Why don’t your staff members get it? If you’ve got an amazing vision for your business, but you are struggling to implement it, this is the show for you. Two-Brain mentor Kaleda Connell is here to tell you how to make your vision operational so it permeates every aspect of your business. Kaleda here, right after this.
Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Forever Fierce. Reach out to them to sell more apparel or retail items. Matt Albrizio and his team will save you time with templates. They’ll provide ideas and tell you what’s selling best. And they’ll supply marketing material and preorder sheets. If you want to get serious about apparel and retail, visit foreverfierce.com.Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin. In this episode, we’re going to talk about taking your vision out of your mind and making it a reality, something your staff can buy into and your clients understand. To guide us, we’ve got certified Two-Brain mentor Kaleda Connell right here. Kaleda. Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. How are you doing?
I’m excellent. Thanks for having me, Mike.
I know you are a world traveler, but in a pandemic, it’s tough to do that. Where are you at right now?
So, yeah, I was traveling from January until, I don’t know. Was it March 17th? Was that the day? I don’t know if I remember, but yeah, I’m just outside of Toronto. I was in Toronto for a couple of weeks or a couple months, and now I’m in Stratford, Ontario.
And as a Two-Brain mentor, I’m sure you are dealing with all sorts of daily emergencies and crises as this whole thing develops.
Yeah, actually it’s been really, I’m gonna use the word interesting to describe it. I mean, as with most of our mentors, we do have clients all over the world. So I have some in Canada, all over Canada, all over the States and some in the UK as well. So it’s been interesting to watch how the world and its people progress through his thing. So, I’m just glad that I’m on a side that can give people hope for sure.
Yeah. And it’s really cool to see what you guys are doing for clients. We’re going to talk about one of the things that’s such a huge part of our ramp up program and actually helps clients in times of crisis. And that’s having a vision and Two-Brain teaches our clients how to create a vision and why it becomes, you know, sort of the foundation of a business. I want to ask you before we get into establishing it and implementing it, why does a business even need a vision? Like, what is this thing for? Is it just some airy fairy thing that we don’t really do? Or what is it for?
I have the same reaction when someone’s like, create a vision for something I’m like, Oh, this is so like airy fairy artsy fartsy, or seems woo-wooy, right?
But yeah, it’s actually super important because if you don’t have a vision or if you don’t understand where you’re going, you can’t make decisions based on that direction. It’s really just like a direction, it’s pointing you in the right area. Right. So, you know, I often say like, if we don’t know what we’re shooting for, it’s going to be awful hard for us to point that arrow at that target. And so by having a vision, it helps you make decisions, not only in big picture, but also in small picture, right? Like take a client is being mean to you or a client wants to cancel well, based on what your vision is, how are you going to handle that? Right. That’s just a really small example, but it can be from anything from, you know, what color is my building to, you know, how do I deal with this irate client. So direction is really the main thing there.
For people who are all about dollars and cents like entrepreneurs are looking at spreadsheets, profit and loss, having this concrete thing in place, even though it can be an abstract concept for people is going to help them in times of, I would say all the time, but in times of stress, especially, correct?
Oh, absolutely. I mean, yes, it helps in times of stress, but it also helps in times of like, when things are going really well, because oftentimes like you and I both know when things are going really well, that’s usually when we like do something dumb and stick the stick in the bike tire and really just like screw everything up. Right. But I think it’s important that you just said like, you know, people who are dollars and cents people, just because you have a vision doesn’t mean you can’t also have those dollars and cents thoughts. Right. There’s a big difference. And I think people kind of forget this, but there’s a big difference between your vision, which is like that long shot versus your mission, which are your mission statements, which are the things that are going to get you there. And those can be, you know, revenue number of clients. Those can be retention goals or, you know, like lifetime value and those kinds of things like you can have those things ingrained in it, but if you don’t know what the final picture looks like, you’re not gonna know how to define those things.
And we’re going to get to exactly how you can take that vision and make it concrete in the second half of the show, and you’re going to tell people exactly how to do that. I’m pumped about it first. I’ll give you an example of a vision statement. So this is Two-Brain’s vision statement. This is to make 1 million entrepreneurs wealthy. So that’s the goal and that’s what Chris Cooper and all of us are working toward to make a million entrepreneurs wealthy. And we focus obviously on the fitness industry, but we also have some people that are outside that industry. The goal though, that supersedes everything else. That’s what we are doing. And you talk about a mission statement. I’ll give you Two-Brain”s there as well, to be the world’s best education and mentorship practice. So that’s how we’re going to do it by being the best at what we do, which is provide education, mentorship to the business and particularly the fitness business community. So those are two examples and we do teach Two-Brain clients how to create these things, because it’s not enough to just say, I want to be a good gym. You have to kind of put some different thought into it and sort of find who you are. So let’s talk about that. How do you create a vision for a business and you know, what are some of the mistakes in making a statement that’s going to make it really hard to implement?
This is a really hard question. And it’s a really hard one, you know, for my clients, my mentees, to start thinking about, and that’s OK. Right. I think, we get really caught up in that like, Oh, I have to have a vision statement and it’s OK not to have one at the beginning. It’s OK to be super excited about this thing that you’re doing and just do it because you’re excited about it. Right. So when you’re starting a business, you don’t necessarily have to have a vision. And when I started my gym, I didn’t. As we started Gym Lead Machine, we like kind of had a vision, but it’s developed over time. So I want, you know, when you’re starting this process, don’t be like, you know, I have to have a vision or I can’t even start, don’t let that stop you. It’s OK to be excited about it. But as you start to like go forward and create this business, you’re going to realize that you’re excited about different things you have to realize, or you have to define why you’re excited about that thing that will help you sort of start to develop that business.
So you can backfill a vision statement as you go along, or you can even revise something that maybe wasn’t ideal.
Oh, absolutely. And I tell people this all the time when they come to me and they’ve, you know, maybe they’ve owned a gym, you know, I’ve had people who’ve owned gyms for 10 years and I have people who’ve just started their gym and they equally both struggle with this, and that’s fine. Right. But the main thing is like, it’s OK to not start with one. It’s OK to develop it over time and it’s OK to change it.
Yeah. You’re not stuck there. I cut you off. You had an example. So tell me what that example is.
Yeah. So the example with my gym is like, I just started a gym because like I was excited about being my own boss and I was excited about like, you know, fitness and whatever. And like, that was fine. Like I’m not gonna sugarcoat that like, I wanted to help people and whatever, like, yeah, that was cool. But really like, I liked CrossFit and I just want to do more of it. Like that is like, as deep as it got for me at the beginning. As I continued to build the gym and I, you know, I hired Two-Brain very, very early on. And if anyone’s listened to any of my previous podcasts, I know that like I was, I’m a Tw-Brainer at heart. But as I hired staff and as I built the gym and I continued to onboard these members, like there was a lot of like the same stuff happening. And it was actually my staff that really brought my vision to light. And that was really just like, Hey, we’re the happiest place in Seaforth. Right. And the way we got there, you know, that started to develop over time, but it took me two years to get there. And that feels like a long time for a lot of people.
But then once you had it, it probably guided you the whole time. And like, you know, the example that I give is like in the, in the recent crisis, as we’ve had, George Floyd’s murder, obviously, and we’ve had the pandemics with all this crazy stuff going on, where people have had to react. And when you have a vision statement, you can kind of rely on that. In an article that I wrote about social media tips, people are struggling to figure out what to say. And so if you have a vision statement, it kind of defines things. One of the things that, you know, I gave an example of was say a company that speaks about the environment and nothing else. That’s just always what they do. We are 100% focused on that, that kind of guides their response to some of these pandemic things.
It’s like, we only will speak about the pandemic in relation to how it affects the environment. That’s just what they do. And then there’s other ones that would say, you know, we speak up for equality. And so they’re obviously going to take a different stance and so forth, but having a specific vision statement, especially in a storm is going to give you some answers when you’re maybe panicked, not thinking straight. So I love that. You’re the happiest place in Seaforth. I can see exactly how that already is going to influence your marketing, your presentation, your classes, the things that you do, the way you train your staff, the way you do everything. Am I right?
Yeah. I mean, I think the number one thing that you would notice if you ever—now, I don’t own my gym anymore. Kelly Miller owns—
She looks happy too, though.
She is literally the most wonderful person I have ever met in my entire life. But yeah, she, one of the things that you would notice when you walked into our gym, it was like everyone got super excited to the point where that person was walking in the gym was like, Oh my gosh, people are like saying hello to me. And it was like, Hey, like, how are you? And it was like such a loud, positive experience. So like you knew that we were the happy people.
We talked a little bit about kind of not having one and developing one. And won’t get into the exact steps of like developing one because we do teach people that, and there is a process for it, but just a simple short version. If someone is out there right now, trying to figure out where do I start? How would you start thinking about a vision statement? Is there a list that you would make are the pros and cons of things? Or how would you do it?
Yeah. So the first thing I usually do with clients, cause I know this is a scary thing. People are like, Oh, my vision statement has to be super fancy and it has to be, you know, like all these, you know, you look at the vision statements from some of these large companies and they’re like very grand and wordy and that kind of thing. They don’t have to be that way. Happiest place in Seaforth is easy. It rolls off the tongue. Right. But the first thing that I get people to do is just write down words that mean something to you. Now. And in Two-Brain, sometimes we’ll do the values exercise because that really like, that will start to bring out some of those things. And it’s an easier way to think about it. And if I was to do the value exercise, I would say, you know, like who’s the most influential person in your life and why?
Like, what were the lessons that they taught you? And one was my dad. He was literally the goofiest, happiest person, lived the most. Like he lived the life in the shortest amount of time that anyone probably could. And so like that really drove me forward. And so like we were over the top because my dad was over the top. Right. So we were always over the top. We were doing all this crazy stuff, but like figure out who those people are, what values they brought to your life, or just write down words that mean something to you. And just start there once you kind of figure that out, it’ll start to develop.
Yeah. So that’s, you’re taking just, you know, important words and it could be like honesty or character or determination or whatever. So you’re putting down words that like inspire you and kind of define things that you hold dear. And then you’re also writing down people who, whether you know it or not are living the values that you appreciate it. So you’re, you’re finding people and figuring out like, I really admire X, what does X do that I can steal essentially and put into your vision statement. So it’s those two things, looking inside yourself, but then also trying to figure out what the people around you are giving to your life.
Yeah, exactly. And, you know, like honesty and respect and those kinds of things. Like those are to me, very stuffy kind of words. I’m maybe I’m a more simple human than most people, but like, you know, you’re allowed to just write fun, right? Like it keep it simple is my number one recommendation when you’re writing a vision statement or trying to figure this out is keep it as simple as possible. Make it fancy later.
I’ll take that one further. I’ll tell you to keep it simple. No matter what you’re writing, not a vision statement because I see people whenever, like, especially gym owners trying to blog, as soon as they feel like I have to blog and they must use florid language and speak in an elevated tone, like lawyers and were like, no, you just say what you need to say from the heart. It’s going to come out better than trying to use a bunch of words that, you know, you don’t need to use. So I agree with you. Simple is probably better than like, I love your mission statement from the gym. I also love the Two-Brain one where it’s simple, we’re helping people make money. Right. And that’s very, very clear if you go back to StoryBrand principles and some of the stuff that we’re doing with like websites and things, these are the blunt things that people need to be able to understand things in five seconds or less. Your mission statement and vision statement should do that.
That’s such a good point, Mike, because you know, when, as we’ve developed Gym Lead Machine, we have these gym owners coming to us with their sort of vision statements and things like that on their website. And it sometimes depending on how lengthy they are, they do get a little bit lost. And so it’s our job to say, like, let’s keep this simple, right? If people can’t understand what you’re doing, they don’t know exactly what you do right away. Like let’s figure out a way that they will, based on what you’re trying to tell us. Right. And it’s easy when you look at Gym Lead Machine as well. If we take that as an example for a vision statement, I mean, what are we doing? We’re taking the heavy lifting off the gym owner so they can go do what they do best, which is run their gym. Like let us do all the hard stuff so you can go have fun.
This is actually a good place for me to mention something about Gym Lead Machine. We’ll get back to Kaleda in just a minute. Website designer, marketer, landing page software, a calendar, a CRM, and a form builder, communication platform and connecting software? You can get rid of all of it by switching to Gym Lead Machine. I use this platform along Chris Cooper and 60% of the Two-Brain mentorship team. The average gym owner saves over 300 bucks a month with Gym Lead Machine and they’ll waive the thousand dollars set-up fee for Two-Brain Radio listeners. Switching is easy and you can go live in a week, visit gymlead machine.com to watch a demo and book a sales call.
We teach you one on one with a mentor, how to do it. There are steps to do it. You can certainly read books and play with it. Chris Cooper has hired Cameron Herold, the author of “Vivid Vision,” pardon me, to speak at the Two-Brain Summit in September online, you might want to pick up that book. He also has a TEDx talk called your vision sucks. So those are some resources for you to create your vision statement. Now, Kaleda I know that you are big into operations and systems and paperwork and things like that. So let’s go step by step. You’ve got this brilliant brand new vision statement that you may or may not revise, but you have one now, what are you doing? How do you make it happen in your business?
This is really funny. Cause sometimes, you know, you’ve got a vision statement and your gym is 10 years old. So it’s like starting from scratch again. And this is that’s actually really hard. But the best thing for you to do is just keep repeating it, repeat it, repeat it, repeat it until you feel it, until your staff feel it, until your clients feel it. You just keep repeating it. You repeat it in everything you do. So you implement it in your SOPs. You implement it in your classes, you implement it in whatever it is that you’re doing. And it could be something as simple as like I mentioned earlier, how you greet people, right? But the more that you repeat it and in everything that you do, the more that it’s going to become more ingrained. And then the point that you realize that like, this is actually happening is when your staff or your clients repeat it back to you.
That was something for me. And I realized this, at our gym, we had a vision statement very early on. So I sat down before we opened and created one. But I never told anyone about it or made it as prominent as it should have been. And so later on, I was frustrated like why doesn’t anybody know what we stand for and what we do because I hadn’t done it. It was totally my fault. I hadn’t told people enough and I hadn’t gotten it out there. It was on, you know, it was on a thing that I posted on the wall, but nobody reads that stuff unless you actually tell it to them. And this really circles back to your earlier point, it would be great if your statement or your vision was something simple, you could say regularly without having to read, you know, a 700 word monologue to everyone about the efficacy of our fitness program and so forth. Right. Like, you know, if it’s just like, we make people healthy and fit that you can say a million different ways, a million different times and hammer that vision home. So for you, when you put this thing in place, how long did it take until you started hearing it echo back to you at your gym?
Yeah, the fact that my staff actually made it for me was, so they said it before I did. I mean, time-based, I don’t know if I can tell you exactly how long, but it didn’t take long probably because my staff made it. But yeah, like everything that we did when it came to like our hashtag on Instagram and, you know, literally everything we posted was about, you know, how and why we were the happiest place in Seaforth. What made us that way? Why we’re there, you know, all that stuff. And it was so much easier for me to blog after I really made that public, like why we were doing what we were doing. And I don’t know. I don’t know if it was just like, it was something inside me, like gave me permission to tell people why we were doing what we’re doing, because I had figured it out in words. But we just started repeating it and it probably took six months before one our clients was like, Hey, I attended the happiest place in Seaforth today. And we posted it on Facebook and I was like, Oh, we’ve arrived.
Yeah. And it was glorious. Right. And that actually is a step on our Two-Brain Growth ToolKit. Is it not when you have, when you have clients repeat your vision back to you?
It is. And I was going to mention that because, you know, many of our clients, as we go through this COVID pandemic, they feel like they’re starting over and we’re actually not going to use the word backwards, but we’re sort of, you know, stepping back a little bit on our Growth ToolKit and saying, what is our vision? Is it the same as when we went through this or before we went through this or has it changed or is now a good opportunity to really change what you’re doing? And we’ve had answers, you know, across the board on that. Some people are staying the same. Some people are pivoting completely. And it’s like the second or third cell on the Growth ToolKit. It’s like, define it and tell your staff what it is. Right. And it’s surprising how many people, you know, still haven’t done that. But the more that you do it, the more that they’ll be able to repeat it back to you and yeah. That is a cell on the Growth ToolKit.
So that’s big, yeah. So that’s a big deal though, is like, the point is to start getting it out there, you have to tell people, and it’s not just, you know, you obviously can work on it staff meetings, you can do it in your marketing. You can do it in your organic stuff. Like just Facebook posts, blogs, things that you just put up. You can certainly do it inside your facility with different branding and things like that. So that’s the big step. And you bring up an interesting thing where you could certainly, as a business owner, make a vision statement with the staff correct. Like you could sit down with a group of five or six staff members and say, guys, what do we stand for? And what do we want to agree on here? Would that work?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, I relied on my staff heavily through any decision making that I made. I mean, not any, but most of the decision making that I made, I relied heavily on, you know, some key staff people. But I think if you don’t know what your vision statement is, that would be a very interesting exercise is to sit down with your staff and say, why are we here?
You know, what would be cool though is, and I think I’m going to, this probably happened to you where you maybe didn’t have a vision statement, but you exemplified something. And like, maybe it was that fun because of your dad and so forth. Like you had, you were doing something and maybe you didn’t exactly have it like written down and codified, but you certainly were doing something that your staff was able to pick up on. Right? Like I’m guessing that your personality permeated that business and that became part of it.
Absolutely. Some of the examples that I give with some of my mentorship clients is, you know, there was stuff that I was doing in classes that I can remember vividly that I didn’t even realize that I was doing that no one else did. And one of them was, you know, being a little bit ridiculous. So like, you know, like CrossFit is such like, sort of this elite thing sometimes, right. And, you know, who starts their classes with some kind of aerobics exercises just for fun and dresses up like a total weirdo. Right? Well, that was me because my dad did that and it made people happy. Right? My life is kind of this ridiculous series of unfortunate events that happened to me. And so like I would go away on the weekend and something wild would happen to me.
And I started every class with you guys, want to hear a funny story and they’d all look at each other and go oh, here we go. Right. What did she do now? And so it was these things that I was doing that I didn’t realize were such an important part of what we were doing until I stepped away and had someone else coaching the class. And some of our members would, and you’ll hear this a lot, but some, our members would say, it’s just not quite the same. Right. Then you run into the icon problem and so on and so forth. But if you figure out what it is that made that class so special, not you, but the class so special, then you can start to implement. So then you buy books that have just dad jokes in it so that all of your staff can research a dad joke and tell it at the beginning of every class, same feeling, right. Stuff like that.
And the icon problem for people who don’t know is when one person is seen as the absolute face and personality of the business, and no one else can do as good a job and so forth. And that happens sometimes by choice, where owners have an ego and say, I’m the only person who can ever do this. And what happens there is you are the only person who can ever do this and you end up doing everything forever. And if you want to solve the icon problem and ultimately ascend as an entrepreneur, you need to find a way to have other people do the jobs to your standards or better than you so you can move on to other stuff. And so a vision allows you to do that, where it really, I mean, Chris and you have talked to for sure, a lot about standard operating procedures.
And that is the stuff that tells staff members, how to do it in your absence. This is how we do it. And a vision statement is really like one of the gigantic, but maybe very short pieces of standard operating procedure where it’s like, we know that this place is fun. That means as a coach, I can’t come in and have a bad day. I don’t have to start the class with a dad joke, but I certainly have to make people smile. Right. So your staff probably like, did you hire people around that vision statement or did you hire people and have them buy in? How’d that go?
Oh man. I only hired happy people, only happy people. Now, if anybody doesn’t know where my gym was located and still is located again, owned by someone else, it’s in a town of 2,300 people and you’re an hour to an hour and a half to the closest major city. 45 minutes away from the closest affiliate gym actually. Now I think you’d have to drive at least an hour and a half. So it’s not a place that’s full of, you know, personal trainers and people in the fitness industry who have, you know, certifications and that kind of thing. So I had to build them. And that was OK because I felt like at the time, you know, I’m a pretty good teacher. So I can teach people these skills that they need in order to run a fitness class or teach someone how to squat or whatever it may be. But like, I can’t teach someone how to be happy and I can’t teach them how to be nice. And I can’t teach them, you know, these really amazing skills that are like these interpersonal skills. I can’t teach them that. So I hired based on those skills, which I know, you know, some purists might say that that’s not OK, but they, most of them turned out to be really, really great coaches and now one of them owns it.
I tend to agree with you. And I know there is the whole, there is a side of the fitness industry that says, you must have a university education achieve this status and these things and whatever, and figure how the sarcomere causes muscles to work. But really like you can learn that stuff and you can, you know, the criticism is always, Oh, you can’t learn how to teach someone to squat in a weekend. It’s like, you actually can, like, if you are, you know, you can learn how to teach someone to squat. Yes, there are tons more nuances and I understand all that, but you certainly can learn these things. And certainly in a year in a training program, or even less like Two-Brain Coaching has an amazing development program, you can learn how to teach fitness, but it’s going to take longer to fix character flaws. You know, like if someone’s just a jerk, it’s tough to get rid of that. And again, going back to your happy place, kind of defined your hiring process.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s not funny, but it’s ironic. I guess when I talk to gym owners all over the world and they have hired based on skill. And again, there’s nothing wrong with that because sometimes these are a lot of the times, these people that have these really amazing, like in university education, they are happy. They turn out to be great people. But the majority of the problems that I see are they only based on, or they only hire based on that characteristic and not, you know, how they interact with other people and they, you know, that kind of thing. But the most ironic thing that I hear is, ah, you know, there’s such a great coach, but. I’m like, well, we have to hire based on more than that. Like, I’m not gonna—if I was, you know, hiring a—anyone, like I’m not only going to hire based on the skill that’s on the resume, that’s why you do interviews.
That’s why you have most of the time a probationary contract period. Right. I always had a 90-day contract period and I was very clear and upfront with our staff and saying, this is 90 days. We’re going to trial each other. If you’re not happy or I’m not happy by the end of this, no harm, no foul, we’ll still be friends. Right. So I think, you know, a lot of us got out of this corporate sort of SOP rule world to get into this fun, you know, fitness-based be your own boss world. We forget that like some of that stuff that they do over there is actually really important and put in place for a really good reason.
Yeah. Standard operating procedures are not needed at the beginning because I’m having so much fun teaching thrusters, but when there’s no toilet paper, you know, maybe you probably needed to put that in place. And I was the same way where I rebelled against paperwork because I didn’t want to put all this structure on people, but I realized if I didn’t, I was going to let everyone down, including my clients. And so organization for us became that was part of our vision. And I didn’t state that in there, but it was like I wanted the place to run. And that’s why I ultimately start working with Two-Brain just so that everything would run properly so that we could provide the best service. And that was more along the lines of our mission statment, providing the best service. I couldn’t do it without all the other SOPs that came along with it.
Exactly, exactly. You can’t provide a good service without organization. And I think I was, you know, maybe more inclined to having a lot of these standard operating procedures in place because of my dad. So when I was, gosh, this was in 2012, my dad passed away in a very tragic and sudden motor vehicle accident. And, I shouldn’t laugh about this, but we found, so my dad was a farmer and he had many, many cattle for beef production. And we found that there was cattle in Quebec and Alberta that he owned, that we had no idea about that we somehow had to try and get home. So as you know, you’re going through funeral procedures and you’re going through, you know, capital gains and estate and all this stuff that’s like already super hard to deal with you know, when you’re 23 years old or 22 or however old I was when this was all going on, trying to be, I’m the oldest kid in our family
I’m like trying to hold everything together. And then you find out that there’s a hundred head of cattle in Alberta you gotta get home. Like if you didn’t, if dad didn’t—he have this written down, right. And if he did, it was on a scrap piece of paper, God knows where maybe in his truck. So very early on, I was like, if anything happens, like I need someone to be able to still help these people, or I need someone to be able to know where to find the money or whatever. And so very early on, I was, it was easy for me to write this stuff down, but then going back and like inserting your vision into some of those things is where the tricky stuff comes in.
I’ll ask you this because I know you work with a number of clients. So do you happen to have an example or it can be a composite of many people of how an owner has, like, even if you have a specific vision statement, I’ll put you on the spot. If you know, a really good one, or if not, you know, talk to me about how some of your clients are working right now to implement stuff in their business. What steps are they taking?
So, I’ll give one example because this is just one that comes to the forefront of my mind. Joel and Laura Gibson at Lampton Shores CrossFit, they unfortunately, they started their gym in December and they had to shut down 90 days later, which is super unfortunate, but this has given them some super clarity on what they really want to do. Right. They spent about three months grinding in a physical location when even though, I mean, I kinda knew that them staying in one spot for very long was kind of a pipe dream, but they’re world travelers. So they actually had a gym in Wuhan, China. They’ve moved to Seattle, they were teachers, they were these like just high energy people. And so they wanted to start a gym in Ontario. So they moved back to Ontario, start this gym, gets shut down.
They’re like, well, that was pretty cool being in one spot for three months, but let’s see if we can take this online. So they took advantage of this opportunity to say, let’s build the life we want. And that’s being able to deliver health and fitness online from anywhere in the world. Right. They’re still kind of working on their statement. I mean, it sounds similar to that. They’re still kind of working on it, but I mean, it’s like this nomad health and fitness type vision, right? So they’re figuring this out, but they’ve been able to really pivot based on exactly what they want out of their lives and then also be able to deliver, you know, a really good product based on what their clients want to cause a lot of these people are not going to want to come back to a gym. They’re OK working out at home.
So how, what are they doing now? Like this is fascinating. So they’ve started another new business quote unquote. Although I’m sure it has links to the previous one, but so how are they now communicating that vision outside? Like is their social media just kind of laced with this thing? Or how is it getting out to the world? Cause I’m not sure if they have staff or if it’s just them.
They don’t. Yeah. They don’t have staff. We were in the process of hiring a potential staff person as March went on. That didn’t happen. But they’re slowly changing things over. So, you know, they’re changing their website, they’re going to buy a new domain. They’re going to do all this stuff, but they’re slowly starting to get this out onto social media. And they have a small client base right now, but as they start to make those clients popular and as they start to keep repeating what it is they’re doing, like they kind of have to start this process over again. Right. But it’s all about repetition. Just keep repeating it in the same or similar ways. Eventually it’ll start to catch on, you’ll start to feel it, all your members will start to feel it, it’ll be ingrained in everything that you do. And yeah, that’s the short of it.
Would you do something like this? Would you take like a vision statement? Like, would you send it to members as part of their onboarding process? Or how would you, I mean, like you can embed it in all sorts of different ways and maybe not the exact statement, but just the character of it, but would you actually, would there be a spot in your onboarding process where you would say to the person, this is what we stand for?
Oh gosh yeah. So in our onboarding or previous onboarding process, I’m sure that Kelly has made it a lot better since I’m not there anymore. But I’m sure like what we used to do was there would be like, a six session onboarding or succession on-ramp. And in that on-ramp program, you would actually get delivered paper documents. Now save trees. I’m sure that it’s email now. But on the front of every one of those documents, our vision statement was, and we rewrote some of those documents as we went along to fit more of what we were doing and why, so, you know, why are we learning to squat in this way? Why are you learning one-on-one with a coach? Why do we teach nutrition this way? Why, you know, why, why, why? Well it’s because we want you to be happy. It’s because this is ingrained in what we do, right? So by answering why we do what we do and explaining it to your client, it becomes way easier for them to obviously understand what you’re doing and continue down that path because they feel like they’re part of something.
It’s really interesting because I just, I spoke to on the episodes just prior to you, Brian Strump and Brian Zimmerman and Dr. Strump told us about how to create 10-year clients. So like length of engagement of 10 years, he’s got a bunch of it as his gym. Brian Zimmerman told me about how your greatest business opportunity is in your onboarding process and both of them different, slightly different topics, but they both came back to the initial intake process and talked about all the things that you can do to create clients that last forever and get results and success. And it’s funny, cause you’re doing almost the exact same thing with the vision statement where you’re coming back to that initial process and saying in this initial 60, 90 day or whatever you want to call your initial onboarding period, you have this fertile ground in which to sow all these seeds that will become trees at some point, right?
And a lot of gym owners, like I never did that originally like back in 09 or whatever when we started training is like, you showed up for class, you gave me $7 and 50 cents. And we started doing workouts, no vision, no nothing. Right? Like it was just, you put the money in the pencil case and away we go. Eventually our onboarding process once I started working with Two-Brain, things change quite a bit. And you start looking at how do you actually set people up for success? And from your perspective here, you’re setting your business up for success by communicating this vision to your members. I’m going to guess that this probably helps you solve some of the seeds and weeds problems with clients where you have—seeds and weeds for listeners that don’t know is like, you’ve got these great clients. They’re amazing. You want to replicate them and make more of them. They’re the sould of your business. Those are seed clients. Then you’ve got the ones you don’t really like. And you see them come to class. You’re like eh. Does cramming your vision statement everywhere and making it like, did your gym the happy gym, did it screen out by default jerks?
It didn’t in the first two years. But it did when we actually figured out our vision because it made it easier for us to say, I don’t think you’re going to be a good fit. Yeah. And it was, I mean, you know that your vision is working when your sales person comes back to you and says, I had a sales meeting, she was not a good fit. And I told her to go to the other gym in town. And I was like, Whoa. And I, you know, as a business owner, you’re like, Oh, well that’s a sale we maybe could have had. But as a CEO or as someone who manages staff, you’re like, wow, that was a really special moment. But yes, you’re absolutely right in that. There’s two things.
One, if you have a really good onboarding process, it’s super sticky, right? It keeps people around for a long time. They feel like you care about them. They feel like, you know what you’re doing, right. They trust you and so on and so forth. The other thing is you set really great expectations of how they’re supposed to treat you, right? So, no, I’m not going to answer my phone in the middle of the night because you ate a pint of ice cream, but they know that because they’ve been taught on how to communicate with us. And that is through email and email only because I’ve taught my staff you don’t give out your personal phone number and you don’t give out your personal email address. Everything goes through info at, or whatever it may be. If someone emails you via your personal email, you don’t answer them, but you do email them through your professional email. So we had those systems in place to set the expectations early on, right? Cause then you don’t get those weed clients because sometimes they’ll sneak through, right. You’ll sometimes still get those weed clients, but by continuing to be very strict on your processes, because you know why you’re doing them, they will weed themselves out way faster. And you won’t have like, you know, this person that you dread going into the gym because you think they’re going to be there.
You know? And it’s interesting where not even like we’ll use weed clients, but maybe not even clients that are jerks like Rob Connors at Signum CrossFit or sorry, Signum Fitness and Nutrition, he’s rebranded since, he turns clients away regularly because he is looking for online training and personal training specifically. So someone would say, I’m looking for group CrossFit classes. That wasn’t his vision, right? His vision was to work with a much different demographic in a much different way. So it was very easy for him to say, go to this gym over here. But if you want personal training specifically, I want to get better at golf. I’m your guy, right? And his wife runs nutrition stuff as well. They’ve got a great business going there, but they have a vision for that. And we have experienced that at my gym as well, where for a long time we had a vision, but we kind of varied a little bit.
And like for a couple years we got heavy into competition and it was kind of a disaster really. And afterward we really took a real look at that and reestablished our vision. And we did the same thing where people would come to us and say, I want to do this competition and go to this games and do this thing and be a Wodapalooza, champion, whatever. I was like, not the gym for you. And we can actually just say to people like, you need to go somewhere else. Not because I don’t love you, but like, you’re not going to find that environment here. Like we’re not going to work for three hours by ourselves in the corner maxing out snatch balances. It’s just not, it doesn’t happen. You need to go somewhere else. And we knew where to go. And they went there, you know, and that vision that really helped me. And the same thing, like, Oh, I wish I had that sale, but I wouldn’t have been able to serve that client properly.
Yeah. And I think it’s important too to sort of mention that at the beginning, when you first start up, you kind of have to take everybody, right. You don’t really have a choice. You kind of have to take everybody so we can get your cash flow up. And I’ll be the first person to say, like, you’re gonna deal with jerks and that’s fine and they’re going to leave and that’s fine too. They may speak badly about you. That’s fine too. Right. It’s OK to make those mistakes. But the earlier that you can figure out, you know, what direction you’re going, where you want to end up if it’s happiest place in Seaforth, it it’s you know, delivering health and fitness all around the world, right? You’re going to have less of the little blips in the road that take you off and then to a bit of a roundabout and through the trees and then back onto your road, right? Just like Mike, you just said with your competitions, if you had had, you know, this—it doesn’t have to be an end goal, but a vision, you know, you may have not gotten lost in the weeds.
And again, on our Growth ToolKit, there is a cell that says fire a client. That’s on there. And it’s because we all know that, like in the beginning, you’re going to take in some clients as you establish what you really are. You’re going to find out what you aren’t and what you can provide to people and who doesn’t fit. And I don’t, I mean, in your, I don’t know too many gym owners that haven’t had—successful ones that run a really great gym—that haven’t fired a client at some point. Do you and your mentorship, the gyms that are established rock solid gyms, I bet they’ve all fired a client.
Fired clients and they’ve fired coaches, too.
Yup. Yup. It’s just a pruning process, right? It doesn’t mean they’re bad people necessarily. It’s just not a good fit. That’s fascinating. And this is again, all how vision shows up in concrete things in your business. As we close this one out, let’s give some people things to think about here. What are the characteristics of a business with a really strong vision and operational plan. Can we define that and help people figure out aspirationally what they want their business to look like?
I mean, I think it’s important to have like some of those metrics defined and you can define them before, you know, we start, but like, I think it’s important to look inside first and say like, what’s my life going to look like when I reach success, you know, do I want to make 2000 a month? Do I want to make 4, do I want to make 10, right? What do I take home? And then, you know, you can start to build around that. And a lot, I think a lot of people are nervous about this. Like you’re allowed to make money and that’s OK. And you should make money because you’re working hard, right. Money allows you to do the things like travel the world and whatever. Right. But the characteristics of a good business that have, you know, a vision statement and that kind of thing. I mean, I think those are a little bit hard to define because they’re so variable, but, you know, you at least know where you’re going, right? You have at least one staff person who is by your side, who can do some of those jobs for you.
So I’ll say purposeful, I’ll just summarize what you said. I’m going to say, use the characteristic purposeful.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You’ve got a couple of procedures that, you know, have to be in place because otherwise your business won’t run without it.
So I’ll use all I’ll summarize, I’ll say that it’s consistent and that means maybe it’s developing consistency, but I don’t know too many strong businesses that are all over the map. And you’d like, and again, maybe we’re not, I don’t know who’s listening out there and their diets and so forth. But if it’s cheat day at McDonald’s, you know, you’re always getting the same food, right. And people who love it, love it because it’s always done the same. And so businesses and brands that are spectacular are generally ultra consistent. And that goes beyond staff changes, CEO changes, location changes anything else. It is a consistent thing that is always at a certain level. So I’ll give you that one. So we’ve got purposeful and consistent. What else we got? Let’s just talk it out and see if we can find one more.
Yeah. Yeah. You’re better at the fancy words than me. I’m such a simple person, Mike.
You’re just feeding me the ideas. I’m just slapping a label on it.
I mean, I think another thing that really like shows up a lot is like, these people have thought about what this business or thought about this business as a business. Right. You know, with my experience with working, you know, in my own gym and then with Two-Brain, and now with Gym Lead Machine, you know, you see people that are like, they don’t, they have this like free domain or free website, right. They don’t have professional looking, email addresses or, you know, they’re still running their finances out of their personal account, set this business up like a professional business, even if you’re just starting out. Right.
Well, I’ll say this is not the perfect word, but I’ll say thoughtful where, you know, you can tell, I’ll use the example. We use a social media example. When you look at a social media account and you see a theme laid out and it’s like, every third picture is black and white and every second one has a caption. They all have logos that shows like there is thought behind it. And kind of the stuff that you’re talking about there is businesses that have a plan feel like they have a plan. And that was something Chris talked about in managing crisises, which we are crises, which we are right now, if your clients know that you have a plan and you share that plan regularly, which you should, they’re going to feel better about things. They’re not going to panic. And even if you’re saying, man, there’s a storm coming, but we’ve got a plan. It’s going to feel a whole lot better than if you’re just like, just steering straight ahead and people see the clouds rolling in. Right. So I’ll say thoughtful, and it’s not the perfect word, but it does cover what we’re getting at. The businesses that have put some thought behind everything are probably gonna, your clients will feel it.
Yeah. I mean, how many times have you gone to like a massage therapist website or something like that? And you’re like, this looks like a free Google website and you kind of don’t trust them. Right. So make it look like you’re an actual business, right?
Yeah. And professional maybe professional is that word there too we are aspiring entrepreneurial professionals, right. We’re not just here for, I mean, there are gym owners that are out there just to like, I just want to place a squat for free, whatever, that does exist. I probably was one 10 years ago, but I realized that doesn’t float the boat for very long. We are cultivating fitness professionals in a industry that has not been super professional over the course of its history. So I’ll throw that one out there as well. That doesn’t mean your business statement has to be again the florid lawyer language, but it should be well thought out again and professional. Anything else? Are we good? Is that those are four good ones.
Yeah. I think one more and only because this is, you know, what I spend most of my time on now, but like response time, you know, you’ve got good response time, which probably flows into a lot of the, you know, SOPs and stuff we were talking about. But like, if I email a gym and want to drop in next week, I expect to get an email in 24 hours. Or if I’m a lead inquiring in a gym, I expect that person to want to talk to me. Right. So having really good response time, or at least a system by which there is good response time, I think is super important as well.
Well, I’ll give you communicative and engaging something like that, where I don’t think any business, you know, whether it’s part of your vision or not. I think you have to build that in no matter what. Communicative and engaging businesses do better. And Mateo has been on here a number of times telling us literally what you’re saying, pick up the phone, call someone from time to time. And if it rings, you should answer it within 10 seconds.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
All right. So that’s the final thing. And then just to summarize, if people are out there right now, the first thing, if they need a vision statement, they should just sit down and start writing down words that mean something and start looking at people around them who inspire them and figure out why they inspire them from there. Some of those words are going to stand out. You’re going to have a starting point for your vision statement right off the bat. The second thing that you said, the best part about this to get buy in from staff and clients is repeat, just repeat it everywhere. Right? Where would you start with that?
Your staff meeting 100%. You start with your staff meeting. If you are hiring a new person, I mean, you should have a really robust hiring process by which they have to tell you why they want to work for you. And if you’ve been good enough out in the world at telling you the vision, they should somehow not necessarily repeat it back to you, but understand why they want to work with you. And that should show up in their application. But repeat it to staff in staff meetings and in one, on one meetings. From there, you just keep repeating it on your social media.
So that’s just starting point. Get a vision statement, even if it’s just a hack job to start and then tell your staff and then start saying it everywhere. Those are your three steps. This has been the happy podcast. We’ll have to get a vision for Two-Brain Two-Brain Radio. Will you come back and visit us and talk to us more about the stuff again?
Only if you’ll let me tell some dad jokes.
Do you have one on deck right now?
I don’t have one on deck right now.
Oh, you haven’t coached in too long.
I’m out of the game.
Next time Kaleda’s here, we’ll have her start off with a dad joke. We’ll do the happy podcast and we’ll hopefully we’ll see you in a new location that’s got more palm trees and exotic stuff or something like that.
Yeah. Hopefully I’ll be back in Europe soon. Not gonna lie.
Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. This is Mike Warkentin and I’ve been talking with Kaleda Connell about implementing a vision. You want more directive advice based on data? Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper is all about that action. Things will not get better unless you make them better. So head to TwoBrainbusiness.com and check out the blog for daily action items from a guy who ran a failing gym before he created a multinational multimillion dollar business. Chris shares his secrets with daily for free. Thanks for tuning into Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts.