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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 On Hiring Your Next Coach

Hiring and more importantly, knowing when to hire, has been something I admittedly struggled with early on as a Manager. Over the last 18 months and two hires later, I’ve gone 2 for 2 with both Coaches exceeding all my expectations and both have asked for, and successfully taken on, more responsibilities within the health club.

I wanted to highlight three of the common factors that I think have lead to the hiring process being a (smooth) success…

1) Have your entire staff interview all hiring prospects

Like many gyms, we aim to hire exclusively from our internship pool. Well, one Coach came from our internship program, and one coach didn’t…what did they both have to do?

For each hire, we sat as a staff and talked pros/cons and assessed if we NEEDED to hire a Coach. We sifted through scenarios, our personal schedules, and ultimately came to a conclusion that yes, we did need someone. During this process with our existing staff, I think it helped everyone realize the ROLE of the new hire, what they would be doing, and how it would POSITIVELY effect the current staff.

The next thing we did was a group interview. The entire staff interviews all prospects. We then meet as a group after and discuss. If the person is worthy of the next round, great.

What I’m getting at is this. Make sure your existing staff is involved, this is a how the melting pot of gym culture starts to unfold. Both new Coaches blended right in and built up what we currently had.

2) Hire for need, not for luxury

Similar along the points made in the first thing, make sure you, the manager, knows exactly WHO you are trying to hire. I don’t mean WHO as in the person, rather, the type or kind of person you need. For example, we hired our first Coach because we were looking for an Athletic Trainer to improve on an emerging sports medicine role. We hired our second Coach because we needed a personality to mesh with our youngest development program. By knowing what and where your NEEDS are, you’re able to add complimentary pieces, know how those pieces fit, and start them immediately.

Bonus tip- this process also empowers the new hire. New hires’s are the new kid in school. If the new kid knows exactly what and why they are there, they now can take on ownership of that role OR if they don’t have an interest in that role, you can fizzle them out during the hiring process.

3) The first 30 days are the most important

I can not stress this enough. When you pull the trigger on expanding your staff, YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THAT COACH!

Seriously.

Make sure before you even think about expanding your staff, you have your on-boarding systems outlined and ready to go.

Things to consider…

  • Facility walk through- highlight the flow of traffic as they come in and out of the facility

  • How to greet clients, how to close out a session

  • Training systems- break it up- training, customer relations, etc. and how much TIME is devoted to this learning process.

  • Teaching your programming system - do they need to have a baseline understanding of anything?

Most important thing- ASK your Coach what a successful first 30 days looks like- this will give you the road map!


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