Home Blog Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 10

Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 10

Written on April 13, 2018 at 9:01 am, by Eric Cressey

It's time for the April installment of my thoughts on the business side of fitness.

1. It might take years for you to recognize that a loss leader will pay off.

Wikipedia defines "loss leader" as "a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services." I'd add that it doesn't just have to be a price discount to be a loss leader, either. If I go to deliver a free 60-minute presentation to a baseball team, and then some of those athletes come to train with us, you could see that the time and energy I spent on preparing and delivering that talk were the loss leader that yielded longer-term revenues. I often refer to this as a "value addition leaders" because it doesn't devalue your services (the only "loss" is your time). You're simply finding ways to show potential customers a) you care, b) you're qualified, and c) deliver value before the first transaction.

I can't overstate enough the importance of seeing loss leaders as a long game. People are exposed to thousands of marketing messages nowadays, so it's easy to get desensitized to them individually. Collectively, though, they may build to establish longer-term credibility that leads to a business relationship down the road. So, be patient, persistent, and philanthropic in your giving; in many cases, you'll be rewarded down the road.

2. The average American doesn't understand long-term financial planning, and fitness professionals are among the worst.

I recently finished up the book Dollars and Sense by Dan Ariely. It's a fascinating look at the relationship between people and money.

A few interesting statistics Ariely cited as as follows:

1. 46% of financial planners don't have any retirement savings.

2. 30% of Americans of working age have so little retirement savings that they’ll have to work until they’re 80 – even though life expectancy is only 78!

In short, folks aren't particularly good at looking at the long-term when it comes to saving. Fitness professionals are much more likely to make these financial blunders, in my experience, because they very rarely have employer-sponsored retirement accounts. In other industries, 401(k) matching is far more common, so employees not only have a built-in savings strategy that's facilitated by someone else's money, but also built-in accountability as they observe co-workers around them contributing to these plans.

If you're a fitness professional - or any professional, for that matter - and don't have retirement savings, start today. Skip a $3 coffee each week and put that money into savings. Small hinges swing big doors.

3. Gym culture is a moving target on multiple fronts.

When we started Cressey Sports Performance in 2007, all three co-founders (Pete Dupuis, Tony Gentilcore, and me) were closer in age to our high school athletes then we were to their parents. Now, we are all parents ourselves, and closer in age to the adults than the kids.

As a result, we’ve had to make a conscious effort with our staff to get younger to preserve the “cool“ gym culture where athletes and coaches can relate to one another. At the same time, though, it means that it changes our staff culture considerably.

Moreover, as a business grows, the sheer number of people on your staff expands - and your culture becomes even harder to define and standardize. The same goes for the client culture; when you're seeing 100 clients a day, there is a lot more variability in personalities you encounter on a daily basis than what you experienced when only 30 clients stopped in daily.

The point is that you have to stay on top of monitoring and nurturing your culture, both among your staff and clients. This is one reason why I'm working my way through Pat Rigsby's new resource, The Complete Culture Blueprint.

It's on sale for $30 off through the end of the day today, and I'd highly recommend you check it out - whether you own a facility, manage employees, or work as part of any team environment. You won't regret it - especially at an awesome introductory price of only $49.

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