Business Owner Vs. Business Owner


I love speaking with business owners.. and getting that crazy look when I ask, “Are you a business OWNER or a BUSINESS owner?”


Funny question, right?

But, it’s relevant.  Here’s what I’m talking about…

The Passion Career Choice

In our industry, there are so many outstanding professionals who follow their PASSION for fitness and create their own businesses.

And, for many, the PASSION simply overrides the need to learn the necessary “business skills” to run a sustainable, successful business.

In fact, in many cases, it never “hits home” until an competitor moves in a block away!

It’s not just small studios, either.  Look at how Planet Fitness and other low-fee / no contract clubs scare the crap out of most mid-sized club owners.  Why?  Because most clubs, studios and trainers don’t know how to compete against low-ball price points.

There is so much more to running a business than just being a business OWNER.  Here are just 3 things you can do right now to SUPER-CHARGE your BUSINESS right now…!

#1 –  Is Your BRAND a Slacker?  Put It to Work!Slacker

I know this seems self-serving since branding is the nature of my business.  But, long before I started PLF I served as a strategic planner for large corporations.

These companies maintained “style books” so that ad and marketing agencies would know exactly how to apply their logo in any given circumstance – from trade show exhibits and signage to business cards and coffee mugs.

Big companies take their logo/brand very seriously.

Let me ask you a question:  What color is used by Planet Fitness?  I bet you know answer.  I could ask the same question about Gold’s Gym and you’d get that one right, too!  Why?  Because both companies take their brand and their colors seriously.  And, they’ve been successful at imprinting their brand on the consciousness of millions of consumers.

Yet for some reason, most fitness business owners don’t take it seriously at all. Take a look at most facilities and you’ll find all kinds of different brands of equipment.  Different brands of apparel.  Different brands of supplements.  It’s a Brand-A-Palooza!!!

Listen, all these different brands under one roof does nothing more than DILUTE THE HOME BRAND!  The main BRAND becomes OBSCURE.  How in the world is a club or studio supposed to breakout from the competition if it can’t even breakout in its own own facility?

Seriously… if you’re not putting your logo to work, you’re not accomplishing the most basic Marketing 101.   Here’s more about your logo…!

#2 –  Add Value to Your Business

The big players may be able to spend millions on advertising and promote cheap $10 per month memberships with no contract.  But, what they are selling is nothing more than a room full of equipment.

For the most part, there’s no training, no member services, no educational programs, no nutrition programs, no weight-management programs, no fitness contests or challenges, no NOTHING!  It’s a freakin’ room with equipment with ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE.  PERIOD.

This is why you should constantly and consistently market and sell YOUR VALUE PROPOSITIONS.   And, you should always be adding new VALUE-ADDED SERVICES to your offerings.

Check this out.  Kevin Moore owns a 35,000 sq. ft. co-ed club in North Carolina.   In 2010, a low-ball, 24-hour access big box franchise opened just a mile away.  Here’s what he did:

Kevin created a “VALUE COMPARISON” campaign.  He and his staff created signs, handouts, flyers and an assortment of marketing materials that looked something like the graphic below (only fancier) and STRATEGICALLY placed them everywhere he could between his club and big box as well as local newpaper ads, direct mail and value pack mailers.

The results were amazing and the big box closed up within 18 months!



#3 –  Offer Your Services ONLINE…!

This directly dove-tails off of #2 as a way of adding new services.  But, it’s so big, that it’s a “stand alone” value proposition.

Here’s a fact.  During a Q&A at an industry tradeshow, it was pointed out that less than one-tenth of 1% of the entire fitness industry is offering any serious online programming for their members.  Most have websites that are non-engaging.

In other words, beyond activity schedules and maybe, an eCommerce platform, most fitness and health club websites do NOT offer any kind of revenue-generating member engagement. 

In fact, most fitness sites are nothing more than online brochures!

HealthCoach_Flow3Again, I know this appears self-serving.

But, we would not make the huge investment to develop online products if we did not see it becoming a HUGE market – as well as an additional passive and pro-active income stream for all health and fitness professionals.

The most incredible example I know of is an ISSA certified trainer named Glenn Ward in New Jersey.

He’s 38 and runs approximately 80% of his business without a physical location. He only offers “in-home” mobile training – although he has a few deals where he trains out of a couple of local studios.

WebinarMan2His biggest source of revenue comes from his ONBOARD 101 that he’s bundled with his own private YouTube channel.  He also uses Skype to monitor his private offsite clients in real time.

Here’s why I mention Glenn.  His biggest client(s) is a group of 31 American expatriates living in Dubai, UAE.

He provides them with a group class via a Webinar Set-up using ONBOARD 101 and then conducts individual sessions with about half of them at scheduled times.

This is the scope of how BIG online training can be.  Just think about this for a moment.  A trainer in New Jersey working with clients in Dubai who all pay a recurring fee through PayPal.  That’s just nuts.

The health and fitness professional’s NEW REALITY is a GLOBAL MARKET!   It’s already happening! 

 Leap Frog the Fitness Industry

So… some thoughts for the BUSINESS owner.  Put on your business hat.  Put aside the passion for the moment since it never really goes away.  Right now is your big opportunity to just leap frog over the 99% of the fitness industry — who just don’t see the future or are stuck in their old ways.

  • If you are a big club owner, you really need to give some thought to ONLINE VALUE PROPOSITIONS for your members. Think about your summer programming.    ONBOARD 101 or any of the ONBOARD 101 Packages are a good example.   An online OUTDOOR WORKOUT hosted on your own YouTube Workout channel is another.  How about an ONLINE COOKING COURSE on healthy menu recipes.   These are all “engagement” type programs that keep your members “engaged with your brand.”
  • If you are smaller specialty studio… all of the above applies to you, too!  However, if you specialize, in something like cycling or MMA, then, you need to cast a larger net into the global market place.  Again, an online course or paid membership with “Specialty Secrets” for cycling enthusiasts and pro racers will generate passive income for you.   Same for MMA.  Again, the idea is to ENGAGE your TRIBE with YOUR BRAND(more about building your tribe….)
  • If you are a one-man fitness solopreneur, then Glenn Ward’s model is just the beginning.  You should be using technology to the fullest with automated marketing, online webinars, videos, Skype, Social Media… the works — Especially since you don’t have a physical location.

How Many Opportunities Have Slipped By You..?

I will continue to preach this “online” sermon because I’ve already done my homework.  I’ve committed a bunch of time and resources because I absolutely see it.

You know that your members and clients are all using digital devices.   But, did you know they actually WANT to engage with your brand on something more substantial than a schedule? Over the next 5 years they will be purchasing even more technology.

Try These 3 Things….

So there you have it. Three things you could start tomorrow!

  • Apply your LOGO / BRAND on everything and take it seriously!
  • Sell on VALUE, not on price.
  • Get your Business ONLINE…

BIG THINGS are happening in the fitness industry.  And, over the next few years we will begin to witness the split via success ratios between business OWNERS and BUSINESS owners.

Here’s the Most Powerful Welcome Letter Ever Written… for YOUR NEW CLIENTS!