Today is the 16th anniversary of X Fitness, a 24-hour independent gym that I started from scratch. Planet Earth has dramatically changed since 2001. There are thousands of real-life lessons I’ve learned to win the David versus Goliath battle in order to survive in the fitness business as a start-up independent but there are three basic real-life lessons that stand above the rest:
1. Retention is more difficult than recruitment
2. There is nothing harder to sell than fitness.
3. Never forget 4 words – I can’t afford it.
#1. Recruiting and retaining customers is the heart and soul of surviving as an independent startup. However, customer retention is far more difficult than customer recruitment. Coaching football and coordinating two college law enforcement programs taught me Real-Life Lesson #4,118 – finders are not keepers. It’s easier to find customers than keeping them. The same applies to our gym. We have conducted a 16-year internal investigation about customer recruitment and retention. We discovered extensive evidence of what works out and what doesn’t work out, literally and figuratively. Those findings will be published in future articles. As a result, I never have and never will use the phrase ‘customer loyalty’ because we have concluded customers are not retained out of loyalty to a business. They either need you or they don’t. It’s not an issue of loyalty. It’s a matter of fit. Retention is an outcome of fitting together, of being a match. You fit as long as you make them fit. What works out for us will be explained in future articles.
#2. Nothing is harder to sell than fitness – physical and academical. Health is harder to sell than harm. I drove past four packed fast food restaurants en route to my gym tonight. They are packed every night. X Fitness is packed sometimes. The reason is that is takes extraordinary drive to keep going to the gym. All it takes to get to a fast food restaurant is an ordinary drive – dual meaning. Our biggest competition during the winter months is not other gyms – its travel. Pleasure almost always trumps pain. When customers have to decide between a trip to a hot place and a trip to the gym, the hot place always wins. No contest. What works out for us will be explained in future articles.
#3. Never forget 4 words – I can’t afford it. Don’t spend more than you earn. Learn to do more with less. I learned that lesson first from my poor illiterate immigrant Italian parents. Then I saw that lesson in action everywhere I’ve worked – manual labour, policing, college teaching, and coaching football. Overspend and you go under. “I can’t afford it” are four words that saved X Fitness. It’s sounds easy but it isn’t. It takes strength and conditioning to be consistently disciplined especially in this post-modern era of fitness that includes skyrocketing equipment costs. But, you have to know the difference between being economical and being cheap. How we do it 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. All 152 episodes are 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 152 guests are guaranteed to lift. If you would like to be a guest on Blunt Talk Podcast to lift our world-wide audience while promoting your business, please contact me at www.ginoarcaro.com or www.xfitness.ca or firstname.lastname@example.org or through social media.
Blessings & all good things.