When Staff Members Are an Investment, Not an Expense

A coach reads a staff playbook in the gym as part of his career development plan.

As the CEO of a fitness business, you must create careers.

If you use an owner-operator model, you must create a career for yourself and ensure it allows you to live the life you want.

But if you choose to scale up, you’re going to need help. You just can’t do everything yourself, so you’ll have to hire, develop and retain staff members.

That isn’t easy, and many gym owners wince when they think about the endless cycle of hiring the wrong people, setting them loose in the business without support, and then covering for them when they pull the ripcord and exit without notice.

This solution: Create careers, not jobs.

Avoid Abdication

In the previous post in this series, I told you how to use Career Roadmap sessions to help your coaches see the path to success.

That’s Step 1. Step 2 is supporting your coaches as they walk the path.

I’ve learned this the hard way: You can’t just show someone the route to the top of the mountain and then walk away. Only a few very rare people will reach the summit on their own, and they’ll make tons of costly mistakes along the way. The vast majority will get lost and frustrated, and they’ll quit climbing.

It’s not enough to lay out a path. Remember, you’re a driven, creative entrepreneur who solves problems and takes action. You are rare. Your staff members don’t have your skills, and they’ll flounder without guidance. But you can mentor them to success. In fact, it’s your job as CEO to do so.

Here’s a real-world example of abdicating that responsibility:

A gym owner meets with a staff member and lays out a career plan that includes running a six-week weightlifting class every three months to generate a specific amount of revenue. The coach and owner are thrilled about the idea. They exchange a high five, and the owner moves on to the next meeting.

The staff member invests time creating a six-week program but only gets two people to sign up—because the owner assumed the staff person would think like an entrepreneur and market to fill the program.

It doesn’t work like that. You must teach staff members how to do things.

What if the owner in the scenario above created a marketing plan with the coach and role-played pitches to clients? That investment would have resulted in more sign-ups, more income for the coach and more revenue for the gym.

This is a simple example, but don’t ignore it. Most of the top Two-Brain gym owners have staff members who help them run the business and generate revenue. These staff members are actively mentored to build careers.

Eric Conner, for example, has two key full-time staff members who earn $60,000-$80,000 a year, with benefits (Eric’s story is here).

In Rune Laursen’s gym in Denmark, a client success manager (CSM) works to retain members with Goal Review Sessions. Rune gave her specific roles, tasks and targets, and then he measured length of engagement, average revenue per member and client count against the CSM’s work. He saw all the metrics were improving—and he now has hard data that shows the staff member isn’t an expense at all.  

So here’s a big question:

What are you doing to retain your staff members and mentor them to success?

Invest in Your Staff

New entrepreneurs often see staff as an expense. We teach gym owners that staff members should generate 2.5 times what they are paid—or free up the owner to generate that revenue.

If staff members generate more than they’re paid, it’s clear that they are not an expense. They are an investment.

I want you to invest in your staff to get a return. That doesn’t mean throwing cash at them and telling them to earn a 7th Level coaching certificate. It means giving them entrepreneurial tools so they can succeed on your platform.

One example: teaching them to sell so they can sign people up for a specialty program in an area of interest.

To kickstart your investment in your team, I’d like to invite you to bring your staff members to our annual summit—or send them if you can’t make it. It’s June 8 and 9 in Chicago, and all details are here.

We have a very special lineup of speakers for the coaches room, and each presenter was selected to help your staff members succeed in your business. They’ll learn how to retain and connect with clients, sell better, get results for clients faster, and use Career Roadmaps to chart a path to success on your platform.

If you’re not sure how to invest in your coaches’ success, let us cover the curriculum and teach them how to create a career at your gym.

See you and your team in Chicago?


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.