Your culture is the sum of your 1:1 relationships.
Your gym culture is the sum of your 1:1 relationships with your clients.
Your staff culture is the sum of your 1:1 relationships with your staff.
Your “culture” is not how often your clients visit a bar together. It’s not how long they stick around after a workout, or even what they’ll wear to get bonus points in the Open. Your culture is relationships, and every relationship is 1:1.
You measure your culture by the LEG (Length of Engagement) of your clients. Great culture keeps clients longer.
In the Founder Phase, your culture is the sum of your relationships between yourself and your clients. You’re delivering your service yourself; if you build trust and empathy with your clients, you have a good culture.
A good relationship is a balance between friendship and objectivity. Your clients are not your friends, but your relationship must be friendly. You must stay professionally distant enough to charge money for your service; you must stay close enough to demonstrate your care. It’s not easy.
In the Farmer Phase, your culture is determined by your clients’ relationships with your team, and your team’s relationships with you.
Your team must understand your vision (we call this “The Owner’s Intent”.) They must also know that you care about their career and have a plan in place for them (we use the Career Roadmap exercise in TwoBrain.) They must see the horizon and know they can achieve their career goals on your platform.
Then your team must deliver 1:1 relationships with your clients the same way you would. This is the most challenging part of being a Farmer: handing over the responsibility for client relationships. Every staff person will have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, one might be incredible at creating workouts for clients; but might not have a strong sense of empathy. Or one might be creative but not quite organized enough. For this reason, we always build a safety net into the Farmer Phase: we add a Client Success Manager role for 2-4 hours per week.
In the Tinker Phase, your clients’ relationship should be with your brand. This means they have to align with your company’s values and vision. Now you have six relationships to manage:
Your client’s relationship with your staff
Your client’s relationship with your brand
Your staff’s relationship with their manager
Your staff’s relationship with your brand
Your relationship with your direct reports
Your relationship with your brand.
In the Tinker Phase, we tell entrepreneurs to build a managerial layer (usually a COO or General Manager; a CFO; and a CSO, or Sales Lead.) These should be the owner’s three direct reports. In turn, they translate the owner’s intent, vision and mission with staff. Good Tinkers should be removed from daily operations, but still available to staff who have unique situations. For example, the CEO shouldn’t be the one with the key to the supplies cabinet, but should still be available to listen to a staff member with concerns about their career.
The Tinker must clearly define their brand’s values. She must answer questions like:
“How does our service fulfill our goal?”
“What will we NOT do?”
“Who is our perfect client?”
“What is the perfect delivery of our service?”
“How far will we go to solve a customer’s complaint?”
She must also define the language and behavior used by the brand. For example, the Tinker must have:
A Quality Control or Evaluation process
A Style Guide for brand media
It seems like the Tinker is too far removed from client interactions to influence company culture. But that’s not true: the Tinker’s role is to define and teach the company culture to their key staff, who reinforce the culture by tracking client and staff relationships.
At this level, companies must track LEG as a measure of their client-facing culture; and they must track length of employment as a measure of corporate culture. Many businesses make wild guesses about “employee culture”, adding pinball machines and free breakfast cereal. But they fail to measure the effect of their action on employee retention. That means they’re not taking their culture seriously; they’re just trying to be as cool as Google.
Like everything else in your business, culture is measurable. That means, no matter how poor your current culture, you can improve it. The key is to focus on one relationship at a time and measure your progress.
Maybe monthly pub crawls DO build a better culture in your business. It’s possible! But unless you’re tracking LEG, you’ll never know what’s actually helping your business.
Every year on February 15, natives on the island of Tanna celebrate “John Frum Day.” They paint “USA” on their chests, march with replica rifles made of painted bamboo, and wear homemade GI uniforms.
The procession is the peak of their religious year. But if you look around the island, you’ll see many military mockups: control towers fashioned from bamboo and rope; large landing strips for nonexistent planes; radio headsets made from wood and coconuts. Day after day for over 70 years, men from Tanna have manned these outposts faithfully, waiting for airplanes that never come.
Well, in the 1940s, the Vanuatu islands were occupied by US military forces trying to establish bases in the Pacific. Over several months, hundreds of thousands of personnel landed, building Quonset huts, hospitals, docks and airstrips. And they brought cargo.
Huge crates of clothing, food–unimaginable riches is unlimited quantities–fell from the sky. For a few very short years, the natives witnessed the blessings of the twentieth century, delivered by US Marines and engineers.
And then the war ended, and everyone left. The cargo stopped coming. The “miracle” was over.
So the locals set about trying to bring the miracle back, by building the things that brought the cargo in the first place: air strips, docks, control towers. They began to mimic the processions of the Marines to call down the cargo. “John Frum” wasn’t a real person; but John From America was, and they want him to come back.
But The Holy Cargo didn’t happen because the landing strips were there. The Miracle wasn’t birthed by marching. It was the other way around. The Cargo Cults have famously confused cause and effect, and practiced the rituals of the US Marines until they became dogma. Now they’re afraid to stop.
You can read one version of John Frum and the Cargo Cults here. The physicist Richard Feynman coined the phrase “cargo cult science” to describe the bad habit of confusing cause and effect.
And we, as gym owners, are guilty of cargo cult science.
We confuse the effects of good business with the causes.
“People join my gym because they want to move better” – that’s false.
“People stay because of the community” – also false.
“If you get them results, your clients will tell their friends” – no they won’t.
“Have the cleanest bathrooms.” “Clients will seek out the best coaches.” “People will choose me over an app because apps are for nerds.”
Data collected from the best microgyms in the world proves it clearly: these are not the causes of good business.
Having clean bathrooms is critical but insufficient.
The gym community is great because people stay long enough to make friends.
Clients seek results, not credentials. Clients don’t talk to their friends unless they’re asked. And great trainers provide all the tools to help their clients, not just the things they saw John Frum doing.
“There’s a fine line between salvation and drinking poison in the jungle.”
Mark Twight wrote that around the time he was leaving CrossFit. His exit was a loud one, and many didn’t understand his warning at the time. His quote was referencing to the Jonestown massacre as an example of blind followership: Twight was saying that although he believed in the fundamental principles of CrossFit’s workout methods, he no longer believed in the brand.
All of these little myths about clean bathrooms and “community” seem harmless, but they’re not.
If you believe your clients will stay because you have a great community, you’ll lose clients. You have to measure LEG and then improve it. You have to have 1:1 meetings with your clients every quarter or so. You have to show them a path to their goals. You have to call them between classes. These are the actions–supported by data–that improve retention (your LEG score).
If you believe people are typing “learn to move better” into Google, you’ll put that phrase on your website and your Facebook posts instead of the things that people actually care about. That’s cargo cult stuff.
If you wait for your clients to bring their friends, you’ll be waiting a long time. Bribing them with free months and discounts won’t speed up a nonexistent process. But believing it will happen will stop you from actively marketing your gym. You’ll spend time building control towers instead of learning how radios work.
Dogmatic rituals hurt our progress. Priests and prophets of “John Frum” have urged their followers to throw their money into the sea; slaughter their livestock in sacrifice; and let their crops go untended–because John Frum would provide all of that stuff when he comes back.
Your business is too important to risk. Doing things simply because “that’s the way we do it in CrossFit” or “that’s the way it’s always been done”–even because “that’s the way this blogger says to do it”–that’s not good enough. You need data. You need to test.
Question authority, kids. Evolution is life.
I used to think that seminars were the best way to teach.
Now I don’t. I know that mentorship creates action, and seminars create overwhelm.
For that reason, we only do one big seminar weekend every year: The TwoBrain Summit. This isn’t a lecture series; every hour is an interactive, hands-on workshop where participants get stuff done.
I promise: you’ve never been to a weekend “seminar” like this before!
I founded TwoBrain to help gym owners thrive, and also to help coaches make a career helping others. At the TwoBrain Summit, we have two separate speaker paths for that reason.
Over two days (June 8 and 9, 2019) owners and coaches will learn–and act!–to make better careers and better businesses for their clients, their families and themselves. Here are the topics and speakers on the agenda this year:
The Client Success Manager: The Most Important Role In Your Business – Stories and Processes, with Brian Strump and Jeff Burlingame
How To Change Your Life – Jay Williams
Organizational Culture – How to Retain Your BEST Employees, with Eden Watson and Greg Strauch
The Business Owner’s Lifecycle: Breaks, Vacation, Marriage and More, with Sherman Merricks
Motivation and Leadership, with Anastasia Bennett
Converting More Clients: Why You Need To Call Them NOW!, with John Franklin and Mateo Lopez
The “Golden Goose”: Leaving a Farmer Behind When You Reach Tinker Phase, with Jeff Burlingame
How To Start a Business Owners’ Group In Your Community, with Tammy Friedt
Making Decisions: The 3-Question Process for Deciding What to Do, and When to Do It, with Josh Price
How To Tell Compelling Stories About The Three Most Important Client Avatars, with Josh Martin
The Apple Story, FFTT, Where Relationships Should Be Focused, and How, with Josh Martin
How To Make a Career In Fitness, with Brian Alexander
How To Run A Successful Kids’ Program, with Gretchen Bredemeier
How To Sell More Personal Training, with Jeff Burlingame
The Future of the Microgym, with Chris Cooper
1 Year On Seminar Staff: What I Learned, with Oskar Johed
Live Coaching, with Jay Rhodes and Oskar Johed
How To Make $100 Per Hour, with Kaleda Connell
Mobility Vs Stability, with Josh Martin
Two-Brain Coaching, with Josh Martin
Un-Slimy Sales, with Sherman Merricks
Coaching Nutrition, with Lindsay MacDonald
Tinker Group (Thursday and Friday):
Rolling Stone Retirement, with Norm Jaehrling
The Multiple-Location Model: Are You Ready? Should You Do It? With Jeff Larsh
Goodies? Yep. They’ll be there. Awards? Definitely. Shirts? Of course.
All of your favorite members of the TwoBrain Family? YES. Come and meet them in person, work together, and forge bonds with the “tip of the spear!” You are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with: upgrade those top five!
This year, our location is the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare (1-847-671-6350). Mention that you’re booking in the TwoBrainBusiness block!
Ready to get your tickets? Click here.
Before you decide to launch Facebook ads for your business or your program, there are a few things you need to consider. First and foremost- you need to establish a proof of concept.
Here’s an example – you are a gym owner who wants to build some additional revenue streams for your business. You know there is a large population in town of people over the age of 50, so you decide to create a “Legends” or “Fit Over 50” program. You want to use Facebook ads to sell the enrollments for this program.
Using ads at this point in the process would be immature. You need to first see if people in your network will buy this “Fit Over 50” service. If you can’t sell someone who walks into your gym on that program, then the chances of you selling it to complete strangers on the internet is close to zero.
Even after you sell 5 people into your new program, you need to iterate on the service to make sure it consistently yields the results that you promise.
Only AFTER you establish that your program works and that there is demand (meaning you’ve been able to sell it without the aid of paid advertising), you can begin to make some hypotheses on how to increase sales with Facebook.
At this point, you’ll need to make some educated guesses on the types of campaigns you want to run. Form a hypothesis on the message, the media, and the market. Meaning, you’ll need to make a few guesses on what combination of ad copy and imagery will resonate with the audience that you want to target, but you should have some preliminary data with which to start out. If you’ve been able to successfully sell your program without paid advertising, then you’ve interacted with your potential clients, you know a little bit about their challenges and what problems they are looking to solve.
After you’ve made your message, media, and market hypothesis and you are ready to build out your ads, you can make an investment in Facebook ads. You do, however, need to treat it exactly as such, an INVESTMENT. You need to establish a test-budget and be completely ok with losing all of it.
The last thing you should do is put your last $1,000 worth of savings on a campaign to try and resuscitate your business.
When advertising on Facebook, I always assume that I could lose 100% of the money I put in. If you are looking to get started with online ads, look at your business’ cash-flows and determine the amount you can safely risk testing on your ads each month. When you assume that risk, you remove the emotion from the process.
The worst investors bet their money on things that they NEED to work. When you establish your test budget, you are identifying your hard stop number and you limit your downside.
Treat your ads like a professional investor. That’s how you set yourself up for success with Facebook.
by Gretchen Bredemeier, TwoBrain Kids Program Mentor
I am SO excited you have decided that you want a Youth Program! Here are a few tactics that will set you off on the right foot!
- You are going to need a coach/program manager that fits a few parameters.
You are looking for a hard-working and energetic coach who is excited to create (within parameters) and who sees the long-term value of what they are doing. You need someone who communicates well with you, someone that believes in your values/mission, and someone who is willing to make mistakes, educate themselves, and try again. This person should have or develop a long-term vision for what THEY want and discuss it with you before you consider them as a Program Manager.
- You need to wait until parents are asking for it.
Scarcity is always your best friend. You want few enough events that they fill up. You want to start with few enough classes that the kids AND parents want more! If it’s your idea- you just want the money. If it’s their idea then you are serving your clients, doing it for THEIR best interest. If it’s their idea then you can truly Help First! Typically, the same concept applies for adding additional classes. While it’s good to get ahead of things (plan for classes you want to start in the next year), you want to start them when clients are asking for them.
- The best way to begin is with a 6-week session where parents pay up front.
6-week sessions are the best way to start! There are a few reasons for this. 6-weeks is a short enough time frame that parents can more easily commit, but long enough for them to see obvious results and understand the value of your program. 6-weeks is also longer than a month, which allows you to price well, because parents don’t tend to break the cost down per class, but relate the cost to “a large group of classes.” It makes GOOD pricing easier to swallow, which sets your value from the start. 6-weeks is also usually long enough that kids will miss one or two classes. This isn’t the goal, of course, but gets parents into the habit of seeing missed classes as their responsibility and not yours. You don’t ever want to get into the habit of parents expecting a specific number of classes with their payments.
- You need to consider the rates you’d like to charge in a year or two when you set your session rates at the beginning.
You should set your 6-week session rates based on what you’d like your program to be making once you’ve moved to a monthly membership. This first 6-weeks sets the tone, and begins to develop the culture, that you will be will for the long-haul, so you need to get ahead of as much as you can. Pricing is an easy one. Decide what you want your monthly rate to be once you are monthly and work backwards through the transitions of a 6- then 8- then 10-week session. There are lots of tricks here, but the general concept will move you solidly in the right direction.
- Understand your partnership with parents
Bus stops are the kid-focused version of hair salons or water coolers. And you want your program to be the topic of choice!!! The best way to make that happen is authentic relationships with parents, and just like price you want to start from your first 6-weeks. Make time before and after class to ask your questions and field theirs. Get to know them and their kids for REAL. Set-up a communication system that works for your clients: Email, Facebook, Texts, Instagram… whatever works for them. And then make sure you TELL them when you’ve addressed the issues, made special allowances, seen improvement in the behavior etc. Make sure they understand the things you worked on today, how that will benefit their kids, and why you chose to work on that specific thing. “I noticed that Sammy was uncomfortable in the front roll, so I chose this and that to work on vestibular development today so that as her inner ear gets the challenge it needs, she will become more comfortable in the positions that will be most helpful in creating great lifelong motor patterns.” They have to KNOW how much you know and how much work you are putting into this and they won’t know if you don’t tell them. Encourage them to take photos and to share photos. Make a “Bright Spots Friday” tradition where parents use pictures from the week to brag on their kids. Make fun car magnets that say “My kids sport is Crossfit” so parents can be proud of what their kids are doing. Parents that know you WILL talk about your program at the bus stop, and they will also give you more grace as you inevitably make mistakes. Take the time for parents and you will never be sorry that you did.
Last week, I wrote about ways in which owners of micro-gyms should approach their marketing strategies. To review, gym owners have 3 key digital marketing goals:
Goal #1: Build up your authority and likability, or “know-like-trust” factor
Goal #2: Capture leads
Goal #3: Make sales/generate new clients
In this week’s video, I’ll walk you through how to build campaigns that will help you prioritize Goal #1 – I’ll show you how to nurture your audience and increase the amount of people that know, like, and trust your brand. You’ll learn how to take your best content and get out in front of the eyes of your prospective clients in your audience. Click to watch!