Just 10 years ago being different just meant opening the doors. There was very much a “build it and they will come” mentality at the time that serve gym owners well enough.
Then just 5 years later supplied had reached demand as markets filled out. You’d be crazy if you didn’t see it coming.
Gym owners love to pride themselves on hard work, I wouldn’t expect anything different from a business owner cut from the cloth of grueling workouts where the only way to get through the workout is to go “straight through”.
Workout sucks? Want to quit? Nope, not an option. Bite down, grit your teeth and finish. To have success in your workout you might say it’s a mentality of “more of the same” effort until it’s done.
What hard work looks like as a gym owner in 2010 is completely different from what it looks like now. In 2015, hard work meant maybe figuring out how you’re going to coach all these classes as your gym has grown.
Along with market sophistication comes a sophistication in the business owner that serves that market. Back in 2010 or even 2015 words like automation and delegation were hardly in the conversation for the average microgym owner.
Even in 2015 there wasn’t an expectation from the market that you have an app for scheduling classes and viewing workouts. It was more of a frill. Now it’s an expectation.
In 2015, your gyms website could pretty much serve as a brochure. There wasn’t an expectation that your website followed the whole “buyer’s journey” framework and spoke to exactly what they’re dealing with. Now it’s an expectation.
Back then, having multiple programs, like a HIIT class and a lifting class, offering personal training and even “on-ramps” weren’t much of an expectation. Again, more of a luxury. Now, almost all those things are expectations.
I remember most independent gyms didn’t even answer their phones during peak hours, now it’s an expectation. I’ve seen gyms get trivial but crushing reviews for not answering the phones.
As you business begins to bear these expectations, it lays new expectations upon you as the owner and operator. That you have systems in place to manage all these new expectations.
In 2020, there is an expectation that you’ve thought about where you stand in your fulfillment, operations, sales and marketing and that you’re constantly working the level these up.
If you aren’t then the prospect can smell it from a mile away. Why? Because they can walk to numerous corporate “microgyms” and experience consistencies on all these fronts.
While those gyms can NEVER match the vibe and environment of your mom n’ pop independent gym, you prospect has to get through all that other stuff first.
And with so many options it’s easy for them to turn away at the first sign of resistance. It’s not their fault, they’re just humans looking for the best fit in a time where they can have a dozen options at their fingertips in a single google search.
These corporate gyms have figured out how to appear as “grounded” as your grassroots, heart n’ soul built business. Even though they’re about as sterile and redundant as it gets.
To the unorganized gym owner that feels cold and dark. It feels unfair and like a disadvantage. If this is you, you’re probably in a super re-active state and that’s the worst place to be, it’s making you super anxious.
The prepared and pro-active gym owner is thriving. The corporate gym is a feeder for their business. Their position in their market is to take advantage of these shortcomings as the corporate gyms churn through the locals.
This is a gym owner who is not doing “more of the same”. They’re multiplying their effectiveness through the use of automation, delegation and elimination.
They have marketing systems in place to meet the markets expectation for timely response and to guide them along the “buyers journey”.
They have systems and SOP’s (standard operating procedures) lined out for back-end operations and have a staff to help you tackle the redundant tasks that eat up the time you could be using the grow the gym’s bottom line.
They have expectations set for their staff and are leading them to optimize the class experience and fulfillment.
They’re very likely not doing all those things themselves. It’s not more, it’s actually about less.
It means work hard, but not on “more of the same”. Instead, it’s defining and working hard on knocking down the big dominos. Instead of rowing the boat in 12 different directions and getting no where it’s rowing the boat in one direction with the same effort making some serious movement.
Small, incremental and compounding gains are amazing, they’re how you build an empire. But only when they compound in a linear direction.
Problem is, most can’t focus on one thing long enough to really make a huge difference. They get lost in the minutia, the redundant tasks that eating up all your time and make you feel like you “worked hard”.
Unconventional success calls for unconventional approaches. It’s paradoxical, at first it defies common sense. It’s serviceable and, at first, it’s what got us here. Plus we have gotten good at it. It’s a trap.
Your historical most dependable behaviors can become the major obstacles to future success.
If you want to accelerate, you need to break out of routine and seek out new behaviors. That’s what it takes to become a BIG Little Gym.