Alright, you had a bad November.
Or maybe it was September? October?
Maybe it’s not your fault things went badly. Maybe people really DO stop looking for gyms after Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s an “industry norm”. Or maybe that’s all bullshit.
Maybe it’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility to stop the bad month from happening again.
I clearly recall a horrible August and thinking, “I’m never, ever going through that again.”
For me, a bad month meant missing a paycheck, presenting the bad news to my wife, and cutting back on my kid’s birthday party. A weak revenue month meant a REALLY bad month at home. But that was a good thing, even though it felt horrible at the time. It meant I couldn’t afford to repeat my mistakes.
My first inclination was to ask, “Why was membership lower in August?”
And the answer came down to attrition, back then: many of my clients took vacation time in August, so they stopped showing up to the gym. Some backed out of their memberships, but even more costly, many of my personal training clients were away in July, so their package renewals were pushed back.
I adopted a solution of many parts. The first was to plan a big “competition” in the first week of September, and charge a high entry price. Over 100 people signed up (especially for team events,) and that kept those 100 training more often in the gym, because the price for not training was painful (failure at the event, wasting the $50 entry fee.)
Second, we cut costs by cancelling our kids’ groups, all of our Friday night groups, and giving staff some time off. We adopted a seasonal class schedule to make sure we had space when our clients wanted it…and not when they didn’t.
We also froze purchasing through the summer so we’d have a better buffer to carry us through August.
Many gyms see a drop in cash flow in December. But gyms who sell a lot of 1:1 training see a bump, because PT clients don’t go broke at Christmas, and 5-packs of personal training sessions make great gifts. You can also make an easy $1000 by ramping up your retail game for Christmas. WARNING: if you do this wrong, you can LOSE money on retail. That’s why I just let Matt do it for me.
TwoBrain clients in the Growth Stage build an annual plan around these highs and lows, so there’s no after-the-fact panicking. We start by setting income goals for the owner; then we extrapolate to determine revenue goals for the business. Next, we add a Sales Plan on top, and then a Media Plan. Every month, clients get on a call with their mentor to review metrics and find opportunities, then plan out their month’s actions step by step.
Maybe you’re not doing that. But please promise me this: stop panicking and start planning. Make sure your bad month never happens again. Because the costs are far more than money: they’re your home life, your health, and your peace of mind.
Mistakes are only bad if they’re repeated. If you’ve made mistakes but aren’t going to repeat them, then great news: the worst is past.
You’re an entrepreneur now.
You’re already unemployed.
You already know what “broke” tastes like.
You already know the bottom.
It’s too late to be afraid.