When it comes to performance, many gym owners think of elite athlete representation as the greatest sign of success for an affiliate. I’m here to encourage you to quit caring about sending athletes to Regionals and teams to the Games. The elite athlete is a loss leader in business and is an individual who needs you the least.
Pursuing relative performance is not only a viable business pursuit, but it’s also arguably the more critical job. Can you get dozens, or even hundreds, of average men and women to PR regularly? If so, you’re in business. Too many affiliate owners are spending 80 percent of their time and energy focused on so-called elite athletes who often leech from gym culture and inhibit growth for the population that needs help most.
Membership is a cat-and-mouse game, too. It doesn’t take long in gym ownership to understand that while enrolling more people is generally good, the number of members you have is nothing to hang your hat on. Creating value and understanding retention are more important numbers. If you’re obsessed with a number, like membership that doesn’t mean a whole lot, you may be tempted to discount your services and even enroll in troubling programs like ClassPass or Groupon. Would you rather coach 100 people for $1,000 per month or 1,000 people for $100 a month? Think about it.
Even if you understand the previous two concepts (relative performance and creating average client value), your ability to thrive will still be predicated on your ability to develop more of you. The successful gym owner who tried to peel back from his coaching schedule for the first time is often met with unhappy members and poor coaching standards. If you don’t have a system or a program in place not to hire but to develop a viable coaching staff to share your workload, you’ll be imprisoned by the burden of a one-man show. To scale, you need a plan.
Don’t play Follow the Leader, coaches. Stop looking around so much and start looking inward. It’s there that you can avoid the traps of your competitors.