozen of them did. They loved it. We said, “Great! We love it, too! Let’s open a gym and just coach groups all the time!”

Luckily, we were committed to a five-year lease on the PT space, so we had to keep that business running at the same time. And it’s a good thing we did, because its revenue kept the “box” out of bankruptcy for the next two years.

I made two mistakes:

1. I jumped straight from training people 1:1 to training people 12:1.

I should have started pairing people up instead. I could have seen a higher income per hour, cut my clients’ rates back a bit and shared the burden of entertaining people while they worked out. This is what CrossFit founder Greg Glassman did. But instead I zoomed out to 12 people and lost the focus on each client while trying to gain scope.

2. I tested the “group” on the wrong clients.

My best clients—who paid their bills on time, trained 1:1 with me at least three times per week and didn’t cause any drama—weren’t in the group test. Instead, it attracted the people who paid sporadically or said “we can’t afford personal training.” I thought a lower-value offer would keep them around.

And it did—until I realized the low rate was killing me and tried to raise it.


Sound Scaling Up 


Here’s what Glassman did:

1. Filled his schedule with 1:1 clients first.
2. Paired some up to fit more people in.
3. Noticed the benefits of partners in training.
4. Added a third or fourth member to the group.

Other personal trainers were doing the same thing around 2001, but there wasn’t much communication between us. The Internet was in its infancy; I was on discussion boards talking about periodization, but no coaches were talking about money.

Greg might have come up with the idea on his own or he might have learned it from another trainer. But I didn’t find the idea until had already been online for five years. All the articles and pictures were about big groups of people doing thrusters together.

If I’d scaled up properly, I could have nearly doubled my income without adding a cent to my expenses. The other coaches at Catalyst could have done the same. I wouldn’t have taken the jump to a second location as quickly. And I would have had a bigger base of “group” clients to draw from when I did.

In our Growth Stage of mentorship, we teach gym owners how to price their 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 and small-group options. But here’s how to progress upward in your client headcount, revenue per hour and business profit:


1. Get 10 personal training clients.

This is actually not hard, especially if you’re starting from scratch (learn how here). I opened with nearly 30 PT clients in 2005, when no one really knew what “personal training” meant.


2. Of those 10, identify two with the same goal.

If their fitness level is different, that’s OK: Make sure they know the fundamentals so you’re not teaching one while the other watches. Then have this conversation with each:

“Hey, Henry! I have an idea for you. We’ve been working on your endurance, and I know the hardest part for you has been the mental one. It’s the same for me. Frankly, I need to have a partner, and I think you could also benefit from one. What if I found you the perfect partner and brought him into our sessions? I think you’d have an easier time staying motivated even if he’s not at your level.”

The key points:

A. “Here’s how this will benefit you.”
B. “I’m doing this for your benefit, not mine.”
C. “I will find the perfect partner for you.”
D. “You’re probably more fit than the partner will be.”

I could also say something about the price—but honestly that’s not the top selling point for people who pay for 1:1 training.


3. Test out the partnership for a month.

Then ask each one discreetly, “How did that work for you?” Because it’s more important to keep the client than to force your new idea onto him or her.

If one client says, “I didn’t really like it as much as training privately,” you say, “No problem! I’m glad we tested it. Now we know that you do best 1:1 with me.” And you reinforce the value of your personal service.

You talk to the other client and say, “Hey, that was a fantastic experiment! High five. Want to try it again another time?” and just go on with personal training.

But if both say, “That was amazing!” then you set up a recurring plan for both of them. The real benefit is greater results, not a discount, but many gyms will cut their rate by 20 percent for each client and still make more money in the same time.


4. Introduce a third member.

To your new pair, you say, “Hey, guys, you’re both doing really well as a team. I have a third person at your level who could really add to your experience. Can I invite her to work out with you next Thursday?”

The key to success here is always to maintain your 1:1 relationship with each client. Make sure you ask each one how he or she likes having partners, how progress has improved and whether a return to 1:1 is preferred.


5. Measure the value of your time.

How much are you making per hour? How much would it cost to replace you?

Begin adding staff to make your enterprise a real business instead of a coaching job. (I tell you how to do that here.)


The Personal Touch


The problem with jumping straight to group classes is that you lose focus as you gain scope.

At Two-Brain, we teach the Prescriptive Model, which means that you have to maintain a 1:1 relationship with every client in your gym. That’s a lot more than giving a cue here and there or finding “faults” in movement patterns.

Those things are almost irrelevant.

Train 150 individuals, not a group of 150.

Sometimes train them together.


Other Articles in This Series

How to Start a Gym
Starting a Gym: Location, Space and Equipment
Starting a Gym: Adding Staff
Starting a Gym Marketing
Starting a Gym: Do You Need a Partner?


You can talk with a certified Two-Brain mentor for free. Click here to book a call.