It’s Two-Brain Radio, and we’re talking to Jared Byczko of NapTown Fitness. He recently won the Two-Brain award for Coach Education Opportunity. And he’ll tell you what you can do to create great careers for your coaches. But first here’s Two-Brain founder, Chris Cooper, with a word about this special honor.
This award is for coach education and opportunity. What makes this award so special is that you can’t win it just by having the most full-time coaches or the biggest roster of staff. You win it by first building a really solid foundation to your business, a platform on which other people can launch their rockets. That means creating a foundational business that supports not just you, not just your family, not just your clients, but also other people who are able to make a career in fitness on the solid foundation that you’ve built. It means that you can’t sacrifice that foundation to overpay your coaches or undermine your own foundation or sacrifice yourself. It means that you have to build a strong team and you have to show a clear dedication to creating opportunities for other people to build on your platform and grow the pie together. It also means a clear commitment to education, not just for your coaching staff, but for all of your staff across the board, helping the team become better one at a time, and then together as a unit.
Hi, this is Chris Cooper, and I founded To-Brain Business to make gyms profitable. Over the last years, as we’ve compiled more and more data built, more and more tools, gotten better and better at mentorship, we’ve really made a lot of gyms, hundreds around the world, thousands over the years, profitable, doing better. What hasn’t kept pace is the quality of coaching in a lot of gyms worldwide. There are great programs out there that will introduce you to a method like bootcamp, kettlebells, Olympic lifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, running, whatever that is. And so we can make coaches who know the subject matter, but that doesn’t make them a great coach. To be a great coach, you have to be able to change somebody’s habits. You have to be able to change their behavior and to do that requires deep understanding of their motivations to do that means amazing adherence by the client. And it means amazing retention because as gym owners, we know it’s harder and harder and more expensive than ever to get a new client. Retention is more important than ever. Referrals are more important than ever. Peer to peer marketing, word of mouth is more important than it’s ever been. How do you get those things? Through client results. So I founded Two-Brain Coaching with Josh Martin to get coaches the skills they actually need to make a career in fitness instead of just familiarity with a methodology. Twobraincoaching.com has courses to help you start a career with personal training, to scale up with group training, both in person and online, and to diversify with nutrition, coaching, and mindset coaching. We have the best programs in the industry that will prepare you and your coaches to deliver any method that you love now or you might love 10 years from now. Twobraincoaching is really a project of love for me. And if you visit twobraincoaching.com, you’ll get a ton of free resources, just like we produce every day on twobrainbusiness.com.
Thank you for having me.
Congratulations on winning the coach education award.
Thank you very, very excited, very honored and humbled to be able to do that.
Many gym owners kind of focus on becoming great coaches themselves. What made you shift your focus towards building the best team you could?
Well, you know, as Two-Brain teaches, and as you learn throughout years of experience with a business, you have to figure out a way to make that business sustainable without you as the owner and coach delivering the product on a day-to-day basis. So it’s super important to be able to find people who fit your culture, fit your values and can deliver at the level that you expect. Whether it be on the coaching floor, which is essentially our product, as well as from a business perspective behind the scenes.
So, I, over the years we’ve been open, actually coming up exactly on nine years I’ve realized I really enjoy the business side of things, building systems, having that visionary aspect to the business. And I’ve known that I wanted to pull myself away from the coaching floor a little bit more, but in order to do that, we have to make sure we have the right team to be able to coach those classes. So that’s been important for us to over the last nine years, figure out, and we’ve played with hundreds of different ways of incentivizing, as well as educating our coaching staff to make them the best coaching staff we possibly can. Which has been a challenge, but also fun over the last nine years.
You started this process nine years ago, when did you feel like you really kind of hit your stride with your team?
Well, believe it or not, when we started with Two-Brain was a very instrumental period for us to kind of really understand how important it is to have processes put in place, systems put in place in order for us to make this a sustainable business. So I would say we started with Two-Brain. I always get the date wrong, but you know, three years ago or so, I’ve always followed a lot of Chris Cooper’s material and it was really important for us to finally pull the trigger, pay for mentorship, get them, get them a monthly call. And that’s been instrumental for us is just being able to, I have a co-founder Peter Brasovan who’s also a Two-Brain business mentor himself. And prior to that, he and I both just bounced ideas back and forth, and we compliment each other really well, but we really needed a third party to help us filter our ideas, filter a lot of things going on. So once we hired a mentor, had a mentor to do that, that’s when we really started to feel our stride kick in, you know, we always use the analogy with our very first mentor, old-school mentor, Brian Alexander with Two-Brain, was we had a really big ship. We have two locations, do really well from a revenue perspective, but we have a really big ship. So it’s harder to make turns and to get that ship going in the right direction. So I think once we started with Two-Brain, we were able to start getting in the right direction and getting our entire team on that same boat.
When COVID hit, a lot of gyms had to close up or let staff go. But you, on the other hand, managed to promote staff to COO and CXO positions. Can you tell me how that sort of played out?
Yeah, so Peter and I, uh, again, we’ve been really looking to find ways to separate ourselves from the day-to-day of our business. And it’s been a goal of ours for over two years now to bring on executive level roles. So those individuals, you know, from operations perspective could handle the day-to-day and from a customer service perspective could handle, you know, client retention and making sure that the systems are all in place for that. So it’s been a goal of ours for a really long time. And as soon as COVID hit, we pivoted to do a online virtual platform using zoom and other medias, which a lot of gyms had to do. A lot of different businesses had to do. So Peter and I kind of sat down for a little while as that was happening.
I was like, why don’t we take this opportunity to give them a chance to prove to us that they can, you know, and when I say they it’s the individual who took this, we have a chief experience officer and a chief operations officer. And so we were like, run this platform of the virtual platform, see how you do, and we’ll help guide you and mentor you through that as we’re in COVID and it really did very well, and we were very impressed with their initiative, their leadership, the amount of time and hours and energy they put into making sure that our members stuck with us in order for our business to survive. So when we came out of quarantine, it was almost a no brainer at that point to continue to keep them in those roles as we moved back into a physical space.
So it was almost serendipitous to an extent where we knew a goal of 2020 was to hire executive level roles. We didn’t realize that a worldwide pandemic was going to be the catalyst for us to do that, but it turned out to be that way. And I, you know, I’ve heard a lot of different business mentors speak about how COVID and quarantine specifically just turned into a magnifier for businesses. You really had to cut expenses. You really had to go lean. You really had to, you know, make decisions that you should’ve probably made a long time ago, but didn’t, and now you’re forced to, which we’re, we’re in that category, in that same boat that, it helped us tremendously from that standpoint.
When it comes to staffing, what do you think you’re doing differently than setting you apart from other gyms?
Trying everything. So, we’ve gone down that route in the last nine years of, you know, doing like a pay per role where you get paid this dollar amount for this role. And you have, you know, 15 different roles, 10 different roles, five different roles depending on where you’re at in the business. We’ve done salaries before where it’s, here’s the salary and go do work. And, you know, sometimes I feel like a pure salary perspective breeds laziness. And that’s not for everyone, but sometimes I feel in a sense of, you know, you know, you have a consistent income, so you’re going to do the least amount of work to make that consistent income. That’s just how human nature and people’s brains work sometimes. So we then shifted into kind of a hybrid model where there’s a pay per role aspect, as well as a salary aspect.
So do this chunk of work, you know, most often some sort of business administrative, professional work for the salary. And then if you’re coaching classes, doing foundations, doing PT, then you have this hourly rate you’re getting for those roles. So that’s kind of where we’re at now, playing with that perspective of more of a hybrid and it’s been successful, but it’s also been challenging to kind of figure out, especially now that our revenue is variable in a sense of COVID, you know, we’re not where we were early 2020 numbers were not where we were pre COVID numbers. So we’re trying to work our way back to those numbers. So it’s been a little rocky right now, just because of everything that’s going on in our current economic climate.
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So EOS is entrepreneur’s operating system. So it was created by Gino Wickman, who is a founder. Really what it is, is taking all the different business tools in the world that, you know, different people, different business experts have come up with and packaging those tools in a system that just works well for a business. So it’s nothing, it’s completely different than what Two-Brain does from a business perspective. It just, for us, we have a little bit bigger operation from a gym perspective, there’s, you know, we have a leadership team of six of us, and then below that we have program leads as well. So within EOS there’s five foundational tools, the first one is creating an accountability chart. So accountability charts, just like your old school org chart. But really what it does is it breaks up with us specifically, they really talk about an integrator and they talk about the visionary and the visionary and integrator, typically the co-founders of the business and the visionary is the person who’s, you know, really focusing on the culture, the values of the people within that business, thinking 10 years ahead, 15 years ahead, focusing on the branding, the image and the integrator is mostly the person who’s running the day to day and making sure people are doing what they should be doing.
And they also typically have a finance background or really enjoy numbers. And for us, it was a perfect situation because I am that visionary person, Peter, my co-founder, is that integrator individual. And then below them, you have your core systems, again, nothing different than what Two-Brain teaches in a sense of, you have a customer service and sales, you have operations, you have HR, admin finance, and then, you know, between those, and then you have operations as well. Sorry. So you have like either three or four main leadership roles, which we have exactly that. And so it worked out really well with this accountability chart to have a leadership team. And within that, they have a meeting pulse, which is structured meetings. So every week we meet for 90 minutes amongst the six of us, and really knock out different issues that are going on with the business.
So the idea of having that one 90 minute meeting per week gets rid of all the other meetings that we were having previously. So we tackle all the issues, all the problems within the business during that one meeting, and it’s been pretty instrumental. And then there’s, I can go into more detail and I don’t want to bore you with it all. But within that whole structure, it’s just accountability, it’s clarity. And everyone knows, and everyone sees what their to do lists are, what they’re accountable for, what their rocks are. So rocks are, you know, big, giant goals that are placed on a 90 day timeframe. So every 90 days you set one, two, three big rocks within the company, and then every single week we’re holding each other accountable to those and deciding whether we’re on track off track and then helping each other if they’re not. And then there’s a dashboard. So a data slash scorecard, again, very similar where we’re just keeping track of metrics and watching those numbers on a weekly basis versus a monthly basis, or really tracking leading indicators versus lagging indicators. So we can make changes and be more flexible with the business rather than kind of be like, Oh, we were way behind our revenue. Well, we can’t do anything about that now because that’s a month ago. And so we’re trying to stay ahead of that as much as we can.
Do you enjoy staff development, or is it something that you’ve grown to become more fond of over time?
I would say I’ve become more fond of it over time. I really enjo, learning how to be best leader I can be. I love learning about leadership. I love learning about making people, optimizing people, making them best versions of themselves. And, you know, I’m a firm believer in, you know, learning for a lifetime is where people should be. You won’t get old if you’re always continuously learning. So I really try to, you know, one of our values is being growth oriented, and that’s something that we really hammer home with our staff. And so I do get excited about that. I will say managing people is way harder than I ever would have imagined in my life. And just people are just challenging in general and not in a bad way. It’s just, that’s just where we’re at.
And it goes all the way back to, you know, empathy and you don’t know what’s going on in their lives, what’s going on in their head. And they don’t know what’s going on in my head and what’s going on in my life and what’s going on in my monkey brain because something, you know, my dog chewed my daughter’s toy in the morning and now I’m upset or whatever the case may be. People just don’t know what’s going on. So, but I also love that aspect of trying to, you know, be empathetic to those different situations because every situation is completely different.
What do you say to the gym owner who’s currently struggling with staffing?
I would say you’re not alone. Everyone is struggling with staffing. I think that’s one of the biggest pieces that we see on the Two-Brain forums, the growth groups, anything even outside of Two-Brain in the fitness industry and just about any industry, you know, finding the right people, putting the right people in the right seats is a very challenging part of any business. And you’re not going to get it right the first time. You probably won’t get it right the second time. But eventually when you get the right people around you who are challenging you from different aspects, and I don’t like being challenged, I’ll be transparent on that. And I struggle with that. But I know that’s good for me and good for our business because that means change is happening and change is all about evolution. But I would say don’t give up on anyone who’s looking, or needs advice is just don’t give up.
You will find the right person eventually, and it’s really finding someone who complements your skills rather than it as being identical to you is, is something that I think is missed often in the business world where, you know, EOS did a great job of kind of making me understand a visionary integrator and Peter and I were already doing that without even knowing it where I have always been more of the creative and he’s been more of the finance numbers. So, you know, you don’t want to have everyone on your team be creative because no one’s gonna ever do anything. There’s going to be no action. So it’s really important to know what you’re hiring for and what you’re looking for in a specific role. And in a specific staff member. So just as we always talk about making sure we write out those roles and responsibilities and are as clear as day on expectations of what success looks like, because if you don’t know what success looks like, how does anyone else? And so then how can you hire that spot? Or how can you find that right staff member? You don’t even know what you’re looking for. Right.
What are you most excited for in the future of NapTown Fitness. I love that name by the way.
Yeah. Which is really funny, for my answer here, because I’m really excited for our rebrand. It’s interesting. Cause here locally people understand like NapTown is Indianapolis. That’s where that’s where NapTown comes from. And there’s another city and Annapolis, Maryland is also known as NapTown because of the way Annapolis. And we actually, when we first were CrossFit NapTown and bought CrossFitnaptown.com back in 2011, we actually found out that Annapolis owned that and they weren’t supposed to own that at the time. So we had to actually go through a scenario to get that from them. But, anyways, I’m really excited about the rebrand because a lot of people, to your point don’t, don’t understand what NapTownis. It’s just the nickname of Indianapolis. And this actually used to be a negatively connotated name to Indianapolis because it was a sleepy city.
So that’s another reason why it was called NapTown. Back in the sixties, seventies and eighties used to close downtown, used to close at 10:00 PM. And there weren’t really bars downtown. And since then, you know, being 2020, that whole scenario has changed where it’s, it’s a big, giant thriving city now is doing really, really well. Comparative to a lot of other cities, you know, Nashville, Austin, like were having very high growth trajectory. So we’re just trying to rebrand ourselves, reposition ourselves, especially if we decide to take our business, or any aspects of our business outside of just Indianapolis. We felt like it was a better decision to rebrand ourselves. And you know, when people are zigging, we should be zagging and making those sorts of changes. So we hired a design firm that we’ve been wanting to hire for a long time.
They’re here locally, Indianapolis. And I think beginning of 2021, we should have some, a complete rebrand strategy coming out and we’re really, really, really excited about that. And then also we have a building that we bought that we’re moving our current second location to that space. We’re building that out. We’re actually in the design phase right now with sketches with an architect and then hopefully Q2 Q3 of 2021. We’ll have that new building up and running and it’s more than just a gym. It’s going to have a coffee shop in it. It’s going to have tenants in the basement and it’s going to have NapTown fitness for about 5,000 square feet in it. So next year we’re highly invested in next year, or I shouldn’t say in just next year, but we’re highly invested into the future right now. It’s just beyond excited for what we have going on.
Well, that’s amazing. I kind of want to move to Indianapolis now.
Maybe I should be in sales.
Thanks so much for your time today.
I really appreciate it.
That was Tiffany Thompson on Two-Brain Radio. If you currently work with Two-Brain, ask yourself, What would it take to win this award next year, then take action. And if you don’t work with us yet, be sure to join the Facebook group, Gym Owners United, where you’ll find advice from Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper. Every day, he’ll tell you how to improve your business for free. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio, subscribe for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.