What to Cut in a Crisis

A small cube block with alphabet building the word CUT next to Federal Reserve emblem on US Dollar banknote.

For the next two months, your cash flow is your top priority.

If you can survive through April and May, you’re probably going to come out of this crisis OK—and some gyms will actually come out ahead.

Here’s your plan to manage your cash flow in the short term.


Keep clients paying their membership fees. Not at gunpoint but by pivoting to deliver the same value online.
Run two or three online classes per day (use Zoom or another web stream provider. Facebook Live is also OK).
Talk to every single one of your clients every single day. Tell each one how the workout is relevant to him or her or how to tweak it for his or her goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

“How to Add Online Training in 24 Hours”

Publish what you’re doing both within your gym community and to your larger social reach. Not as an advertisement—as a solution. Many gyms have reported new client signups.

Don’t stop taking new clients. Simply pivot your intake process to start with an online interview.

The bottom line: You’re running a coaching business. Your physical gym is a tool, but it’s not really your business. There’s no need to stop doing business.


Perform an expense audit. Print out a list of monthly expenses from highest to lowest.

Start by eliminating expenses that don’t give you a positive ROI. Look at each expense and ask, “Do I make money from that investment each month?”

If you don’t, look first for a way to make money from it. Ask your bookkeeper, “How can I leverage your service better right now?” I’m sure he or she will have an answer; I’m also sure few people ask.

Ask your mentor, “What’s the best thing I can do to get the best value from your service this month?” He or she will tell you (I wish everyone asked me this question).

I listed mentorship and financial advisors first because when the crisis hit, the first people I called were my CFO and my mentor. I need them now more than ever.

Continuing down the list:

Ask your landlord, “Because my gym is closed, can I spread out my lease payments over the next six months?” We find this is working around 30 percent of the time, so it’s worth a shot.

Ask your coaches, “Do you want to coach right now or do you want to be home with your family?” For those who need the money, keep them on board doing individual coaching (just don’t exceed the 44 percent salary cap).

Finally, cut off short-term services such as cleaners while your gym is closed (if your gym is open, double your cleaning budget).

Watch John Briggs talk about cash-flow management here.

This Above All

Remember your priorities:

Your gym exists to serve your family. They come first.

Your clients come second: They support the gym.

Your staff comes third: They support the clients.

You can’t cut your way to success. But right now you might have to take a few small steps backward to stay in the game long term.

Gym owners who are making a fast pivot to online coaching don’t have to cut staff. But, unfortunately, gym owners who don’t protect their cash flow will have to take some very hard actions or risk personal bankruptcy.

Things just got very real. But you can make it through this.


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.