My first book about the gym industry, Two-Brain Business, is now over six years old. It just sold its 20,000th copy (thanks!) and its sequel, the more tactical Two-Brian Business 2.0, now finds its way to more than 10 gym owners every day.
When I wrote the original, I included a list of 30 ideas for additional revenue streams. I had tested more than half myself, and seen the rest used successfully in different gyms. There were no wild guesses on that list. But the list was WAY too long–on purpose.
When I wrote the book, gyms were increasingly narrowing their offerings to one: group classes. It was an obvious (and potentially fatal) mistake, and no one else was saying “this doesn’t work.” So I said the opposite: that diverse revenue streams not only increased revenue, but kept people around longer. It worked by giving people what they wanted instead of trying to cram the public through one little keyhole.
Picture our service offerings on a spectrum. On the left side of the spectrum are the gyms selling group classes only. On the right side of the spectrum are gyms selling CrossFit, personal training, nutrition, HIIT, Zumba, spin, and 15 other things in 200 different combinations.
In 2012, the left side was so heavy that it threatened to upset the whole table. So I took the opposite stance to pull people back to center.
The “list of 30 ideas” did NOT mean “You should run 30 programs in your gym at one time.” It did mean, “You need novelty and diversity, and you should let your clients determine what you sell them.”
Now that the majority of gym owners sell more than one service, it’s time to bring the balance back to center again.
In the Founder Phase of gym ownership, you need to be really, really good at selling your core services.
Your core service is fitness. Fitness is comprised of two parts: exercise, and nutrition.
Exercise can be delivered through coaching or through access. CrossFit is a coaching business.
Coaching can be delivered one-on-one, or through small group training. The larger the group, the thinner your “coaching” service is spread. More on that another time.
Therefore, two of our core services are group coaching and personal coaching.
Nutrition can be delivered through coaching or through a diet. CrossFit is a coaching business.
Therefore, another of our core services is nutrition coaching. This could also be done 1:1 or in a group, but a “challenge” isn’t coaching. If you aren’t sure how to start a nutrition coaching program, read Nicole Aucoin’s book. She also teaches the basics in our Founder Phase modules.
Before you add more services, you need to be absolutely excellent at the three core services of your gym:
Later, in the Farmer Phase, you can add more services. I added IgniteGym, for example, but I also added guitar lessons and photography classes and cycling and OCR…and the rest of the list of 30. But beware: every new addition is a distraction from your core services. If you’re still coaching classes or taking new PT clients yourself, remove yourself in those roles before adding new revenue streams.
The goals of the Founder Phase are to reach “breakeven plus pay” (i.e. you start paying yourself); replacement in at least one role (i.e. someone else does the cleaning, or the PT, or the nutrition coaching); cut down to 40 hours/week; and establish your processes and procedures for growth. That means keeping things simple. It means getting really, really good at talking to people–not acquiring mad Facebook skills. And it means focusing on the core of your business instead of adding 30 new programs.