Back in January I was contacted by the owner of a high-end personal training gym nearby. By high end, I mean that he charges from $65 - $45 for a 20-minute training session and clients train twice a week. So that’s $130 - $90 a week, or $520 - $360 a month. Only 2-3 people can train at the same time. This is an expensive training program for people with money to spare. It’s certainly not for the Planet Fitness crowd. The owner, we’ll call him Ted, had met me at a function and begged me to coach him. I have never coached anyone outside of HealthSource and certainly not in a different industry.
And hey, what do I know about the gym business…..darn near nothing, other than I’ve been training at them since I was 14. But as I was taught by many mentors, business is business. I thought about it some and discussed it with one of my mentors, Rob Berkley. Rob said “go ahead and coach him for a couple hours a month. I think you’ll find it not only interesting, but it’ll make you more creative with HealthSource so you can help your docs grow faster.” So even though what I know about building a gym business is nonexistent, I decided to give it a go as long as I felt it was helping the gym owner AND sparking creativity on my part that could be used in HealthSource.
Here’s what I learned on the first call: the gym was barely making any money. In fact, it recently lost $9,500 in a single month. New clients were in the dumper, with his monthly goal being just 5 new clients, which he wasn’t achieving. He had no marketing calendar to speak of due to ‘finances’. So I’m depressingly thinking, ‘what did I get myself into? This is going to be a time vampire and I’m not exactly brimming with free time right now.’
The owner, Ted, had a clearly undefined vision for himself and for the gym. He did say that he wanted to franchise his concept in the future and open up a second location. When he told me that all I could think was “franchise what? There is no business here. And going from one barely alive business to two is akin to stupidity.’ His #1 issue according to Ted? Cash flow. I resisted the temptation to correct him on this on the very first phone call. I’d think about it a bit and talk to him the next week.
What do you think his #1 issue really is? How about #2? Is this guy, I mean business, fixable?
Chris Tomshack, DC