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Old 05-03-2007, 06:19 AM   #1
Steve Shafley
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We touched on this in the big thread, but it's a topic that probably deserves it's own thread. There are a lot of training businesses that fail. Both independent businesses and also facilities affiliated with bigger names.

What makes for a successful training business?

Pierre mentioned that it seems like the combination of charisma with a certain degree of "jackedness" helps quite a bit. Robb mentioned that his business improved when they focused on getting people results.
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:35 AM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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Results......as word of mouth will be your best and biggest source of clients....plenty of gyms out there....I wasted lots of money on advertisements early on....got no return on it....word of mouth, me getting out and talking to people, referrals....that is what got me the business.

As far as attitude....I equate it to being a good parent....a friend at times, but if someone needs a reality check you need to give it to them.....personally I think many businesses and trainers have gotten lax and know they can collect an easy paycheck just telling people what machine to use....I hold a higher standard for myself personally....people will see that....but doesn't mean I am a dick about it all the time, just stern in what I say while I try to make them see things the way they need to inorder to be successful...as it is all mental...

AC said it long ago "If you want to make alot of money in this industry do 2 things, charge alot of money and be a prick".....they are both so very true....
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:44 AM   #3
Derek Simonds
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I was going to reply in the big thread but didn't have time yesterday. Results are the main thing IMHO. The company I work for does process and technology training and the clients that don't renew are the ones that don't feel that they got a good enough ROI.

So ROI leads me to the value proposition. I have talked about this before, I hired a triathlon coach 3 years ago when I wanted to get serious about improving my times. It cost me 600 for a year and he was incredible. I had several personal sessions with him, at least 2 conversations a week (phone or email) and he attended my "A" races. That was the year I took first in my age group in an olympic triathlon. Before I hired Coach Bernie I had read at least 5 books about triathlon training and done countless hours of research on the internet. I also was all over the place in my training and did not have anyone to hold me accountable. He gave me a plan and made sure that I did what I was supposed to. Was there value in the 600 for me, absolutely.

I was catching up on my Dan John reading this week and I read his piece on coaching at T-Nation.
http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do...dra?id=1356801.

If you haven't read it I highly encourage you to do so. I think that the typical person that seeks out training does know the basics of what to do but they need to be able to say "Coach said so" when asked why are you doing this.

I also from personal experience know that I can't be my own coach. I do much better when I am following a program set up by someone else. Especially if that other person is involved and holding me accountable. I have had great progress with the mass gain template and I hold myself accountable by posting everything I eat and do here for all to see. It's not the same as if I was working out in front of Robb and Greg because they would be able to push me more but right now if you ask me why I am doing 2 X 10 I simply can say because my "Coach said so".

I personally want someone to put me on a couch, parrot back to me, put together a program, guide me through it, provide feedback, provide encouragement, make sure that I am successful and if I falter guide me back onto the right path.
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Old 05-03-2007, 07:23 AM   #4
Garrett Smith
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My plan:

Low overhead.

Start small and grow. Along with the first reason, I've decided to go with my two-car home garage gym for the first month or two for several reasons--one, to guage the interest, and two, because I need to be damn sure I have the time and energy to run these two businesses at once before I sign a two-year lease! It will also give me more time to find and train trainers that I can delegate to.

On that note, learn how to be comfortable and good at delegating, when it becomes necessary.

Provide the most benefits I can at a great price (ie. I'm always on-site available to answer questions, along with providing free "classes" ie. joint mob, nutrition, stretching, that are different from anywhere else in town).

Create (multiple) niche markets that your club caters to (OL club, sprint triathlon club, climber strength traing, wanna-be FF/LEO/Mil recruits and the real guys & gals).

Community events at the facility or another location. Done inexpensively while done well, noting that people are coming for the community (the "steak"), not the "sizzle".

Steve, I'm working on a PowerPoint like you had. I'll send it to you when I'm done.

Hope that helps, it helped me to write it down.
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Old 05-03-2007, 07:41 AM   #5
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I'm interested in this because of

1. The boom in the interest in "microgyms" and "performance centers"
2. The success of the Curves franchise.

There's is obviously something to learn from Curves here, because they are all over and many of them are doing well.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:02 AM   #6
Robert Allison
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Shafley View Post
I'm interested in this because of

1. The boom in the interest in "microgyms" and "performance centers"
2. The success of the Curves franchise.

There's is obviously something to learn from Curves here, because they are all over and many of them are doing well.
I think Garrett's point about niches is an important one. It would seem that the success of both Curves and the more performance oriented training centers is based on identifying specific markets within what Chris Anderson would call the "long tail" of the overall fitness market.

If you're a woman looking for quick, effective, fun workout; think Curves. If, on the other hand, you are a college football player wanting to shave some time of your 40 for the combine, think Parisi.

But once you have identified your niche, its all about the results. Having some credentials or an affiliation may be of some value, particular when starting out. But eventually you will stand or fall base on what you deliver.

Garrett, nice outline of a business plan, BTW. A lot to work with there.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:03 AM   #7
Garrett Smith
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Curves has a new summer promotion:

Mom joins, daughter gets free summer membership.

I thought this was brilliant, because the likelihood of either a mother OR a daugther being overweight is huge, and the free membership will get two people started instead of just one. It also can contribute the "guilt" factor, not that that is something I recommend...
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:13 AM   #8
Garrett Smith
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Robert,
Funny you mentioned Parisi.

I was thinking that tagging on a Parisi Speed School (it is a franchise that operates WITHIN a "larger" facility) would be a great addition to a CF-type facility--it would also help to bring in the teenager athletes, a great market in itself. All one needs is the proper equipment (which will likely cost a pretty penny), the franchise fees, and the space.

At the start, I'm looking into two types of exercise groups:

The LifeWaves crowd (typically people with chronic disease), this is simple-yet-complex interval training, typically done on "cardio" machines. I'll be using rowers, x-country ski machines, and maybe a treadmill. www.LifeWaves.com . I have a phone meeting with them on Monday.

CrossFitters and mixed-modal trainees.

Both of these groups utilize the same equipment (CFers don't need the HR monitor stuff that LifeWaves does) so there is no additional overhead.

Later, I'm thinking of moving to a larger space and adding the Parisi Speed School. Then, I'll cover what I would believe are three separate groups:

The "older or unwell" group that doesn't think they can or won't do weight work (LifeWaves)

The "fit, typically middle-ground, or wants to get fit" (CF)

The "teenage athlete (or other athletes focusing on sports speed)" (Parisi)

Most equipment needs would overlap, and people could easily jump between or mix the different types of training.

Boy, I'm going to have some long hours cut out for me. Better get good at delegating!!!
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:41 AM   #9
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Garrett,

Interesting ideas.

I didn't realize until recently that Parisi offered a "franchise" type set-up. I've looked into that, not so much for myself, but for a friend of mine. He is a former high school coach and is thinking of opening a training facility. I downloaded their brochure, but haven't got much farther than that. From what I can tell, though, it does look like the investment could be substantial.

I think you are on the right track with high school athletes, and you might also try to develop a clientele among local, small college teams (if there are any in your area). Obviously, big time players will go to someone like Martin Rooney, but small college players also want to improve, and sometimes their athletic departments lack the resources to have truly knowledgeable trainers.

As far as the extreme sports niche, I think the jury is still out on that. Around here, most of the folks that are serious about climbing, kayaking, etc, either just do their "thing" or they already have a training program. The people that aren't that serious generally won't invest any resources to get better. But that's just more of a gut instinct based on being around those communities. YMMW.

But overall, I think you have a nice balance in the markets you are looking to develop. A Crossfit fit type program for the general fitness crowd and then some programs to service niches with special needs.

Keep me updated on the LifeWave stuff. I ordered the book last Friday and it should be here in a day or so. I am definitely looking forward to reading it.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:45 AM   #10
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Gina Kolata went into the "LifeWave" stuff in her last book. I wasn't impressed enough to take a side either way.
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