by Jeff Russo
In my February 2013 article I stated that “If I had one bit of advice for an independent CDN club owner it would be to ask yourself if you are in business to make money. Now, invest in it. Research, financing and vision are the makeup and responsibility of the entrepreneur … not implementation.” I’ve heard many independent club owners tell me that they would love to be able to work on their businesses if they could afford to do so, but they had to step back in, cut payroll and take over many of the responsibilities to cut costs.
Unfortunately, this seldom if ever ends up being successful. Marketing and sales start to immediately suffer with the owner being torn in too many directions, unable to focus on being the best in any one given area. Too often, small club owners state that their businesses cannot support specialization in any given area, and that staff members have to work several positions to earn a living. In a way, they are the authors of their own destiny. As Henry Ford always said, “there are two kinds of people in this world, those who believe they can do something and those who believe they can’t, and both of them are right.” Owners set the bar way too low and have below average expectations for their employees. They fail to review their staff diligently each and every month with Key Performance Indicators and do not take quick enough action to replace staff when they underperform. If targets are not hit within a 3 month period you must replace that individual without hesitation. You owe it to your business not to be best friends with your employees and you owe it to them.
In addition, owners fail to realize that performance based pay structures are the key to their club’s success and that it doesn’t cost you any more to have those people working in your club. For instance in our Pro Fitness Program organizations, Membership Reps are paid straight commission, Fitness Consultants get a fee only when they complete a consultation, which the member pays for, and then get commission on the sale, and Trainers get paid only a fee per session. If your rates and packages are correct and your margins are set right, you should have no problem hiring “the right whos to give you the right whats”. Then, as an owner, you can focus on first things first which is driving more traffic through the door so that your performance driven team can get you the results your business demands.
Recommended Reading: Jim Collins. Built to Last
Jeff Russo has been involved in the fitness industry from 1986 and has worked with over 60 independent health clubs in Canada and the United States in terms of improving customer service and profitability. His Pro Fitness Program has revolutionized the way fitness clubs operate with an emphasis on selling education results and knowledge as opposed to facility and price. Jeff has been a regular speaker for IHRSA and Can Fit Pro. His business consulting systems have created more full time fitness careers for independent club owners than anyone in history. If you would like more information please inquire at www.profitnessprogram.com
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