Do You Operate Your Gym with a Sense of Urgency?

A quick check showing the definition of urgency to be; 1) to act promptly; 2) act with intention to make things happen; 3) doing what needs to be done immediately.

So, here’s what I see frequently in gyms…many time there are lots of good things going on but the business and staff have become stagnant because of a lack of urgency. Here’s the deal, without urgency, it simply doesn’t matter when something is done…it could be tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month or even next year. By simply acting with urgency can make all the difference in getting your business back on track or maximizing the opportunity.

Here are some things to consider if your gym needs a kick-start with urgency:

  1. As an owner, manager, department head, sales person…make your own smart, quick decisions with confidence. It all starts with you, right? This is a way of thinking you want to act on immediately and your behavior will help train your team to act accordingly.
  2. Identify obstacles to your staff’s progress and quickly remove them. Take a look around for obstacles that are getting in your way of acting with urgency. In many cases, I have seen the commission schedule or the lack of one being an obstacle. In the end, a simple process is usually a successful process.
  3. Establish a culture that is focused on outcomes, not individual tasks. Here’s the bottom line on this, effort without results is meaningless.
  4. Communicate consequences for inaction; clarify what happens if desired outcomes aren’t met. Too many managers think consequences mean they fire someone, not so. My favorite is to role play the telephone inquiry script in front of the group — if we’re not setting phone inquiries or not getting shows….that will normally get them to memorize the script. Or in the sales process, many times we will roll out a Love at First Sight Offer.
  5. Identify what systems work for your gym and eliminate the systems that no longer serve you. Don’t keep old, tired ways of doing things in place just because “that’s the way you’ve always done it.”
  6. Announce and celebrate small success to demonstrate what happens when desired outcomes are met. For example, break a sales record; the entire team goes out to dinner together to celebrate. Or celebrate when members sponsor in a new members and receive their gift before the deadline.
  7. Agree on deadlines and provide reminders. Final day for a membership special. Final day to sign up for a class. Final week on the referral contest. You get the idea — then be sure to communicate across many different platforms….in club signs, email, phone, social media….
  8. Keep meeting short by always providing an agenda. Always have a planned, crisp agenda for each meeting. Don’t allow the meeting to drag from the original intent.
  9. When speaking, get to the point quickly; encourage your team members to communicate in a similar manner. Say what you want, when you want it and get to work — no long drawn out explanations necessary.
  10. Demonstrate leadership by example by meeting your personal deadlines. This one should be simple enough; leadership by example.
  11. Hold one-on-one meetings to secure each staffer’s buy-in to the team. Meet with EVERY team member and communicate the expectations and their understanding of each — you must get 100% acknowledgement and buy-in before you can get started…..and then be sure you follow-up.
  12. Follow up. It will not be good enough just to express your expectations, you must continue to follow up and train where necessary. The culture of urgency will never be important to you staff until its first important to you.

Now, go get it done…now!

AnOutsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.

Preparing Your Gym for a Comeback

As of this writing many gyms across the USA are slowing beginning to relaunch their business and others will be conducting a relaunch in the coming weeks. One thing for sure, we’re not going back to the same place we left a few weeks ago. It’s a different marketplace and it’s a different economy. We will need a plan. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin; 1) what are you willing to give up to hit your goals? 2) What will you have to change to hit your goals? 3) What will you have to learn to hit your goals? Now, here are some things to consider:

1. The need for certainty. This is where it all starts. We need to be sure we get our head right. Of course, we need to understand the problem, but we need to give power to the solutions and what we’re trying to accomplish. Owners, managers and staff all need to work with a high level of certainty and confidence if they want the customer to have certainty. People will still buy.

2. Over communicate. Keep your members in the loop on what is happening and continue to provide them with valuable information on how to get the results that they are seeking. Create signage throughout the clubs on washing hands, cleaning equipment, social distancing and even consider arrows letting people know what direction they should go. Use all forms of communication to let everyone know what is happening with your gym

3. Provide unprecedented value. Give more than ever before. The goal here is to keep all your members and sign up new ones. You will need to provide an unprecedented level of value. Continue your digital programming with hangouts, expert Q&A, lives streams, private sessions, etc. Continue to focus on the member experience and celebrate success stories during the break; celebrate member anniversary dates, etc.

4. Prepare for member health and safety. I suggest doing more than what is required by your state. Temperature screenings for members, guests, employees and any vendors. Increase the number of cleaning stations throughout the gym. Prepare a FAQ to help address any potential issues of members not social distancing, coughing, sneezing, etc. Depending on your member base, consider a specific time for those 60+ to come in and workout. Have plenty of signage throughout the club as well as directional signage moving member down the right path form proper social distancing.

5. Prepare for staff health and safety. With all the talk about member health and safety, let’s don’t forget about our staff (not that anyone would). There will be some staffers that are simply not comfortable returning just yet and that’s okay. Perhaps they can help work on your digital product. The key thing here is to educate everyone on what you are doing to keep them safe. Many clubs are conducting temperature checks on staff twice per day. Two a day cleanings, rubber gloves, masks if desired.

6. Marketing to your members. This is one to start doing right now. Prepare videos to walk your members and guests what they can expect upon entering. You need to let your members know what you’re doing to keep the gym clean, healthy and safe and what you’ll be doing to keep your member healthy and safe. Social media and email marketing is ideal here. Showing new protocols and what to expect will ease potential fears your members and guests may have.

7. Marketing for your business — advance into the marketplace. You won’t be able to use just one or two things and get the results you want. The plan should be to show differentiation and market to an uncontested marketplace. You want EVEYONE to know who you are and what you are doing. Start writing your plan of action now. A press release is a great way to start. This is a great time to conduct a membership drive or a re-grand opening.

8. Prepare to be ready to sell in a new marketplace and a new economy. Include your health and safety standards in your process, but stay on point. Business and sales fundamentals will be more important than ever. You will likely have fewer inquiries and fewer prospects for a while. A good habit to get into…is to treat each guest like it’s the only one you will see that day and work to bring them up to your level of certainty. Get your staff trained and follow up to be sure they are on track. You can’t afford not to. As mentioned, conduct a membership drive, have referral contest, host a re-grand opening, etc. Revenue is the oxygen of your business, let’s keep it flowing. In addition, looks for ways to increase the amount you collect per new membership sale with additional added value. Consider new membership offering to accommodate a new economy.

9. Continue with Digital Programming. Digital programming is here to stay and is something you should continue even when you open your doors. Remember, you want deliver unprecedented value to your customer. Initially, this should be continued at no additional change, but as you move forward this should may be included as part of a premium membership offering or even sold online through your web site.

10. Develop existing profit centers or create new ones for ancillary sales. Since many people have poor diets which lack the vital nutrients the body needs, consider selling supplements online. Investigate selling gift cards online, meal planning, etc. You want to find ways to encourage additional sales to your current customer base.

11. Not every gym will return. Some gyms will not return because of financial reasons and other simply will not want to continue, which is okay. This presents an immediate opportunity to grow your business. In nearly every case, this will be done with no money out of your pocket and you will be able to increase your recurring dues, perhaps your personal training, email lists, renewal lists, have URLS and phone numbers pointed to you and more. This is something to investigate immediately.

Now, let’s make this the greatest comeback ever!

An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

Keeping Your Gym in Shape: Fourteen Ways Your Gym Billing Company is Losing You Money.

Thousands of gyms and fitness clubs are doing their billing and member management using Gym Software. But just because you have gone digital does not mean you are ahead of the game. There are many ways that your Gym Billing Company can actually cost you money and this article discusses several of those ways.

1. Your vendor / gym billing company requires you to use their merchant account. Gym Billing companies are not financial institutions. They are middlemen that mark up and resell financial services at a profit. Requiring you to move your billing services to their merchant account can cost you an additional 2% to 3% in monthly charges

2. Your Vendor does not provide next day funding for ACH transactions. It is critical to keep the cash flow going in your gym. Gym billing companies that do not process your ACH transactions in one day may cause critical lapses in your cash flow. Prompt ACH processing is important so that you can manage your billing and cash flow of receivables.

3. Your Vendor does not provide an integrated email and texting function within their software. Having software with integrated email that includes self-managed custom templates is critical if you do email marketing to your existing member base. If your vendor does not provide this service you will incur the extra costs of a service like MailChimp. And having your existing member database accessible to integrated SMS templates will eliminate the time consuming exercise of exporting your member database and uploading it to the SMS Company your vendor uses for texting. Remember though,

if your vendor has integrated an outside texting service, there may be extra rates applied every time you do a text to your member base, so be sure and check for that.

4. Your gym billing software does not include an integrated EFT payment-processing gateway. If your vendor outsources their ACH and credit card processing they will pass those costs on to you, usually with a markup.

5. Your vendor does not provide automatic processing of declines back into the system, along with an automated way of rebilling declines. If you have to search for declines after every billing you are wasting your time and your employee’s time. In the gym industry, time is money. Your vendor should automatically process all declines and rebill them as part of their service.

6. Your vendor does not provide deferred revenue reporting for accounting purposes. Deferred revenue is money received by a company in advance of having earned it. In other words, deferred revenues are not yet revenues and therefore cannot yet be reported on the income statement. As a result, the unearned amount must be deferred to the company’s balance sheet where it will be reported as a liability. If you have to spend time doing this reporting instead of your vendor, it becomes another added expense for you.

7. Your vendor does not provide a clear explanation of charges. There is nothing more aggravating than discovering ‘blended hidden’ rates of services in your vendor’s bill. If they do not provide this clarity there is no way for you to know exactly how much you are paying for what.

8. Your vendor’s software does not allow for extensive data mining of your member database. In the fitness industry it is critical to be able to quickly contact ALL the members in your database — current, former and prospective — so you can inform them of sales, specials, events, new products, “please come back” offers and use the integrated CRM to upsell them. If your vendor does not integrate this function into their software it may take you hours to search the database for the group you want to reach, export the result, and then contact the members through one of the email or texting services.

9. Your vendor’s system does not include a mobile phone app. More and more gym members want to user their phones to schedule training, buy services, research history,and check into the gym. A built-in app that your members can quickly acquire and download to their phone can save your club hundreds or thousands of dollars.

10. Your vendor’s software does not allow for online training and scheduling. Being able to allow online booking and scheduling is crucial. It frees up your resources by letting the trainers and members schedule classes themselves. Plus standalone scheduling systems can cost hundreds of extra dollars a month, a real detriment to your bottom line.

11. Your vendor’s software does not reflect the number of training sessions used after purchase. If the vendor’s system does not automatically perform the function of managing the allocation and use of purchased sessions, you will spend your money using your staff to manually keep track of what was purchased and when it was used.

12. Your vendor does not provide a CRM website that integrates with your software. Fitness clubs that can be found on all the social media outlets are ahead of the game. And the smart clubs use social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram — to link to a user-friendly website where the latest offers and specials can be purchased. If your vendor does not offer this service and link it directly to your software database, you are losing revenue that could push your earnings to a whole new level.

14. Your vendor does not include online contracts as a feature of their software. For years you have been having your new clients fill out paper contracts at the front desk — contracts that you then have to file away and keep permanently somewhere in your office. Software that stores all these contracts digitally and allows your members and prospects to sign up using a kiosk, tablet or phone allows you to store all your “paperwork” in the cloud, saving you space and allowing for instant retrieval of contracts. Paperless contracts stored on a secure cloud server also keep your club PCI compliant.

And that’s just some of the ways that your vendor can lose you money. When you are looking for Gym Billing Software or if you are just starting to wonder if you have gym software that is doing the very best job for you, review this information so you can ask the right questions.

An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

Attention Fitness Club Owners!! Are you struggling to grow your club and operate it?

Here are some of the most common problems I see club owners facing:

  1. They don’t have enough time to scale and manage because they are putting out fires 🔥
  2. They are barely breaking even or worse…..losing money 📉
  3. They are experienced with fitness but not with running a business
  4. They don’t know if they should sell their club or try to bring it alive 🏥
  5. Because of this, they are impeding the growth of their club

If one or more of these sounds like a problem you have had recently, then it’s time to make a change.

I’m Jim Thomas and I’ve been specialize in helping club owners make the right decisions to take their clubs to the next level. If you would like me to personally audit your club, and provide you with a strategy session to see how we can improve your current situation, simply click the link below, fill out your name and number, and I will be in touch with you shortly! (Offer limited)

Because…..When the going gets TOUGH, the SMART get HELP.™

Get a strategy session ➡️➡️ https://lnkd.in/dGs2SVu

An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

Health Club Employee Management

Reposted from www.abcfinancial.com

Every two interactions a member has with fitness staff in a given month results in one extra visit from that member the following month. It is essential to understand the correlation between employee turnover and member retention. Members value engagement from staff, and the staff values happy members.

Retaining and engaging employees is as important as retaining members. Many costs are associated with hiring and training new employees, so keeping the high performers in order to minimize hiring and onboarding costs can save your facility serious money and a lot of headaches. Here are some tips to keep employees engaged while boosting your facility’s efficiency:

1. Create a thorough onboarding process.

Supply employees with all information needed to prepare for the job: introduce them to the tools and team they will work with, and orient them to the facility. This process should be stan­dardized, making it repeatable and reliable. When new employees are trained at the discretion of whoever is working that day, significant details could be left out. Helping everyone stay on the same page builds trust among your employees while relieving you of actually training new people yourself.

2. Invest in employee education and training.

Similarly to the onboarding process, weekly staff meetings — as well as training sessions on gym equipment, software, and POS systems — keep everyone aligned in terms of club goals and how to use technology. Employees should also be familiar with new workout routines and techniques so they can help any member that might need assistance. The ability to recommend specific classes or trainers based on desired goals gives employees a greater sense of knowledge and credibility to members. This education creates more inherent value in whatever role that employee has and also instills a greater sense of trust between the member and employee. Members should feel confident that most questions they have can be answered by the staff at hand.

3. Offer employee incentives.

Reward employees when they do a great job. This incentivizes them to continue striving above and beyond and demonstrates that you recognize this behavior. How you measure the benchmarks for rewards is up to you. Consider things like the number of new members signed up or positive reviews left online or in a suggestion box. If this is clearly spelled out to employees, you offer them a clear line to rewards. These prizes should not be given out randomly, but rather enshrined in a well-defined and circulated document. You’ll be able to tell if this works by analyzing the metrics that the awards are based off. If your employees truly feel incentivized, you’ll achieve those goals much faster. Also, if this ends up costing your gym more than it produces, consider revisiting how you reward employees. Cash is always nice, but free membership packages or gift cards to local restaurants might prove more sustainable.

4. Test employees’ knowledge.

Quiz employees regularly to ensure they understand all processes and procedures thoroughly. This can be done through multiple choice quizzes or in-person roundtable discussions. Give them the opportunity to ask questions in weekly meetings and provide their feedback for overall facility improvement. Sometimes a shy employee might not bring up what he does not know for fear of losing his job or your trust. Encouraging a welcoming environment of learn­ing without stigma will eventually create an educated workforce unafraid to ask a question or speak up when something is not clearly explained. You can also reward employees for their knowledge of your gym, as mentioned before. Be sure to keep tabs on the people trying to learn the most. The more your staff knows, the more helpful they can be to members.

5. Adopt a Member Focus Approach

Adopting a member focused approach, offering different experiences, products, and services to different customers based on their individual needs, is a key ingredient and philosophy for success in the health club industry today. This approach puts customers at the center of business strategy, places an emphasis on customer service training, and aims to maximize the lifetime value of health club members. The lifetime value of members being one of THE most important key performance indicators in the health club industry today. Do you want to get your staff to adopt a more member-centric approach in your health club business?

6. Create a Personalized Member Experience

Consumers in general along with gym and health club members expect personalized communications and services tailored to their individual preferences. Personalization in the health club, gym and fitness industry c needs to go beyond basic tactics like addressing customers by their first name in emails or providing one size fits all workout or exercise programming. Creating new fitness solutions and messaging using technology helps to Hyper-Personalize Health Club marketing and services.

  • Genomics to Personalize
  • 3D Body Scanning
  • Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics

An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

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