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The 7 Biggest Mistakes Gym Owners Make

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Uncategorized

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 8.12.01 AMGuest Post by Luka Hocevar

Having a strong will and being stubborn is a great quality to have most of the time.

My grandpa told me that and he got captured by the enemy and stabbed by a bayonet in World War 2. Being stubborn and having will power saved his life. He was an OG and he knew what he is talking about.

True story.

He also told me stubborn can get you in a lot of trouble and keep you stuck in your (negative) ways. Like his sneaking into the cellar to have shots of schnapps every day. Didn’t do a lot for his health or for the stress levels of my grandma.

I’m pouring out some liquor then making my point.

Truth is that most gym/fitness business owners that are struggling are either:

#1. Not investing enough time and resources into improving both from a skill (client results) and/or a service (client experience) standpoint


#2. Stubborn, stuck in their ways and think that if they only work harder and keep grinding it out things will get better.

Essentially they both lead to the same issue from being stubborn – struggling fitness business.

As much as I listened to my grandpa and his stories, I still made a ton of mistakes being stubborn while building my fitness business to where it is. Most of the time experience teaches you better than anything else.

Learn from my top 7 mistakes fitness business owners make and get your head out of your ass thinking things will change if you continue doing what you have been doing.

Mistake #1. Not Determining Your Core Values/Beliefs

kaizenThis may sound fu-fu but it’s one of the most important things you should do.

What are your core values and beliefs?

What are your training principles?

Most fitness business owners not only don’t have them written out, they haven’t even though about them. Then there are some that just copied them from another owner or “guru”.

Your core values are YOURS.

If you are very clear about what your values are then they can guide you in your decision making in every area of your business from training, customer service, marketing, building a team, etc.

Do I apply this new marketing “thingy”? Check your core values.

How do I deal with an uncomfortable member situation? Align it with your core values.

Do I hire this person with a lot of experience? Ask them questions related to your core values to see if they fit.

Should I implement this new program/training system into our facility? Check your beliefs if it is something you actually think has merit and you believe in.

Your core values are your compass and you can always turn to them whenever making a decision, as well as something that can keep you honest and in check whenever you slip off.

Here are some of my/Vigor Ground core values (in no particular order):

  • Lead from the front (walk the talk, show that you live what you preach)
  • Loyalty (to yourself, your family, your team, clients, vision and brand)
  • Kaizen (constant never ending improvement)
  • Chase the Unicorn (chasing something perfect/unattainable makes us continue growing and at the same time embracing the journey)
  • Be a Go-Giver (always helping others and not expecting things in return)
  • Its all about “Feeling” (people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel)
  • Be a coach/mentor (teaching is the best form of learning)
  • Be contagious (happiness and positive energy – when someone smiles you smile back…unless you’re a dick!)
  • Be honest and transparent
  • Inspire, don’t manipulate (through actions and the stories of your our members/clients)
  • Memento Mori (“remember your mortality”, give every day all you have)

So if you get anything from this list, get your core values written out and it will do more for you than any other B.S. tip on lead generation or anything else.

Actually, do it now. Like right now.

Mistake #2. Focusing on Gaining Members vs. Creating Raving Fans

Every single fitness business owner I talk to asks how they can get more leads through the doors and how they can turn them into more clients.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to generate new clients.

The problem is that so much focus goes to generating new clients that the business owner forgets what is most important in the first place, getting clients incredible results and an unmatched experience.

Before you do anything you want to make sure that you are turning your clients into your raving fans through helping them achieve their goals and creating such a community and experience that people want to be part of it beyond just the physical results but also because of how they feel when they are there.

Make it their third place.

Coincidentally doing that always brings in more leads because people can’t help but talk about you and your referrals go up ten fold!

You have to lay a great foundation for any marketing to really have a full effect.

Mistake #3. Not Being Great at Your Art/Skill

Maybe at one time you were really into getting better with your art/skill, in this case being a better trainer (this may mean training, nutrition, communication, etc.). Then things got “busy” and you just didn’t have as much time for it anymore. After a while you realized you don’t do any more continuing education at all.

Straight up, being great or even better, being the best, is a great marketing tool.

Actually, nowadays it is necessary.

If you suck people will figure it out sooner or later and they will tell others.

Or even worse, you’ll be unmemorable or called average.

Someone telling me I’m average is equivalent to saying “fuck off” in a cockney English accent (you can look it up).

If you’re a gym owner and you are not involved in the training of the clients at your gym, then make sure that your team is on point and they are continuously learning and being better at their art.

Check yourself and be honest with whether you have been investing enough time and money into your craft and you can say you are better this year than you were last year.

If it was back in the day and other trainers could challenge you to a “duel” of who knows more shit and can get their clients better results and a great experience, would you Doc Holiday their ass or would you just be another body bag?

Yeah I like those movies.

Stay tuned for Part II where Luka drops even more knowledge on you guys. The great thing is that most of this stuff is applicable to ANY business and you can learn something from Luka no matter what you do to put food on the table.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments for Luka leave them below and be sure to check out The Fitness Business Mix Tape. I’m not even slightly exaggerating when I tell you that this thing is incredible! It has everything you’d ever   need to run a successful fitness business.

Click HERE to check it out.