How do you trap a monkey?
First, you get a jar.
Then you put an apple in it. Choose an apple that will barely fit through the top of the jar.
Show the jar to a monkey. He’ll try and get the apple out.
When he grabs the apple, he won’t be able to pull his hand out, because it won’t fit. But he won’t let go of the apple, either, even if it means the loss of his freedom. If you’re the zookeeper (or the Man in the Yellow Hat), you walk over and pick up the monkey.
In other words, the monkey will refuse to give up his small prize even when he KNOWS he’s giving up something larger.
As founders, we get caught in our own monkey traps.
We think, “I only want committed people in my gym,” when we could have twice as many people paying more per visit if we accepted them.
We think, “I only want full-time coaches who want to make fitness their career” and miss out on two energetic, excited coaches who only want to work before their kids wake up.
We think, “I can’t raise my rates because I might anger my first members” instead of paying our families.
We base our prices on other local gyms. We jump to Facebook marketing instead of buying our neighbors a coffee. And we pay for rowers instead of mentorship, because that’s what we know. An apple in the hand is worth everything that might be, right?
What got you here might not get you there.
The ideas of 2015 aren’t the ideas that will make the gyms of 2020 (I published two books in 2015, and I’ve had better ideas since.)
What are you grasping–without data, without real reason–because it’s the apple you know?