The 3 Questions Fitness Entrepreneurs Must Ask Themselves

Chris Cooper

Mike (00:01):

Asking yourself three simple questions can save you time and money when you’re working to improve your business. On this episode of Two-Brain Radio, Chris Cooper will tell you what those questions are.

Chris (00:10):

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Chris (00:44):

Hey everybody, it’s Chris Cooper and today I’m going to share the three questions that I ask myself when I’m trying to improve any part of my business or even buy out another business. Now, this came up because this week, I bought out a self-storage business, and this guy just kind of posted on Facebook that he was selling his business.

Chris (01:04):

He didn’t list it with an agent. My wife happened to see it. She screenshotted the post at 9:13 PM, sent it to me and I called the guy on his cell phone five minutes later. And I had a viewing the next day and we had an accepted offer within five days. This made sense because I knew to ask myself these three questions. And when I’m trying to build my gym business or improve any part of it, I ask these same three questions. So this will be a short episode, but I really recommend that you take down a pen. I’m going to give you enough details on each one to give you time to write the question down, but not so much that it buries you or distracts you from the three questions. So the first question when I’m trying to improve any part of my business that I ask myself is who has solved this before me? There are really only six parts of a gym business, and I’ve gone over those in my podcast.

Chris (01:58):

We call it the six strategies at Two-Brain, and they’re, you know, get more clients provide more value or charge your clients more. Keep your clients longer, upgrade your operations, upgrade your staff, or pay yourself more out of the revenue that’s coming in. For each of those six strategies, I can ask myself who has done this before me? OK? Who has upgraded their staff better than I have, who has earned more per client that I’m currently earning, who has gained a lot of clients over the time that they’ve owned a gym and they’ve done it better than I have. OK. Who has better operations than I do. And so asking this question, who has solved this before me, gives me a way to just buy the answer and the reason that you want to buy the answer instead of figuring it out on your own is because figuring it out cost 10 times as much and takes 10 times as long.

Chris (02:51):

I’ll give you an example. When I started out, I was hiring staff and I was hiring all coaches and I would hire them. I would give them a salary because I thought like, that’s what I would want. And they would start at this salary of 30 to $40,000 a year, which was very close to what I was making. And I would say, OK, this person is a great lifter, for example. So they’re going to be a great coach. And they’re my friend. I know they’ve got a cool personality, right? And then I’d put them in a coaching role and something wouldn’t work out. You know, they didn’t want to wear my shirt. They didn’t want to show up on time. They didn’t want to clean up, whatever. So I’d fire them and I’d hire the next one and three times I went through this process.

Chris (03:28):

I spent well over a hundred thousand dollars. It took me over three years. And then I found a mentor and the mentor said like, oh Chris, no, you need to read this book. And, so I did, and I started instead of hiring a coach, I hired a cleaner and I wrote an SOP for a cleaner, and that cost me nothing. And it brought me back some time. And so then I hired an admin and I paid the admin less than I would pay a coach. And that bought me more time and created way less stress for me. And then I started hiring like another personal trainer, et cetera. So I climbed the ladder. And I remember thinking like, wow, you know, this mentor has solved this problem before me. He actually solved it in a steel plant. But he pointed me to people who had solved the exact same problem that I was trying to solve. When I started doing it that

Chris (04:19):

way, I quickly learned like every problem that I encountered in my gym business has already been solved by somebody else. Instead of wasting three years of stress and a hundred thousand dollars trying to figure it out myself, because I think I’m oh so smart, it’s way cheaper for me to pay like $5,000 and have this problem solved for me in the next five weeks. And I’ve leveraged that so many times in my career that that lesson is what has led me to a multi-million dollar business with 50 staff worldwide and thousands of gyms in the program. OK.

Chris (04:52):

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Chris (05:37):

So that’s the first question, who has solved this before me. The second question is who has solved this better than anyone else? And what I’m trying to do here is site in my rifle. So if I could say like, you know, who has solved the problem of client acquisition, well there’s a couple ways that I could do it, I could do it through Facebook ads. I could do it through referrals and I could set my rifle then on like, who has the best referral system in the world who has the best Facebook marketing for gyms in the world.

Chris (06:08):

And that gives me a sense of like what I should be aiming for. What’s my target. In many cases, I can just buy their expertise. Some of them put it in books. A lot of them, I can go to them and say, what would it cost me to learn how to do this from you? And so this lesson has shown me like, what is the scope or who is the best in the world? So, that gives me targets. So if I can say, Hey, the person who is running the best Facebook ads in the world generates 50 new leads for themselves every month. Then I know that this is like the scope, that I shouldn’t be aiming for 200 new leads or 500, that 50 is kind of the magic number. And I can gauge my progress against that number. So if I’m generating three or 30 a month, that’s pretty good.

Chris (06:51):

If I’m generating five, I should be aiming higher. I should be asking myself, what are they doing that I’m not? OK. So the second question that I always ask myself is who has solved this better than anyone else? Now, this question has kind of benefited me in an indirect way too, during COVID. This was the question that I asked to get help for gym owners who runs the best online programming in the world. You know, I found that person, I interviewed them. I extracted their knowledge at a price, and I taught it back to people in Two-Brain. Who has the best online retention in the world. Same trick. I found that person, I acquired their knowledge at a price, and I taught that back to Two-Brain. And of course the better Two-Brain gyms do, the better I wind up doing, the better Two-Brain business does, the better our mentors do the better their clients, do the better their coaches do, the better for everyone.

Chris (07:41):

And so by asking this question, what you really do is you raise everybody, as like a rising tide lifts all boats. OK. The third question that I ask myself is what’s the average solution? So what’s the average gym doing here. Not because I want to be average, but I want to recognize average when I blow past it. Now here’s how this benefits me. If, for example, I know that the average gym has 120 members and the average gym is collecting about $110 per month from those members, then I can say, how do I relate to that? Not because I want to say, oh crap, maybe I’m charging too much. Or, oh boy, I’m charging way too little. But because my goal should be to surpass all of those metrics. And I will recognize those metrics as I go by, I am better than average.

Chris (08:32):

For example, the average gym has about eight months retention. So they, the average gym brings a person in. They keep a client for about eight months. The first thing I want to do is say, who has solved this retention problem before me? OK. And I want to find people who have way better retention. The next I want to say is like, OK, who’s actually the best in the world at this? Who has the longest retention? I might look somebody like Kevin Wood whose average retention is 6.7 years or something just wild. And then I want to extract that information from them. How are you doing it? Let me just copy your client journey. Let me copy your process, your staff hires, whatever. And then I want to say, what’s the average. So if the average is eight months and I’m currently at six months and I raise my LEG to seven months and then eight months, and then nine months, I can say, OK, I’m making progress.

Chris (09:22):

Because if I only compare myself against the best in the world, I’ll really feel like, I’m not getting anywhere because progress is just going to be slow. So knowing the average really helps. So the three questions that I’m asking myself, when I’m buying a new business, when I’m trying to improve any facet of any of my businesses is this: Who has solved this before me, who has solved this better than anyone else, and what’s the average solution? I want you to have these averages. These averages have not existed anywhere in the fitness industry before now. And so for the second year in a row, we’ve invested a ton of time, money and energy into producing the state of the industry guide. We’ll have this for you in December somehow. We collect all this stuff at great cost to us, but we give it away for free so that you know where the averages are.

Chris (10:10):

Use these averages as like your first target. If you see the average ARM, average revenue per member, at a microgym is $115 and you’re at $95, make 115, your first target. Work backward from there to say, what do I have to do to get my ARM to 115? You can download tools from our site, like our sample P and L and say, well, what if I raise rates $5? What if I added five personal training clients? How could I get there? You can call a mentor and the mentor will say, do exactly this right now and guide you through it. But once you know that average, you’ve got a target and you can work backwards to achieve that target. Then what you want to do is say, OK, you know, what are the best gyms in the world doing? And so every month we publish leaderboards for each of the six strategies, the things that you can do to, to grow your gym that I mentioned earlier.

Chris (10:59):

And so you can look at like, you know, what are the top 10 gyms doing in the world for ARM? And after you pass that average, you can make the top your target. Wow. These people are all over $400 a month. How are they doing that? And when you look at those numbers and you identify these people, then you can get the process to actually get there and you should copy their process until you get there. And then when you become one of the best in the world yourself, then you tweak the process and try to improve it. You don’t try to tweak the process, start from scratch, invent everything when you’re at lower than average, or you’re not yet one of the best in the world. Become one of the best in the world. Do it in a measurable way that proves you are.

Chris (11:42):

And then start tweaking. Up until that point, follow a template. And that’s where these questions will lead.

Mike (11:47):

Two-Brain Radio comes out twice a week and features all the info you need to run a successful fitness business. Subscribe so you don’t miss a show. Now here’s Coop one more time.

Chris (11:57):

Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. If you aren’t in the Gym Owners United group on Facebook, this is my personal invitation to join. It’s the only public Facebook group that I participate in. And I’m there all the time with tips, tactics, and free resources. I’d love to network with you and help you grow your business. Join Gym Owners United on Facebook.


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