You can do a lot of things to get through the COVID-19 crisis. We’re tracking what gyms are doing around the world and reporting to you what works.
First, you must plan to close. Most gyms will have to close for at least 30 days. If you plan to close but aren’t forced to close, great—but that’s unlikely.
With so many ideas out there, you need to set your priorities around the calendar. That’s why mentors are great filters.
Spend most of your time working on your 15-day priority, about an hour per day working on your 60-day priority and an hour per week working on your 90-day priority.
Your 15-Day Priority: Cash Flow
You must work extremely hard to maintain memberships and manage your expenses.
From a revenue standpoint, moving to 1:1 online training shows a 90 percent retention rate, at least in the first two weeks.
Park workouts actually show a higher retention rate but usually only last seven to 10 days—parks are often shut down after restaurants, bars and gyms.
Group workouts over Zoom show drop-offs in attendance from as early as three days to as late as seven days.
The great news: Many Two-Brain gyms are still signing up new members by offering No-Sweat Intros online. If your intake process is still a “free trial class” or something similar, now is the best time to update your processes.
On the expense side, perform an “expense audit”: List all the expenses in your gym. Ask yourself, “How can I maximize the return on investment from this expense?”
You’re not necessarily looking to cut anything—you can’t cut your way to wealth—but to wring as much value as possible from each expense. You can bet your clients are doing the same exercise.
For example, my gym audited its expenses and wound up cutting nothing. But we did ask our bookkeeper for advice to spread out our cash flow, we did increase contact with our mentor, and we did follow HSN’s advice for nutrition coaching during the crisis.
Finally, if you’re in a cash-flow crisis, you should seek temporary relief from your landlord. You might not get it, but some landlords have agreed to spread out the rent over the next few months.
60-Day Priority: Get Them Back
Some of your clients are going to cancel. They’re scared about their own cash flow. It’s unavoidable in some cases. But you have to plan now to bring them back.
Call them every week. Ask “how are you doing?” and whether they’re maintaining their buffer of fitness. Maintain your relationship. Pretend they’ve just gone on vacation. But make no mistake: It will be much harder to win them back later if you don’t talk to them regularly now.
You should be publishing daily content to your members and email list now. As a new member told me yesterday: “Sign me up! I need you guys now more than ever.”
90-Day Priority: Get Your Money Back
Many state governments and NGOs are offering resources to help entrepreneurs.
For a list of U.S. Small Business Association grants by state/county and an application link, click here.
For example, Massachusetts announced a $10-million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund on March 16. It’s small, but it applies to gyms. And more assistance is coming.
The keys are to stay aware of government loans and grants as they become available in your area. Most are first come, first served, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
You should apply for these loans and grants as soon as they’re available. They’re a safety net for your cash flow, and some can actually make funds available in three days or less. Maybe you won’t need cash; you don’t have to spend the money if you get a loan. But it’s better to have the option than to run out of money.
What We’re Working On
15-day focus: We’re tracking retention and conversion rates in gyms around the world, and we’ll continue to update you with data.
60-day focus: With some gyms rumored to be reopening in Asia (yay!), we’re closely monitoring their ability to get members back. We’ll share what works, of course.
90-day focus: Two-Brain is shifting resources to find grants in each state. We’ll report them in our private Facebook group as we find them and publish a list when we have one.
Two-Brain Business would like to invite gym owners to join the private Facebook group Gym Owners United. It’s a positive place where people can share ideas and help each other get through this period. We want interaction among actual people, not business accounts, so use your personal account, and be sure to answer all the intake questions.