How to Confuse Clients and Lose Focus Fast

A confused prospective gym client talks on a phone and tries to figure out what service package to buy.

I thought more revenue streams were better.

I had a group fitness program, so why not add open gym, programming for competitive athletes, nutrition services, kids programs, older adult programs, yoga classes, physiotherapy services, and weightlifting and gymnastics specialty sessions?

I was certain more options would give me access to more people and the revenue would pour into the building like floodwater.

Except it didn’t work like that at all.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

Here’s what actually happened: When I started adding more options to my service package, my clients got confused and I lost focus.

Was my gym all about competitive athletes or kids? Should people buy coaching or just access to equipment so they could do their own special workouts?

Was the customized weightlifting program for a competitor better or worse than a six-week specialty program focused on the Olympic lifts? Did we even offer personal training? (Yes, but no one knew that.)

Instead of presenting clear paths, I had far too many options for people. And then I had options within options, such as the “1x per week group membership” that all but ensured clients would get no results and leave.

It was confusing as hell, even for our coaches. I was constantly stressed out as I tried to come up with new revenue-generating plans, and I became increasingly frustrated as my efforts failed to move the needle on our profit-and-loss statement.

Overall, my business “plan” was only marginally acceptable in that break-even, don’t-go-under, can’t-pay-myself, gym-as-hobby kind of way.

The better plan would have been to focus on a very small number of very clear options.

PT and nutrition coaching would have been a perfect combo. That’s it.

Here’s what I missed: Simplicity scales faster than complexity. It took a mentor—Chris Cooper—to teach me that.

Had I focused only on PT and nutrition, I could have dialed in my message and marketing, then presented the right prospective clients with a very simple prescription to accomplish goals quickly.

I could have avoided buying 2-lb. dumbbells that ate all the profit from my kids program, and I could have prevented upper-mediocre athletes from leaving my group classes to repeatedly do Isabel every day in open gym.

I could have left my lobby arranged as it was instead of pushing everything aside for the few people who trickled into our slowly dying yoga classes.

In fact, I could have gotten rid of the lobby altogether and moved to a smaller space. I might have cut expenses by about 80 percent and generated almost the same amount of revenue.

More Isn’t Better

Back then, I thought more options would bring more money, but my plan only reduced focus and increased confusion. It never produced the giant revenue totals I was hoping for.

I made all these mistakes even though my father once wisely told me “you don’t get chicken from a pizza place or pizza from a chicken place.”

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Get really good at selling a select number of premium services that solve almost every problem for almost every client. Then focus on finding more of those clients, not trying to lure in different people with new options.

It’s counterintuitive to focus on a smaller share of the market—especially when novelty is so tempting and the gym down the street just started offering kids classes—but focus is always the smart play.

Do This Today

Here’s your task for today’s CEO time: Look at your service options. Can you increase focus and simplicity by getting rid of something? I bet you can.

And if you can’t peel anything back, review your “idea list.” Be ruthless. If the things on your “maybe” list aren’t surefire, no-doubt, grand-slam home runs for your client avatar, pass on them. Instead, invest your time learning to market and sell your core offerings to new people who are just like your very best clients.

Increasing focus is harder than it sounds. So if you’re having trouble with these tasks, you can hit the easy button. Two-Brain mentors help gym owners create, market and sell clear offers that generate revenue and profit, and they help entrepreneurs stay focused.

To find out more about that, book a call.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.