As with most posts, this was originally intended to be a quick facebook status update but once I started typing I couldn’t stop. Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this article is about your digestive health, I’ll leave that topic for another day.
Occasionally I get gym owners contacting me privately looking for advice on certain things from programming to running a gym. I am by no means an expert – although I know a thing or two about doing things the wrong way.
If you think this is a rant you are missing the point, what this is, is an observation and a story of my own experience that will hopefully help others that may be back down the line of the journey I am haphazardly navigating.
If I could impart some advice to budding gym owners and pass on what I have learnt through trial and error, it would be to go with your intuition on certain things and at the same time stick to your guns.
These days more than ever there is so much noise flying around on how you should do things, endless email newsletters crowding our inbox on the best way to convert leads through funnels and what not, it is not so much about helping others but selling.
No before I go any further, I am not saying money is evil, far from it and more of it would definitely buy me quite a lot of happiness but just because your bank balance may be a bit low or you have been advised to close as many sales as possible, don’t deny your snap judgment when it comes to a prospective client. Go with your gut on that initial phone call, email or meeting – the feeling that tells you that this person may be more hassle than they are worth.
This may seem cynical but in my experience over the years I have always regretted letting someone sign up to my gym when it went against my gut feeling to pass them along to another facility.
It is the person that makes a tonne of enquiries initially and makes numerous demands, draining you of your time long before they have joined your gym or any type of business transaction has taken place. They will ask you to bend YOUR rules and guidelines to suit their needs – before anyone jumps down my throat, this is NOT the same thing as helping a client achieve their goals.
As always we must look after our customers and the bottom line is ALWAYS to serve others but not to the detriment of our own health and well being. If you start to get too stressed or worked up you will be of no use to anyone and quickly you find yourself in the position of letting one person affect your ability to help numerous others and ultimately drain you of all passion for your work. As an entrepreneur or someone that is self employed, passion for what you do is VITAL and should be protected at all costs.
Don’t waste all of your time pandering to the demands of someone you don’t know – ESPECIALLY to the detriment of your current clients (this is something I see gym owners fail with time and time again – your CURRENT MEMBERS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT MEMBERS not someone you have only interacted with once on an email).
Recently I had a string of enquiries from a prospective client which turned into a string of demands and not 1 euro had passed hands at this stage. I just let things slide but then in a panic to try and get to the Worlds in LA and raise some needed funds at the time, I went against my judgement and got in touch with the person and opened up the line of demands once again. My internal dialogue began to contest my decision to do so and already there was discontentment felt towards myself. Anyway, the initial consultation was arranged and on the day as I was waiting for the person to turn up – almost 15 minutes after we had agreed to meet, I had decided regardless of the outcome, I would not be letting this person join my gym.
Initially I felt as though it was a massive disregard of my time but then I viewed it as a good reminder as to why I should always stick to my principles and go with my gut feeling – something I am getting better at as time goes on. If someone doesn’t feel right for my gym, than I will pass them along elsewhere. It has taken time to build the gym to where it is now and it takes time to build the right atmosphere in the gym but that has as much to do with the people in the gym and that atmosphere and community should be protected.
This is far from a rant but hopefully it will serve as advice of some sort to someone out there. In my experience, once people start pulling me away from my own principles and those that I have set up for my gym, I get stressed. I get really stressed and it affects everything else in my life. Life is too short for this and there are plenty of other gyms out there that will take these people on.
Think about the gym you want to own. Once you have established your principles stick to them and don’t let anyone steer you way from them, not even at the risk of missing out on closing a quick sale.