5 Daily Steps to Build an Excellent Gym—#UNBREAKABLE55

Picture of Chris Cooper

Andrew (00:02):

This is Two-Brain Radio. In this special episode, Chris Cooper gives you five tasks you can do every day to build an unbreakable business. It’s our unbreakable55 challenge, and you’ll find accountability and support during the challenge in the Facebook group Gym Owners United. Now here’s Two-Brain founder, Chris Cooper with your daily tasks.

Chris (00:21):

Back to the show in just a minute. The people at Incite Tax know you’re working long hours to improve health for the world, but it can still be hard to turn a profit. You just can’t focus on your mission without money in your account. So Incite founder John Briggs wrote “Profit First for Mirogyms” and created a system that increases your cashflow so you can be home for dinner with a thriving fitness business. Bookkeeping, profit first, cash flow consulting, taxes, whatever your financial needs, Incite can help. Join their free five-day challenge at profitfirstfor microgyms/five days to get a snapshot of the financial health of your gym. That’s profitfirstformicrogyms/five days. Every day, I write about how to build an excellent gym. It requires doing the basics consistently with excellence, not finding the next great idea, not optimizing your funnel and not even becoming the most certified coach, but doing the basics consistently with excellence.

Chris (01:21):

And so I’ve issued gym owners the unbreakable55 day challenge to help you refocus on what’s really important, gain some traction and maybe reevaluate what your business is and how you deliver it. The challenge is basically this for 55 days. I want you to do the common uncommonly well. The tasks that I’m about to give you are simple, but not easy. And if you do each one five days out of each week, you will grow your business. Here’s how it works. On five days out of each week, so Monday to Friday usually, perform each one of these five tasks until you’ve reached 55 days total. Here are the tasks. First do one goal review session with a client. Second publish one piece of content. Third, write down and implement one process improvement. Fourth, praise one staff member. Five, talk to one new person about your business.

Chris (02:21):

Now I’ve given you some instructions in this blog post, but the bottom line is I want you to focus on doing these small, actionable things instead of scrambling and filling up your day, trying to do everything like, Oh, we’ve got to boost our Instagram account. We’ve got to get stuff on YouTube. We’ve got to do this nurture, recapture software. You know, all this stuff, right? I want you to download a chart that will help you track your progress. You can do that on the link below, and then I want you to join our Facebook group called Gym Owners United. This is a public group. It’s not our private mentorship group. And you just have to post I’m in, #unbreakable55. Then we’ll help by holding you to it. And I’ll also help by chiming in to help you through your most common challenges with the unbreakable55 challenge.

Chris (03:07):

Because even though it’s simple, it’s not easy. So here are the five steps that you have to do again. And then I’m going to tell you why this is so effective and the biggest struggles that people are having so far and how to get over them. So first the five things that you have to do five days a week for the next 55 days is number one, do one goal review session with a client. Number two, publish one piece of content. Number three, write down and implement one process improvement. Number four, praise one staff member, and number five, talk to one new person about your business. That last one is the toughest. Now here are the struggles that people are having after their first week. So I can help you get a head start. Number one, do one goal review session with a client.

Chris (03:55):

The challenge for most people is getting a client to commit to doing a goal review session with them. This is a huge part of the prescriptive model. It’s crazy important if you’re going to develop a coaching business, which you own, but a lot of times, if you’re trying to introduce goal reviews to clients who haven’t done them before, they can say, well, what do you mean? Why do I need to make time for that? Or are you just trying to upsell me on something? So here’s what I do. I grab a client after class and I say, Hey, Jim, do you have 10 minutes right now where we can just go in the office and just chat about how your progress is going or chat about your goals. And if Jim says I gotta get back to work, or actually I gotta bust home.

Chris (04:36):

I gotta get my kids to basketball practice. I’ll say, that’s cool. When’s the next time you’re in. OK. Can you spare 10 minutes before or after? What’s better for you. And then I’ll block that out of my schedule. So that’s the easiest thing is to grab somebody in person. The hard thing for a lot of coaches that holds them back from doing this though, is the feeling that like, they’re gonna go upsell the client. That’s not the case. When I started doing goal reviews in my gym, we had already been running the gym for about eight years. And so it was foreign to my clients when I started, too. But what I found was that I was down selling our service about a third of the time. I was upselling our service about a third of the time and the rest of the time 40%, I was saying, you’re doing great high five.

Chris (05:20):

I’m glad you’re happy. And then moving on to the next thing. So I don’t want you to put up an imaginary mental block about doing this by thinking is just an upsell process. Basically what you’re doing is asking a client, are you happy with your progress? If they’re not, you’re going to change it, change their prescription. So that might be do less. It might be do more. If it’s do less, they’re going to pay less. If it’s do more, they’re going to pay more. And that’s just how good coaching works. The biggest challenge that people have with the second goal of the unbreakable55 is publishing one piece of content. Now I want to be clear here. This is tough because putting up a post on Instagram is not publishing content. Content is either a video or a blog post period. It’s something that will guide people back to your site.

Chris (06:10):

Now you can link to those blog posts on your amplifiers. You can post a link on Facebook. You can post a link on Instagram, on Twitter, wherever you want, but ultimately your content pulls people from those platforms back to your site, your content exists to establish your authority. It exists to tell people that you are the expert and when you’re doing content really well; it’s the foundation of your marketing plan. Content is the reason that people in your town call you and say, Hey, Chris, I’ve tried everything else. What should I do next? Or, Hey Chris, do you think that I should be doing the zone diet? Or should I be trying paleo? That’s the one that we got a lot about three years ago. That means that people trust you enough to be the authority, to tell them exactly what to do. And when you have that kind of trust in your local market, selling is not really selling at all.

Chris (07:01):

It’s just telling people do this. And if you offer that service, then they’ll buy it. So we want you to publish a piece of content. I want it to be either a video or a blog post. Some people they want to do podcasts. I don’t think podcasts are as effective. The important thing here though, is that you publish something on your website and then you share it on your amplifiers. The hardest part is getting started. And so the best thing that you can do is walk down to your local convenience store, drug mart, whatever, look at their magazine rack. OK. Take a picture of the titles in the magazines for like men’s health and women’s fitness magazines. Look at the titles that are on the covers of these magazines. Then I want you to go back, think about these titles. Think about one that stands out to you and then write your own blog post on that topic.

Chris (07:52):

These magazines pay people to tell them which titles would make them more likely to buy the magazines. OK? Now your blog probably won’t be the same as what they write. I’ll tell you that right now, but that actually fires me up when I see something published and I think that’s crap. I’m going to write the truth. I go back and do that. And that’s what helps me produce content every day. We ran a 30 day content challenge, not long ago. Our clients who completed the challenge saw an uptick in their sales by the end, and always to higher value clients. More on that topic in just a second. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by AGuard, providing elite insurance for fitness and sport. AGuard offers coverage for functional fitness facilities, mixed martial arts gyms and even events and competitions. You can also get access to healthcare insurance, discounted AEDs and discounted background checks. AGuard’s coverage options are designed to keep you safe. To find out more, visit affiliateguard.info.

Chris (08:49):

The third item on the 55 day unbreakable55 challenge is to write down and implement one process improvement. So I was thinking about this yesterday, while I was cutting wood. The biggest challenge that people have is saying like, what’s a process. What am I writing down here? And so the best place to start is to think if I got sick tomorrow and I couldn’t make it in, what is the email that I would send to the coach that’s replacing me? Or what instructions would I give to the gym manager? Or what would I tell the staff person to do when I’m not there? If I wanted to make sure that it was done exactly the way that I would do it? Cleaning is a good example. You’ve never hired a cleaner before, but the gym has to be cleaned and sanitized after every class.

Chris (09:35):

Usually you’re the one that does it. You’re sick. You can’t do it. Write down exactly how you do it and send it to your staff person. Now you can keep doing this and finding more processes to upgrade by looking at your business, through the eyes of your client. And in some of the daily briefs, I shared some exercises, but here’s one. Park your car in your parking lot. OK? Pretend you’re a client. Walk in through your front door. How should that client be greeted? What should they see, hear and smell? Write those down into a process so that the person who opens your gym in the morning follows those steps. For me, I’ve found that when I’m writing up my opening process, my opening checklist, I have to go step by step, step one, unlock the door. Step two, turn on the light, the switch is to your left.

Chris (10:25):

Step three, you know, put your things in the office, et cetera. I have to tell staff what radio station to turn to so that I’m not wondering if they’re playing the wrong stuff. I have to tell staff, you know, have all of the lights on in the gym so that clients are greeted with a bright, warm, welcoming environment, et cetera. Think about where you’re irreplaceable and then write that down because you are replaceable if you get it out of your head and onto paper. The fourth step is to praise one staff member. Now there are a lot of ways to praise people. One way is to say good job and give them a high five. That’s cool, but it doesn’t really stick around with them long. The best way to praise people is to publish something about them, to be caught complimenting them to somebody else, to tell their story, to put them in the spotlight, to share your stage with them.

Chris (11:14):

So what I would do is interview each of my staff in turn. So first I would grab my camera, my phone. And I would say, tell us your story. You know, what brought you to the gym? That’s part one, that’s a great piece of content. It’s a great way to praise your staff member, publish that. It solves two things on your checklist. Here’s a hint, put that on YouTube, then share it on your website and then amplify that website post on your social media channels. That’s how you really praise somebody and make them feel amazing. You could do an evaluation. You could sit down with your staff member, go through their evaluation and start with the things that they need to be praised on, the things doing really well. Then give them one thing to work on for improvement, and then finish with another thing that they’re doing really well on.

Chris (12:03):

It’s this like the easiest task on the list. But as you go on and you get into day 40 50, it might become tough to find ways to do this. So that means, you know, looking at your staff member, finding specific things to comment on, and then telling them that. It means publishing their story. It means bragging them up to other people. The fifth thing in the unbreakable55 challenge is the toughest. It’s talk to one new person about your business. This is tough, but critically important. Way too many people think that they’re going to grow their business by advertising. Marketing and advertising are different things. Marketing means encouraging strangers to buy your product. Advertising means displaying your message. Now there’s different kinds of advertising. Seth Godin is going to talk about that at our summit this year. But the bottom line is that you’re the foundation of your marketing plan is not advertising, it’s connection.

Chris (13:03):

So when you’re building a marketing plan, you’re going to start with the people who are already at your gym and ask, how can I increase the value of what I’m selling them? Then you’re going to turn to referrals. So who are the people closest to my best clients? And you’re going to use a process called affinity marketing to meet those people. That’s where talk to one new person about your business has the greatest effect. You’re talking to people who you maybe haven’t met yet, but they already know like, and trust you because their wife, their best friend, their coworker comes to see you already. And so you just need to start those conversations. The next people that you should turn to are the people in your immediate geographical location. Who are your neighbors? Take them coffee. The specific strategy that I would follow is this.

Chris (13:53):

Grab four coffees from the local coffee shop, put them in a tray, walk next door to your neighbor. All you have to say is, Hey, I’m Chris. I own a gym next door how’s business. You’re not trying to set them up to sell them anything. You’re not trying to establish a cross referral program and a point system or anything like that. All you’re doing is making eye contact and shaking hands. Conversations are greater, more important than SEO. Meeting people is way more important than any kind of discount or referral fee that you pay your clients. You want to create a black hole around your gym of knowledge, care, and trust so that when somebody is visiting the barbershop across the road, and they’re trying to make conversation with the person cutting their hair. And they say what’s with that gym over there, the hairdresser says, Oh, that’s Chris’s gym.

Chris (14:49):

He’s awesome. I love it. I go to 7:00 AM group before work. Conversations are a long process. You’re not going to close a sale or convert anybody the first time you meet them. But what you can do is put a warm, good cup of coffee in their hand. And if there are anything like me, that is the quickest way to their heart. The key to unbreakable55, why it works, is simple. It’s focus. It’s do these things over and over until you become good at them. What really hampers gym owners right now is not lack of ideas, right? We can go to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, blog posts. I mean, I publish an idea for you every single day. I’ve been doing it for 10 years. You can just do that, but there’s so much overwhelm out there that you’re not sure what you should do when you should do it.

Chris (15:38):

If it’s most appropriate for you, what’s most urgent. What’s most important to your gym, which one’s actually gonna move the needle. So the key to what we do is mentorship and mentorship is really all about focus and action. That’s where the unbreakable55 challenge is all about: focus and action. I’m going to give you very specific things to do, focus, and then I’m going to hold you accountable for taking action. That’s the action part. That’s why we’re called Two-Brain Business: focus and action. So if you complete this and you do this five days a week and you get 55 days checked off, your business will improve. You will be a better entrepreneur for the rest of your life. It’s not just about the short uptick in leads generated, or even revenue. It’s about building the habits that will make your business more powerful and will make you a better entrepreneur. If you take the unbreakable55 challenge, good luck to you. It’s not easy. If you don’t take it, that’s OK. You can still work on focusing on these five things and growing your business that way.

Andrew (16:37):

Are you up for Coop’s challenge? If so, head to Gym Owners United on Facebook and post “I’m in.” Follow along as Chris gives you tips and advice and chime in with questions, challenges, and victories. Build an unbreakable gym. Head to Facebook now and join Gym Owners United. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio.


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One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.