Building a good gym requires strategy, tactics and skills.
Strategies are your overarching plans—like your business plan.
Tactics are the things you use to implement that plan—like using an email list to retain clients.
Skills are what make you good at doing that stuff long term.
In our mentorship practice, we give you step-by-step tactics to grow your gym, then we build long-term strategies and help you act on them.
But we also teach entrepreneurial skills because skills have compounding value. They become more valuable over time. Here’s why:
1. A little bit of each skill is helpful, but a high-skill level pays off even more.
2. No one can copy them—they’re an unassailable advantage.
3. The government can’t tax you on them.
4. You don’t lose them. If one business fails, these skills will build the next faster.
5. They can be improved regardless of outcome (if you win, you learn; if you lose, you learn).
6. They multiply your other investments.
7. The time and effort invested to learn them has lifelong returns.
The Most Essential Skill for Gym Owners
The first skill that every gym owner needs is focus.
Focus is a skill that will multiply your return on everything you do to grow your business.
The gym owners who get the best ROI in our mentorship program often say “I just did what my mentor told me.” That’s because they do one thing at a time and don’t get distracted by anything else.
And the owners who get the lowest ROI often say “I’m just too busy to do the work!” That’s because they’re distracted by social media, facebook groups, their staff, five podcasts every day, two audiobooks … . They just can’t dedicate 30 uninterrupted minutes to doing the work that will actually grow the gym.
Of course, both groups have the same amount of work, but the top earners have the skill of focus.
Usually, these are people who have a family, own a business and also train hard. The most focused sometimes have multiple “fields of play,” each of which is important enough to warrant their full attention. So they’re not just running a business but also raising kids or pets and doing triathlons.
Some clients don’t have strong focus skills, but they can force a deep focus when required. These are people (like me) who do their best work right before a deadline. These clients can be really successful with our RampUp program because of the high accountability, but they’ll never be successful just by reading books or listening to podcasts. They won’t benefit from a group coaching program unless they’re in it for a very long time. They’re a bit slower than the first group, but they’ll get there.
Others don’t have any focus skills, and they’re overwhelmed and stressed all the time. In most cases, 1:1 mentorship is their only hope. In these cases, the mentor must use frequent touch points—almost daily. Or these people can make appointments with themselves to do the work and show their mentor when they have “focus blocks” planned. Clients like this might benefit from scheduled “open office hours” where they just show up and work. But they won’t benefit from getting a new task or idea every month.
The great news is that focus isn’t a gift you inherit; it’s a skill you build.
Start by getting an office with a door that closes. Spend at least one hour there every day. Leave your phone outside the door.
My rule: Every day, do one thing to grow my business before I do anything else. It’s the only way I can dedicate my focus to growing my business. If I wait until I’m at work, I’ll lose my focus on the ride there—the phone will ring or I’ll get an idea from a podcast or I’ll ruminate on stuff and build a checklist of urgent tasks that need doing.
In the following post in this series, I’ll describe the next skill gym owners need—gain thinking—and explain how you can get it.