Earlier in this series, I wrote that gym ownership is a positive-sum game: that every gym makes it easier for future gyms to open.
And if the gym is owned by the right person—with an abundance mindset—he or she will help your gym grow.
Best of all: If a new gym opens and shares your brand, your values and your pricing, everyone rises together. We all can win.
I was the third personal trainer in my city.
It took me about three months to fill my schedule. I was employed by the second personal trainer in my city, who took about a year to fill his. And he was friends with the first guy, Shane. Shane took three years to fill his schedule. As the third one in, I benefited from the hard work done by those who came before me.
Shane worked at a globo-gym. As the first personal trainer in Sault Ste. Marie, he had to teach the members what a “personal trainer” was; then he had to convince them they needed one. He had to sell—hard—all day and night. It took him around three years to build his business.
When I showed up five years later, everyone knew what a personal trainer did, and there was a surplus of at least 40 people who wanted one. I know, because those 40 signed up with me instead of Shane. But he did all the hard work for me back in 1997.
In 2008, it was my turn to carry the water: I became the first CrossFit affiliate in the city. The CrossFit brand attracted one client, a friendly early adopter named Joe. I had to teach 80,000 other people what CrossFit was, what it wasn’t and how it could solve their problems. I’d say I’m about halfway through those 80,000 now.
When another local gym affiliated in 2009, I panicked: They were going to build on my foundation! All my hard work had created a funnel into their gym! I saw the posts from earlier affiliates through a different lens: Yeah, I wanted a protected territory that I owned! I panicked. I compared my rates to theirs. I called them out for copying me. I tried to rip their coaching, condemn their programming and tear down their business.
Of course, that created a lot of animosity.
They did just fine. They’re still around, getting good results for people and making people happy. And obviously we did really well, too.
But what if we had worked together from the start?
When More Is Better for All
In Baltimore, in Denver, in Houston, in Atlanta and in more cities, entrepreneurs in the Two-Brain family are beginning to gather together.
They’re collectively educating the local population using the Help First philosophy. They’re inviting others into their boxes. They’re not competing on price, not running each other down, not texting each other’s members.
When everyone is doing well, and when no one is desperate, we all do better.
When everyone’s healthy, no one has to resort to dirty tricks, lies or price wars.
We call this “collaborative competition,” but it really means eliminating the bad actors. Wrestling with a pig just gets you dirty; lifting the pig out of the dirty sty creates a better life for everyone.
Over the weekend, the Two-Brain family grew by eight entrepreneurs. They came from:
- Birmingham, U.K.
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Alberta, Canada
- Georgia, United States
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Antwerp, Belgium
- Arizona, United States
- Indiana, United States
Some were referred by other gym owners in the Two-Brain family.
In Winnipeg, new clients routinely call the wrong gym to sign up. The Two-Brain gyms send the new client where they should be going. But general awareness helps them grow together instead of fighting over scraps.
In Stockholm, gym-owner meet-ups led by Two-Brain family members occur regularly. They share, teach and help one another grow in a positive way.
You can choose to make enemies or you can choose to make a difference.
Good fences might make good neighbors, but families don’t need them.