January 2024: Your Roadmap to Revenue and Retention

A graphic showing a roadmap and several waypoints along the road.

New clients are going to appear in your gym in January.

But will you hold onto them?

Maybe—and you’ll stand a much better chance of retaining January joiners if you use the next 20 days to create a 90-day journey for new clients.

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

My gym’s onboarding process was a free trial, an eight-session one-on-one on-ramp and then a group membership of some sort.

That was the entire plan, and it was far from ideal.

It was the fitness equivalent of a Viking funeral from a movie: We pushed a burning ship out to sea and then watched it disappear at some point.

And people did disappear. They started fired up and ready to get after their goals—whatever those might have been. We rarely asked. We just assumed they wanted to hit deadlift PRs and feel the burn of Fran and Cindy.

That’s not to say we didn’t care about their goals. We were very invested in our clients’ success. We just made assumptions about their exact goals, and we only offered one path toward them: group classes.

A lot of clients disappeared over the years. Again, we made assumptions as to why.

We weren’t the only gym that operated like this—in the early days of functional fitness, it was common to do everything you could to get people into group classes fast. It was also common to assume everyone would love the classes and stay forever.

Early microgym owners might be forgiven for their errors of ignorance. But in 2024, best practices are now much clearer.

And one of them is creating a client journey so you know exactly how people move into and through your business. If you create that journey, you’ll figure out how to make it better. People will stay longer and get fitter, and your gym will earn more.

Everyone wins.

Revenue and Retention

I won’t give you the exact instructions for creating your own client journey. Chris Cooper already did that in this three-part series.

I’ll just highlight two key parts of the journey that will transform your business.

1. Goals and Value

If you ask clients what their goals are during an initial free consultation, you’ll be able to present the very best solution. The best solution gets the client to the goal in the shortest amount of time, and it holds the most value.

So if you know a client wants to lose 15 lb. in three months, you can prescribe PT sessions, group classes and nutrition coaching for $500 a month—or something like that.

In 2013, I just assumed everyone wanted group classes, and I charged $157.50 for that. Some people would have happily paid more for a customized plan that brought results faster.

Do not miss this chance to increase your average revenue per member by serving clients better.

2. Check-Ins and Retention

When you make a sale during your initial consultation, you should book a Goal Review Session 90 days down the line. Literally put it on the calendar before the new client leaves the room.

If you do this, you will have a chance to find out if clients are happy at the three-month mark, which is a critical point in the journey because the initial thrill is gone and long-term goals are still far away. Some clients might be tempted to leave and try the next big fitness thing or just head back to the couch.

If clients are happy at the 90-day mark, ask them for a referral and add a new client. Celebrate their progress and set some new goals they can work toward. Get them fired up to train.

If they aren’t happy, adjust the plan so they make progress faster. Offer perspective and support. Highlight big wins that went unnoticed. Address concerns. Solve any and all problems.

If you do this, your length of engagement­—LEG or retention—will improve. Clients will get fitter and you will earn more.

Start the Journey Today

A client journey does not have to be complicated. In fact, the best ones I’ve seen can be diagrammed on a single sheet of paper.

But that sheet of paper is incredibly valuable—to the client and your business.

You’ve got about three weeks to get your client journey in place for 2024. Take action today!

And if you want to move even faster to ensure your business is firing on all cylinders in 2024, book a call here to talk about mentorship.


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.