Original air date April 23, 2020. Run time approx 1 hour
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We’re in it now what? What comes next, will my clients come back, what do I need to change about the way I deliver service, how has the market and my clients changed? So many questions.
Thomas Plummer takes his 40 plus years in the fitness industry and shares what he thinks you should be doing to come out of this stronger than before. He lays out his 3 stage plan and has an amazing offer at the end of the episode.
Key Takeaways from the episode
Originally published May 13, 2020
“We are at the end of the beginning. Now we work towards the beginning of the end”—Winston Churchill
This was written about eighty years ago and applies directly today to what is happening in the gym business. We have muddled through the first stage, but now the hard work begins.
The next stage of reopening will be the hardest. You have to convince a wary client you can keep him safe in an environment not universally known for cleanliness. If you ask the average consumer, we are more known as an industry packing people in for cheap prices, lines for cardio and the more the better when it comes to clients.
In our surveys done by the NFBA through the years, the number one reason women left their gym was cleanliness issues, a perception that will be hard to change during a pandemic.
The training gyms generally view themselves as a step above in cleanliness, but the standard of cleanliness we have applied during the years...
Originally published May 5, 2020
There is hope in this industry and there is always opportunity in chaos. Gyms moving beyond the shutdowns will be positioned to attack, and those survivors will probably have the best September-May run in recent fitness industry history.
30% of the gyms now closed will not reopen
First the bad news. I believe if we stay closed until the end of June, we will lose at least thirty percent of the gyms currently operating in the U.S. It costs at least sixty percent of your operating costs to sit dark and there will be a large number of operators unable to come up with the cash needed to keep going forward.
There will be some bailout money for the chains, but the amount needed to save them will be staggering and slow to come. When they do reopen, or better said if they do reopen, most will come out of the relaunch slowly, requiring months of time to re-staff and regroup.
If they do stay closed for at least three months, they will also have a destroyed...
Originally published March 27, 2020
Most of the gyms in the world are shut down. You can work through it, solve some problems, and reopen stronger and ready to rage, or you can sit, stare, and moan about it. Your choice, but I think we should fight back and do everything we can to protect our gyms.
As a consultant, I have built a career trying to do the right thing for my clients and their businesses. If you lead, you have to believe you are right, because if you are wrong, you hurt someone who trusted you and one that you often care about beyond the business relationship.
I am going to give gym owners advice here... and for the first time in my career, I hope I am not just wrong, but horribly, not a clue, I cannot believe he wrote that, wrong.
I do not believe we will get gyms open across this country until at least June 1, but I am going to tell you to prepare to stay shut until July 1. This is where I hope I am wrong and you get open in a few weeks, and we get back to business.
Originally published March 19, 2020
Do you close or do you fight it out?
Tough call, and there are arguments for both sides, but this argument is being taken away from you with a few more state closings daily.
As it is tracking across the states now, and as of today over thirty states have forced closings or have severe restrictions, you will be forced to close at some point soon before this subsides, and you need to be prepared for this. There will be exceptions in certain states, but for most of us it will be a forced closing for an undetermined amount of time.
If you are open and plan to stay that way, there is one side that claims it is morally irresponsible to stay open raising the possibility you could be part of spreading the disease. Close the gym, take you and your team out of the fight, and wait until someone gives you the word to reopen. Why risk your staff to infection or worse, risk infecting the clients, which often are in the target group most affected by the...
Originally published March 16, 2020
It is going to get tougher to keep your business open during the next several weeks, but if you can, and this is my personal opinion, do not close until you are forced to by the local governments.
There are two ways to look at this problem for gym owners.
First of all, we could voluntarily close for several weeks and do everything we can do to keep the virus from spreading. This is an option many of you will feel comfortable with and I will give you some guidelines for this if this is your choice. If you are personally concerned about the virus, then do not hesitate to close.
The other option is more complicated. We should be, and can be, a beacon of calmness and a safe haven for those who need a place to go, are not willing to give up the benefits of fitness and health defending them against illness, and who need support.
If we do everything right, we mitigate the risks associated with staying open and become that one place a person can visit and...
Originally published March 13, 2020
Yesterday I sent an email to all of you on the subject of taking a leadership role in protecting your gym in this time of uncertainty. Here are a few more ideas you might want to think about:
Call, not text, every member and ask if he or she is okay, let them know you are open, and reassure them the gym is a safe and clean place to visit. Write this script out on an index card so you can leave it as a message anticipating most will not answer directly.
Sample script:Hi, this is Thom from the gym. Just checking in to make sure you are okay and to let you know we are open and have obsessively made this one of the cleanest and safest places you could visit in town. Eat well, get some sleep and get some workouts in. Staying healthy is the best defense against getting sick.
Texts as a backup after the calls are made
Start a daily email as to how to stay healthy. One of the keys, for example, is to drink much more water than the average person drinks...
Originally published March 12, 2020
I have had an enormous number of emails about the virus and how it is affecting businesses.
Here are my thoughts, which are based as the situation is today, on what you can do to protect your business.
The first rule is to provide leadership. Your clients, if left without a constant stream of contact from you, tend to make up things in their own head.
You have to take control of the narrative on social media every day. You should be posting several times day letting your people know what is going on and why the gym is a safe place to be.You need to emphasize that the gym is being professionally cleaned every single day and sanitized. Professionally does not mean the kids who work in the gym are the cleaners. The last thing you want to do is run a post of a young male, who is not recognized by the community as an icon of cleanliness, wiping down the equipment with a spray bottle of “who knows what” chemicals.