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Monthly Archives: December 2020

The Right Person For The Job?

One of the biggest challenges I have had in my journey as a business owner is hiring. It's this weird dance of the applicant trying to convince you they are THE most qualified, THE most enthusiastic, with THE best work ethic you have ever seen.

And you are trying to figure out all the reasons why they aren't. In my experience it often comes down to making a gut decision. I've been right on those, and I've been wrong. 

But if your hiring process is solid, and you know how to filter through the pretenders, there are gems to be found. Really good people, with great work ethic, who put in their all to grow and get better. When you find someone like that, it's your job to keep them!

And the key to accomplishing that is to the second step on the "Order" level of the Fix This Next Business Hierarchy of Needs (BHN).

Need #2: Role Alignment:

Question: Are people's roles and responsibilities matched to their talents?

Another way to ask it is this; Do you have the right person doing the right job?

When you hire, you hire for need. It just makes sense. If you need a coach in your gym, you put the word out in the marketplace that you are hiring a coach. 

But what if you find out later that this particular hire is an absolute superstar when it comes to sales? And has the ability to lead? And is hungry to learn and grow?

You see, it's usually not until weeks and months after you bring on a new team member that you actually know who you really hired. Get rid of the ones who don't fit, and help the ones that do fit, shine. 

The "superstar" I mentioned earlier is a real live person, and her name is Meagan Sbat. I hired her as a very part-time coach, but she didn't stay there long. She eventually became the GM of one of our gym locations, and a couple of years ago she bought that location from me. Good decision, Dean. I have watched her flourish and navigate this pandemic as well as anyone could. She even just recently moved the entire gym into a bigger location so she could serve her clients better. Truthfully, she is absolutely the right person at the right time for owning and operating that gym. I am pretty sure I would not have had the guts to do what she has done. Under her leadership Get Fit NH has thrived.

In her case, I got it right. By recognizing and developing her skills and talents, the whole business got better. And she isn't the only success story at that business. About a year before we sold the business, I started working with one of our coaches, Adam Gray, on program design and development. That was harder than you think because I am very protective and picky about program design. But he too has stepped up and developed a world class coaching program. And again, the business is better for it.

Sometimes that story won't have a fairy-tale ending. Sometimes the hire doesn't work out and you need to let them go. Other times you will end up developing a person only to have them leave because they have outgrown your company. I am not saying that's easy to take, but you can and should take pride that you helped that person flourish and succeed. 

Here's your action step for today. Take some time to think about your team and if they are really enjoying and flourishing in the role they currently occupy in your company. Would someone be better suited in a different role? Is it time to create a role that would benefit both parties and drive the business forward? Is that task you are holding onto really something "only you can do", or is ego getting in the way of letting it go?

When you have the right people doing the right jobs they are happier, customers are happier, and you are happier.

Who can argue with that?

More Marketing Isn’t the Answer

There’s a lot of marketing noise and advice out there in every industry, but in the gym and fitness industry, there seems to be even more. After all, we’ve had to close up shop this year, bring on more health and cleaning expenses and even pivot to the online space–changing up our offers and searching out new prospective clients.

It’s not been an easy year. But yet, some small gyms have thrived. And others? They continue to struggle.

For many business coaches who serve the gym and fitness industry, the answer seems to be marketing. If you can just get in front of more people…if you can just sell more services…if you can just…if you can just…

Sure, more customers and more revenue is great, but it’s not the answer. Not by a long shot.

Before we get to the solution…

We know you love what you do. Your happy place is working with your training clients, developing training programs, and teaching classes. You want your clients to meet their health and fitness goals, and you know how to get them there.

You opened your business–your gym, practice, studio–because you wanted a space where your clients could gather and you could help more people. Working for someone else wasn’t working for you because you couldn’t create and launch the programs you wanted to. Working out of your garage could only get you so far–and the weather got in the way a lot of the time.

But you knew what would help clients so you opened your own place. And while it’s been a lot of hard work, you’re proud of what you’ve built.

Now, with COVID causing all kinds of chaos, you hear from business coaches, friends and family, heck, even your competition, that more (or better) marketing is the answer to making ends meet this year.

Throwing out more marketing isn’t going to get you over this hump. In fact, chances are that more marketing and more sales (aka more revenue) isn’t what you actually need.

What you need is to keep the revenue you already have.

It feels really good to look at your revenue and see that you have a $250k business. Or a $500k business. Especially if you started off training clients in your garage or at the park down the street.

But those great revenue numbers are just that–numbers. They don’t tell the whole story of your business or your lifestyle.

We’ve had the honor to look behind the scenes at some amazing fitness businesses and we see a lot of the same challenges again and again. When revenue increases, expenses also increase. That’s nothing out of the ordinary. But we see expenses increase at a rate that’s not aligned with the revenue.

If you’re building a scalable, sustainable business, you need to have systems and processes in place that help to make your life easier. Having 20 personal training clients should feel very similar to having 10 personal training clients because you have automations that take care of scheduling, billing, follow-ups, and more. Going from 10 clients to 20 clients should double your revenue, but it shouldn’t double your work (or your expenses).

We believe that before you throw marketing at your business to try to make up for the COVID gap, you should take a close look at your numbers and determine where you can make cuts and where you can tighten the belt–as well as where you’re wasting time and money because the operations side of your business isn’t efficient.

Yes, this is one of the less sexy sides of business ownership. But it’s a lot sexier to have money in the bank and some free time on your hands than it is to feel the stress and frustration you’re feeling right now.

Book a call with us today and let’s talk about how we can help!

Create Your Own Easy Button

Remember the Staples "Easy Button"? We keep one around the gym so after a grueling set of squats or KB swings I can go over and press it, with the cheery voice saying...

"That Was Easy!"

Clients love it, really!

Seriously though, Staples was on to something. They were communicating to their customers that doing business with us is better. Simpler, hassle free, pleasant. Easier. It was a big brand promise, and you can decide for yourself if they live up to it. 

I was reminded of the Easy Button as I worked my way through the "Order" level of the Business Hierarchy of Needs (BHN).

Need #1: Minimize Wasted Effort

Question: Do you have an ongoing and working model to reduce bottlenecks, slowdowns, and inefficiencies?

In other words, are you actively looking and working to make things easier?

This applies to both the way your customers do business with you, and the way your team delivers your services. As we discussed last time, documenting and following systems is important. The danger is we get caught in the "that's just the way we do it" trap. Look, I don't like change any more than the next person, but when you discover a way to do something that makes someone else's life easier and it still accomplishes the end result, try that instead!

And remember it's not all about you and your team. Sometimes in our attempt to make things easier for us, we make it harder on the client. Not a good idea. For years in our gym we took attendance manually, you know, on actual paper. That meant the client never had to do anything except walk in the door. Sometimes we would check them off as they made their way in, or make a mental note and check them off later. It worked pretty well, but it wasn't perfect. We would invariably miss one or two throughout the day. Eventually we moved over to a new software that had attendance built in. This would surely make things better! We explained to our clients it had an app for your phone, so when you walked in the door all you had to do was open it up and check that you were here. Easy peasy, right? People are used to using their phones for all sorts of things, surely this would not be a problem.

Except it was. Clients left their phones in the car, "forgot" to do it, or just didn't care. We had added one more thing to their plate in order to get it off ours. The new system ended up being less efficient and less accurate than the old one. After a few weeks, we tweaked the system so we were doing the input again, just using software this time. The important take home here is we listened to what clients were saying. If we were stubborn and insisted it be done our way, it would have just led to bad feelings on top of it not getting done.

Often reducing bottlenecks and being more efficient is amazingly simple, if you are willing to listen to what your clients and team are saying. Sometimes "complaints" are key insights into what is causing friction with the way you do business, and wisdom listens, not dismisses.

If you want a happier team and happier clients, what is the one thing you can do today to make them want to press the "Easy Button"?

Why You Need to Reverse Engineer Your Cash Flow Goals

As a gym owner or someone working in the health and wellness industry, you know that revenue fluctuates throughout the year.

During the fall and the holidays, clients aren’t as responsive or working out as much–either because they’re busy with work and family or because they don’t want to feel bad about not following their health plan. At the beginning of the year, things pick up as people set resolutions and goals…but then taper off after a few weeks or months. Then, of course, there’s beach season where clients are ready to dive back in. And around and around it goes.

All this fluctuation in client commitment results in a fluctuation in revenue. And it’s enough to give you a headache.

After all, your operating expenses don’t fluctuate that much, and you’d like to collect a regular paycheck that you can count on.

That’s why reverse engineering your cash flow goals can help you stay on budget month to month and ensure you’re spending (and saving) the right amount to meet your operating expense needs.

This is why it’s so incredibly important to have a bookkeeper on your team to help explain your financial data to you and what your financial reports mean. A bookkeeper can also ensure that you’re staying within your budget each month, even on those slow months.

Here’s how reverse engineering works:

  1. First, you’ll need a profit assessment to determine exactly what you’re making in your business right now.
  2. You also need to take a good look at your P&L statements–over the course of a year. Determine what your average operating expenses are each month (total OPEX for the year ÷ 12 = average OPEX each month).
  3. Are you making your average OPEX each month?

Typically, the answer is no. But the idea is to allow your busier months to make up for your slower months.

And if you’re spending more than 45% of your revenue on OPEX, chances are you’re not paying yourself enough. It’s time to find ways to lower your operating expenses.

But I can’t lower my expenses any more than I already have.

That’s what you’re thinking, right? I get it. Ask yourself this: Are you legitimately getting 100% value out of everything you’re spending on right now?

  • Do you need two team members covering the front desk when the gym is slower?
  • Is it necessary to buy that equipment this month?
  • Can you negotiate a better rate on your insurance?
  • Is it possible to let go of some of your equipment leases?
  • Can you reduce the frequency of equipment maintenance because usage is lower?

With your Profit First advisor, go through your expenses line by line and look at ways to reduce spending so you can get your OPEX more in line with where it should be. You’ll be surprised at where you can find money!

We’re happy to help you with this process. Schedule a call with us today and let’s reverse engineer your cash flow so you can start hitting your goals.

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