Archive for the ‘Employees’ Category

Why Gyms fail and go under part 1 of 2

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Ok, here’s the “Donald Trump” version of why most Gyms fail

When it comes to these reasons why gym businesses are failing, most gym owners are in denial about everything. They get super mad when I tell them whats really going on. I try to be tactful, but not anymore, Marcu Lemonis on CNBC’s “The Profit” sealed the deal for me. I just have to tell the truth and let it sink in to the gym owner for days or even weeks sometimes. I’ve been there several times and almost went under also, so I had these same talks with myself believe me. But I did what it took to succeed by doing what i’m opening up about below.
  • “When your business get you to a place so dark you have to poke a hole in it to see out”, its time to ask for help
  • You’ve got to hunt down the problem like your looking for it in the daylight with a flash light.

 

  • The problem is most people are like the part of the Conway Twitty song, “He who won’t look is just as blind”. Most gym owners I deal with wont even look to find a problem because they are going to have to have some really difficult conversations with themselves first, then with those around them, and that’s really hard to do.

Here are the “going out of gym business sale” reasons:

  1. No innovation
  2. Getting Out Marketed (which is terrible to start with even with the biggest gyms)
  3. Uncleanliness
  4. Employees are untrained, wrong hires, or unmotivated (which is French for lazy)
  5. Owner is worn out and gives up from not having systems and processes in place.   (I think of these as a guide for my wife to run my business if I died today. She could walk in, open the owners manual or computer videos I made for every aspect of the business and continue on or sell the gym successfully)
Now let me break down every part to prove these are real issues in the fitness industry
  • Innovation: When I went from 120 members down to 50 I knew something was wrong. I had to offer something new and unique. I researched and went to other gyms in my town and out of town.
Then I sat down and ask myself which one I’d do with a very limited budget. By limited I mean $3000
I decide to boot strap a 24 hour gym access system and software because their were none in my town at the time.
I did everything myself except the install which needed an electrician. I ended up spending $3800 all together after I borrowed the $800
That was my one innovation to get started, later on I also automated my tanning beds so they were able to be accessed 24 hours by automation also. BTW, that was 7 years ago and as of yet no other gym in my town has done that with tanning because they cant figure it out for the insurance companies, and there are many 24 hour gyms now. They just don’t try to figure it out.
  • Gym Marketing: I got out marketed by a big gym opening close by. They didn’t even market was the crazy part. I got out marketed by not marketing.
  • I decided right after I Enacted the 24 hour access system and no one showed up to even glance at, that I had to let people know I was alive. Which meant learning how to market my 24 hour fitness center.
  • How? I went on a “how to market a gym” learning spree that has lasted 8 years now. I learned how to build a website, put an email form on the website and write marketing emails that gave great information out first of all then a call to action at the end of every email that got them to come in. Btw, it takes an average of 3 to 6 months after they start receiving the emails before they usually come in or call.
  • Video tour: Then came my video tour I put on YouTube then put on my website. This turned out to be the most valuable sales tool I ever used. It pre sold 95% of my prospects. I pretended the camera was a prospect walking up to the door and took the camera on the same tour the actual person would get. In this way everyone that visited my website got the tour and if we were not the gym they were looking for then we never wasted a second on them. But if they liked what they saw they’d come in, and when we started our sales pitch they’d stop us 95% of the time and say “I know how it works I saw the video, please take my money and sign me up”. Here’s the link to the very normal and cheesy video tour that you won’t believe actually saved my gym from 50 members to over 300 in less than 3 months. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bA3bfNTNzg
  • Radio ads: then I write radio ads that lead the prospect to my website, sign up for the emails, and come in. Always, always, lead them to your website.
  • Then always lead them to sign up on your email form
  • then always include great email info, funny info, that leads them to your actual front door.
  • Then it’s up to you
“If you want to make people think your rich, wear penny loafers with a dime stuck in them”.
  Yes I love doing stand up comedy too, but its true about perception. Be charismatic, yes you can learn this art. Then listen, listen to what they want and need, then try to fill that need. If they need a program to go by, do as I did and make a program about how exactly to use the equipment in your gym and what pieces to use to work certain body parts, or even a basic diet program will go a long ways. Most importantly, when they say their name, burn it into your brain and repeat it several times to them during the conversation, the sweetest thing a person can hear or see is their own name, which is why we love to go to the mailbox even though we know there are bills in there.
I consider myself somewhat an expert now, but I did everything wrong to start with though. Like mark twain said “He who totes a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way”
I’ve toted many cats by the tail, learning every aspect of how to open a 24 hour fitness center and converting mine into a fully automated gym. Then marketing my gym to three times the members, doubled my fees, and finally selling my gym for over 5 times what it cost to start.

Part 2 of the “Why gyms go out of business” will cover cleanliness, employees, and the owners themselves” and how you can change everything just as I did. Be warned though, this article will be very blunt about laziness, time vipers, thieves, and owners who shouldn’t own a gym and exactly why. It will be the Donald Trump portion

For the complete NO B.S. Guide to opening a 24 hour fitness center from scratch and hear the fitnessmarketing.tv podcast about the 24 hour system, go to www.how2ownagym.com to see his book where you’ll find much, much more detailed info of everything in this article.
Shannon cook is an author of “how to open and market a 24 hour fitness center” and former owner of temple gym in Tuscaloosa Alabama and owner of www.fitnessmarketing.tv
Shannon is a consultant to the fitness industry for opening a 24 hour gym and fitness center marketing. Get the book below to learn everything you can about how to open a 24 hour fitness center and market it once open.

Questions or comments? email Shannon Cook at shannoncook902@gmail.com

Mistake I MAY have made in getting rid of a problem causing gym member

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Mistake I may have made in getting rid of a problem causing gym member

I woke early one morning by a phone call from my gym manager saying i needed to come in soon and call this lady about a guy that scared her really bad the night before.

I got to the gym and called her and she began to tell me about what she called a “perv” she had seen the night before in the gym while working out , but she said she knew the guy through her dad that owned a business a few years before and this guy worked for her dad.

she said this guy used to always act like a perv and when he saw her in the gym he started harassing her and cussing to her about sex and other things, i should tell you that we are a christian gym, not pushy, but people know we don’t allow cussing in there. we just have a few christian symbols around and prayer boxes. so this guy knew better

then she said she went to the gym locker room to get her clothes and leave because she had enough of his asking her to go out and get drinks after she told him repeatedly she was married.

when she came out of the gym locker room and started to walk for the door, he yelled her name across the gym and while he was laying on a bench, he grabbed his private through his shorts and shook it at her.

I have a camera system and reviewed it and saw him talking to her but couldnt see him grab himself, but he was laying on the bench like she said, but the angle of the benches view was blocked by a cable machine.

my manager then told me about two more women he said were harassed by this man. he kept asking them out and they had to tell him many times that they were married and his response was to tell them “married people need to eat too”.

It didn’t look like this guy was getting the hint did it?

We’ll I talked to my wife and she agreed that if he was doing that then the only choice we had was to cancel his membership and refund some of his money.

Here’s where i MAY have made a mistake by jumping the gun before i called the other women involved to get their story.

Before i called him i asked my wife what i needed to say because i’m not very diplomatic with words.

Here’s what the conversation would have sounded like from my mind to my mouth:

Hi *****, i have had women telling me your hounding them like its spring break in high school, and they say your a pervert. I’m canceling your membership and refunding your last months dues, don’t come back or you’ll be arrested, bye.

Now here’s what the conversation sounded like from my wife’s mouth then from mine:

Hi *******, this is ****** at the gym. I hate to have to make this call, but i have had quite a few complaints from women members saying your harassing them and frankly, they are kind of fearful because your coming on too strong. I have no choice but to cancel your membership and refund your last months dues. I really don’t want to do this but have no choice, i hope you understand, i know you probably didn’t realize that you were doing it, I’m sure you were trying to be nice but it was taken wrong, but i cant have someone in here that uses foul language and makes gesture like that, it sends a bad message to our members that that’s acceptable, I’m very sorry, i wish you the best.

Doesn’t that sound better?

He was very apologetic about the incident, and got very emotional, but accepted the outcome graciously.

Then the mistake MAY have happened. One of the ladies that my manager told me accused the guy of hitting on called my wife and said the guys friend called her and asked if he offended her in any way by asking her out. She told my wife that he did ask her out but after she told him she was married he respected her and never mentioned it again.

My manager told me a different story, he said the lady said he wouldn’t quit bothering her. Then there was one more lady my gym manager said he saw the guy approach and he said something to her and she got off the bike she was on and left the gym.

I didn’t talk to the third lady, my manager said he didn’t know her name and hasn’t seen her since that incident.

The guys workout partner came in that afternoon and wanted to talk with me and my wife. he said he wanted to cancel because his friend was his workout partner and he was going to have to go with him to another gym, and he wanted to tell us that he was there the night before when the incident happened.

He said there was two sides to this story, which i pretty much knew but with two other ladies having issues also, it confirmed what needed to be done, or did it?

He said he didn’t think we knew it but the woman and the guy actually had a affair going on a few years back and the guy was trying to ask her out because he thought they might hook back up. he said the woman didn’t seem offended at all, she was joking back with him. he said the guy does act like a teenager about women sometimes, but it wasn’t like she said it was.

I told him if the guy would have done this outside the  gym it would be of no concern to me, but he did it in the gym, and i couldn’t have him doing stuff like and talking like that in my gym.

He understood, but he cancelled anyway, and i had to write a $450 refund check because he paid up front, i could have told him no and made him honor his contract, but i cant do that to anyone. Never make someone stay or pay for a service they don’t want in a case like this, they’ll talk bad about you and you WILL lose business i promise.

Then there’s 2 more members that joined because of him and they now will quit they said. so after talking to the other lady that said she wasn’t offended like my ,manager said, i now believe the first woman may have exaggerated a lot to get back at an old flame, and i think this because she left out the key piece of evidence that they had an affair, and she said that he was always a pervert from the time she met him, but she had an affair with him anyway. It doesn’t add up.

He was, in the end hitting on all the women in the gym it seems. I believe i did the right thing, but just as with George W Bush’s decisions, i guess history will have to decide if i did the right thing. I just guess i’ll have to hope mine turns out to be the Ronald Regan Decisions.

The point of this true story. Wait and interview all persons involved before making any rash decisions.

Shannon Cook can be reached at shannoncook902@gmail.com

To learn how to open a 24 hour fitness center, build and start a gym from scratch, manage a gym, and fitness center marketing, check out my book at www.how2ownagym.com