By Kenny Markwardt, Certified Two-Brain Fitness Business Mentor
It was a gorgeous, sunny Friday in mid-June when I got the call from my wife: “‘Tyler’ has COVID.”
“What?” I stammered. It was the last thing I expected. It was early in the reopening period after the first shutdown due to the pandemic, and until then I hadn’t known anyone who had caught the virus.
“Tyler” is a member of our coaching staff, and I was soon to find out that he had been in the gym with 10 other people (including another coach) the day before he tested positive. (Editor’s note: Names and exact circumstances have been altered to protect the privacy of those in the story.)
Are you prepared for that call, and do you know what to do immediately after you get off the phone?
Pre-2020, we called similar but fictional situations like this the Hit by a Bus Test in our work with mentees. If you’ve been following Two-Brain for any period of time, you’re probably familiar with the premise: “Could your business survive without you if something happened suddenly?”
It’s slightly morbid to think about, but it’s important. You provide a tremendous service to your members, meaningful careers to your staff and an income for your family. If your absence threatens all those things and more, you have a big, big problem.
All of us are working to make sure our businesses don’t collapse without us, but because the Hit by a Bus Test is hypothetical, it was sometimes hard to take things as seriously as we should have.
Well, folks, COVID-19 is the new Hit by a Bus Test, and it’s not so hypothetical anymore.
The unfortunate reality: There is a good chance that, sometime in the next several months, you could contract COVID-19 or be in close contact with someone who has, forcing you to quarantine for 10-14 days. That means you cannot leave your home or have physical contact with anyone for roughly two weeks.
How will your gym fare in that situation?
What is your plan?
For your sake and your members’ sake, your answer cannot be “we will just shut down until I get out of quarantine.”
So quickly answer the following:
- Who is going to take your classes?
- Who is going to take your foundations and/or personal training clients?
- Who is going to do your No Sweat Intros?
- Who is going to restock the retail products and the toilet paper?
- Who is going to buy more toilet paper (assuming there is any left on the shelves) and supplies?
- Who is going to take on any other duties you do regularly?
Then ask yourself a question about the people who will take on the duties: “Are they going to do things to the standard that my members and I expect?”
Regardless of whether people are kind and understanding of your situation, the question warrants consideration. Your Seed Clients and founding members will give you some grace if things aren’t perfect, but the people who started in the last three months might not. After two weeks of open gym and clogged toilets, they might just head down the street.
As you ponder your answers to the questions above, please remember that you aren’t going to have a lot of time to solve problems if sickness hits. You could get a call in the next 30 minutes that will make this drill a very real part of life.
If you find yourself lacking answers or lacking confidence in your answers, take action.
If you’re a Two-Brain Business client, head over to your Growth ToolKit and spend as much time as you can working on your “Upgrade Team” highways. Tell your mentor you need help and accountability. Schedule your own “Hit by COVID” preparedness deadline two weeks from now, do the work and then inform your staff of your plans.
If you’re not a Two-Brain client, start here with some of our free resources:
- Chris Cooper on the importance of having good systems: “Systems Aren’t Sexy—but You Absolutely Need Them to Succeed”
- “8 Steps to Excellent Operations for Gym Owners”
- “Gym Business Systems: How to ‘Survive a Bus Crash'”
- “Gym Business Systems: Optimization”
Even if you never actually have to put these plans into action, you might discover something even more important through the exercise: You might find out you don’t have to wear all the hats in the business. You might realize you can find qualified people to help you, you can level up in your business, and you can start to think bigger. At it takes is action.
The knowledge that you can hand over responsibilities—in an emergency or by choice—is incredibly freeing and will be a powerful driver of business and personal success. Someday when we can all travel again, your two-week “Hit by COVID” plans can serve as a two-week “Hit the Beach in Mexico” plan instead!