Growing Your Gym in War Time and in Peace Time

Growing Your Gym in War Time and in Peace Time

Announcer (00:02):
If you wanna grow your fitness business, you’re listening to the right podcast. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” Please subscribe so you don’t miss a show. Now, here’s Chris Cooper.

Chris Cooper (00:10):
Hey guys, I’m Chris Cooper. I’m the founder of Two-Brain Business, and today I want to talk to you about growing your business during wartime and peacetime. When people think about entrepreneurship, they think that a business just kind of grows in a linear fashion, like you’re constantly working your way up at a predictable rate. But the reality is that it’s more like a roller coaster, where you go up two steps and then you go back down a step, and then you go up three steps and back down. And hopefully what happens is that over time you go up more steps than you come back down again. In wartime, what you’re trying to do is minimize how many steps down you’re taking when your business is under stress. In peacetime, what you’re trying to do is run up as many steps as you can so that you get as far up the tower as possible before the next little crisis happens.

Chris Cooper (01:01):
One thing’s for sure, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re always going to face more challenges, more crises—these things that we call “wartime.” I’m gonna start there in wartime, which always feels like
“right now.” Until you’ve got your business systemized and running well and profitable, you’re always going to feel like you’re under attack. Especially in the last few years with COVID and lockdowns and recessions, we’ve kind of felt like we’re constantly in this state of wartime and we’re practicing austerity measures like I’m about to give you. But the reality is that most of the time we are living in peacetime and we’re not doing enough to get many, many steps ahead. So, first, what to do in wartime. If you’re under stress, you don’t have enough money, you can’t pay the bills, you’re getting locked down, there’s a flood, there’s a hurricane, whatever that is, you need to audit.

Chris Cooper (01:56):
So let’s start with five different audits that you can do in wartime. The first one is your investment audit. Now, everything that you buy in your business, you might call it an expense, but it’s really an investment. You’re a smart entrepreneur. There’s a reason that you chose to exchange money for these things. You might have investments like your equipment loan or your rent, your space. You might have investments like your bookkeeper or your mentor. You might have investments in your software or your coaches, your staff. There’s a reason that you made these investments initially, but you might have made these investments during peacetime, when everything was rosy, and now you’re in wartime and you’re saying, “I need to tighten my belt a little bit.” Before you cut anything, I want you to do an ROI audit. So I want you to look at everything on your P&L, every dollar that you have going out, and ask yourself, “How can I get a better return on this investment?”

Chris Cooper (02:51):
Before you cut anything, look to get a better return. With some things like software, you might be able to downgrade or audit the services that you’re not using. So, “Hey, you know what? I’m not actually using the event portion of this software. Can I back it out to a smaller subscription with my email marketing platform? You know what, I’m not using the CRM functionality. Maybe I’m just gonna back up to the email functionality.” With your bookkeeper, you can call them and say, “Hey, how can I get more out of our time together?” Same thing with your mentor. If you’re doing a loan, you can refinance your loan to make the payment smaller until you get back into peacetime. I’ve certainly done that with staff. You might ask yourself, “Who do I actually need right now? And who is serving a purpose that we no longer require? Or who is doing something that’s kind of redundant?” With your space, you can ask yourself, “Do I actually need that coaches lounge? Do I need that 300-square-foot space that’s not generating revenue but costing me everything every month? You know, every month, if I work it out, I’m paying about 200 bucks for a place for my coaches to ditch their sweaty old shoes. That doesn’t make sense. Can I renegotiate with my landlord?” So the first thing you wanna do in wartime is an ROI audit. The second thing that you want to do is a retention audit. Do you have a client journey? Where do your clients fall off? How often are you doing goal-review meetings? Do you have a written goal for each single client? When’s the last time you talked to these clients about their goals and measured their progress? Then you wanna do a marketing audit.

Chris Cooper (04:25):
You wanna ask yourself, “What are my funnels?” You want to draw them out and then you wanna say, “Is each step of the funnel performing the way it should? Are people coming from my podcast onto my email list? And from there, are they booking a call to set up a No Sweat Intro at my gym?” If not, or if you can’t define that funnel, then you don’t have a marketing funnel. Your marketing is completely shotgun or haphazard, and that’s an amazing opportunity to set up a marketing system for your gym. A mentor can help. Click the link above to book a call and find out how. You also need to do a sales audit. You need to look at how many people are booking No Sweat Intros with you, how many are showing up, and how many of those are signing up. If that number is below 80 percent, even with cold leads coming from ads, you need to work with a mentor to improve that.

Chris Cooper (05:17):
That’s one of the fastest ways that you can make massive return on an investment in mentorship: sales training. Next, you need to look at your facilities and audit that. Are the lights burned out? How often do we run out of toilet paper? Is there equipment that needs to be fixed or upgraded or just tossed or sold? Sometimes during wartime, we look around at our equipment and we think, “Hey, you know, I don’t actually use those dumbbells anymore. Why don’t I sell ’em to my members?” Or, “You know what? I’m not really using that $20,000 PNOE device. Why don’t I sell this to another gym who can make good use of it, and I’ll have a little bit more buffer?” Okay, so those are five audits that you can do right there during wartime to help you run leaner and meaner.

Chris Cooper (06:06):
Here’s the real blessing of these periods of crisis: They serve as a forcing function to become more efficient in your business, to use your resources, your investments, your staff and your time better. And so when you come out of the wartime crisis, you’re gonna have a much better, more efficient business. And sometimes if we didn’t even have that crisis forcing us to make the changes, we would never get up to that next level because sometimes the way that you run up the stairs faster is by shedding the weight that’s slowing you down. Now, let’s talk about peacetime. The pressure’s off and things aren’t so bad right now. You’re making a little bit of money. You’ve got enough clients to buy new equipment, pay your wage, pay a few coaches. Things are going okay: “Why should I make any changes now?” Because now is your time to sprint. At the point when you look around and there’s no crisis, no trauma, no anxiety about how your business is doing, that is the time to sprint my friends.

Chris Cooper (07:04):
That is where you build “antifragility.” That is where you build space between you and trouble. That is where you avoid getting killed by the next wartime measures, right? This is where you build in a margin for yourself so that you can afford to get through the next crisis or a downturn or—heaven forbid—personal sickness or injury. The best thing that you can do if things are going okay is to get an objective perspective on your business and say, “How do I move this thing forward? How do I grow by another 20 clients? How do I keep my clients three months longer? How do I increase the value that I’m offering to my clients and receive an increased value from each client in return? How do I create a sustainable, stable base for my coaches to build careers on? How do I identify the next level for myself? How do I get my family from subsistence-level living into the kind of life that we dreamed about when I became an entrepreneur? How do I get my wife out of her job? How do I get myself into a car that doesn’t break down once a week? How do I get myself into a place where I am creating enough income to send my kids to university and not fight with my wife over the Christmas bills? How do I get myself to a place where this current place that I’m in right now seems like a completely different planet by this time next year, that my history is no longer holding me back, that I am actually building wealth and being able to retire?” Because even in peacetime, when you’re not running out of money, you are still running out of time. Even in peacetime, when you’ve got no pressure from your government for lockdowns, when you’ve got no pressure from the bank to pay your bills, no pressure from the landlord, you still have the pressure of a ticking clock.

Chris Cooper (09:03):
Peacetime, when things are going okay, that is your opportunity—and therefore your responsibility—to sprint, to build a sustainable business, to have more clients and to do the things that will change their lives more. It’s the time to build your opportunities for coaching, to find new methods, to experiment with your programming, to try new software, to build a bigger boat that won’t sink the next time there’s a little, tiny storm. Your best opportunity when things are going well is to make them go better. And that is what a mentor can do to you for you: show you the next level, show you what’s possible. I’ll tell you right now, I’ve been working with gyms for over a decade. Through Two-Brain Business, we’ve had well over 1,700 gyms around the world. As gym owners, our standard for what “doing well” means or what “a good stable gym is” is way too low.

Chris Cooper (10:00):
Gyms are way too fragile. One little thing can knock a passionate fitness entrepreneur off the board forever. That means hundreds of lives not changed. That means a few coaches don’t get to make a career in fitness. That means a family having, you know, a kind of a crappy Christmas this year. And that means a passionate entrepreneur going and getting a job selling real estate because they just can’t survive that one step backward. They’re one step away from poverty. It’s one step backward, one crisis away, a thin margin away, one mistake away. You know, a neighboring gym opening down the street could put them outta business. You should be so successful that not only do you welcome more gyms in your neighborhood, but you literally walk down the street to take them coffee and say, “How can I help you become as successful as I am?” because they are not the thing that will put you in the grave. I want you to be so successful that it actually raises the bar for the entire industry, creates more wealth for everybody around you, eliminates this mindset of scarcity and competition with other gyms, and gets you to a place where your family is taken care of forever so that you can keep changing lives. That means that if things are going okay for you right now, even if things are going really well, as a leader, I want you to build something even bigger. The world needs you. Your town needs you, your family needs you, your staff needs you, and, most importantly, your clients need you to be successful and keep moving forward. Hope it helps.

Announcer (11:34):
Thanks for listening to “Run a Profitable Gym.” Please hit subscribe on the way out. Now, here’s Coop one more time.

Chris Cooper (11:41):
We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group in 2020 to help entrepreneurs just like you Now, it has more than 5,600 members, and it’s growing daily as gym owners join us for tips, tactics and community support. If you aren’t in that group, what are you waiting for? Get in there today so we can network and grow your business. That’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or gymownersunited.com. Join today!

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