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3 Things About Gym Ownership Part 3

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The last installment of this very impromptu ‘gym ownership’ series features the timeline I would take if I was 25 year old Casey hell-bent on opening up my doors.

1) I would develop a client roster of 45+ individuals of 5+ years of coaching experience

Why? Whether you are looking to be strictly 1on1, offer semi-private coaching, or even large group sessions, you’re going to need body’s.

Newsflash! You will not have 100% of your clients leave the comfort of their routine and join you at your new spot. People love their routine, yes they love you, but they love the comfort of what they know.

The bottom line, make sure you have a client roster that can handle attrition AND can fill spots in your service offerings when the time comes.

2) I would have 2-4 years of management experience - specifically in financial management.

If you’ve never seen a P/L report, entered payroll, managed employee benefits, or know how a tax ID applies to your business- slow. down.

If you’re reading this you are probably an excellent technician of your craft. Being a great Coach is very different than being great at managing a business.

The bottom line, make sure you get your business reps in. Make low-pressure mistakes in the environment you are familiar with before going in to a high pressure situation with banks ready to repo your car to cover any debt you may have.

3) I would have a big role in our internship program as early as possble

This one is pretty off-script, but hear me out.

If you read part two of this series then you know I would have gone back and asked myself if I could teach. Building off that notion of teaching…Having a kick ass internship program helps establish the skills and experience of creating a program, resourcing people for that program, developing the education and curriculum layout, and then coaching and developing people in that program.

The bottom line, being able to teach your system is one thing, but having the experience of getting your system down on paper and implementing it is invaluable. Again, practice these reps in a low risk environment BEFORE your doors open and things start moving at 100mph!


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3 Things About Gym Ownership Part Two

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Part one of this topic was very well received so I wanted to back it up with a round two. I took a little different approach to this and wanted to pose three questions that I would now ask my younger self when the decision was made to open a facility.

Hindsight is always 20/20- but over the last two years, I have asked these exact questions to aspiring gym owners and they’ve felt some value in them…

Here we go!

1) What is your reason/why?

Cliche, yes. BUT, what I am getting as is this- why are you opening a gym? Do you think you can do it better than your current employer? (out of frustration). Do you have some secret sauce that makes your sessions better than someones perception of Orange Theory? (ego?) Or do you have an full schedule and want to take your business to scale? (expansion).

Seriously, ask yourself why. I was an ego driven and frustrated Strength Coach who thought I could do it better. We all know how that ended….

2) At what point will you be able to promote yourself out of the role as ‘trainer’?

This one typically starts with some confusion. You’re a damn good Personal Trainer, that’s why you’re opening a gym, right?

Not so fast.

If you’re opening a gym so that you (literally, YOU) can train more people, you’re just making a lateral career change that is going to cost you $5,000-$10,000 in monthly overhead to cover.

When you’re writing your business plan, make sure you know at what point you will be promoting yourself from Trainer to ‘owner’.

3) Can you teach?

Another often overlooked piece is your ability to teach your own systems to someone else. Clearly, you can TRAIN and teach a client. But can you teach your first hire? Your second hire? Can you teach someone who is going to be teaching the third hire?

Having your systems dialed in is one thing, but being able to clearly teach them to someone else is another. You would be surprised how many Personal Trainers don’t have their own training systems written out.

Start with that…seriously, that’s the product you are scaling to your new facility. You can’t scale a person - unless you have a cloning machine?- but you can scale the HOW you train part. Build that system, refine that system, and then practice teaching that system.

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