My biggest mistake that I made when I started X Fitness from scratch 15 years ago in 2001 jeopardized our survival until we corrected it. I mistakenly believed that our main competition was other gyms. It wasn’t true then and it is not true today. Other gyms are not our main competition. Never has been and never will be. Our in-house research shows that other gyms are not even in our Top Ten main competitors. One of our main competitors is inflation including, but not limited to, skyrocketing hydro bills that are contributing to nearly unaffordable living in Ontario.
Hydro costs are forcing our current and potential members to make spending decisions – pay for electricity or pay for a gym membership. Hydro bills is currently our number one problem that we have to solve both in paying our own bills and convincing current and potential members to not give up an X Fitness membership and coaching despite skyrocketing hydro bills. Add up the rest of inflation – gas, food, real estate, taxes, insurance, and all the other growing expenses – and we currently face our second biggest challenge in our 15-year history.
Here’s Real-Life Lesson #1,193 that I’ve learned in 15 years as a gym owner – unpredictability is the greatest challenge in the David versus Goliath fight for independent start-up gyms to survive and thrive. Unpredictability is a multi-dimensional concept, consisting of a list of elements and variables too long and too complex for this article. Unpredictability is the biggest obstacle to short-term and long-term planning. No one could have accurately predicted the full nature and extent of inflation during the past 15 years, 5 years, or even the past 5 months. Ontario hydro bills have caused an unpredictable crisis that forces rapid-decision making, day by day, hour by hour.
There are wide-ranging solutions to solve the chaos of unpredictability that go beyond the scope of this article but the starting point is designing a system. A system is more than policies and procedures. It is a limitless playbook that features decision-making models to achieve the main element of solving uncertainty – the concept of strategize & improvise, a decision-making model intended to make the best call in the shortest amount of time, while facing the most intense pressure.
Proactive measures are the key to solving uncertainty. In reality, you have to combine both proactive and reactive measures but it is easy to ignore the proactive approach and become exclusively a responder. Proactivity in any profession is tougher than being a responder. Our in-house research has revealed a proactive methodology that has been essential to our independent gym survival for 15 years. Some of that methodology will be explained in future articles.
The fitness industry is a tough business. Never stop learning. Stop learning, stop earning. Be a life-long learner. Commit to continuing education. Read, watch, listen. The intellectual pump is as important as the physical pump. X Fitness is committed to lift through Blunt Talk Podcast. We have had a number of fitness professionals as guests. Each episode is free, permanently archived. Each guest is a soul-lifter. Please visit Blunt Talk Podcast compliments of X Fitness at: www.ginoarcaro.com or www.xfitness.ca or http://blunttalk.libsyn.com/ X Fitness and Blunt Talk Podcast are committed to lift. There’s enough depressing news. We won’t contribute to it. Our 122 guests are guaranteed to lift.
Blessings & all good things.