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The 7 Biggest Mistakes Gym Owners Make- Part II

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Uncategorized

Guest Post by Luka Hocevar

Hey guys, this is Jay here. If you missed Part 1 of this awesome series by Luka, check it out HERE. I honestly consider it must read information for anyone in the fitness industry. Even if you don’t own a gym you’ll learn something you can apply. Hell, even if you’re not in the fitness industry at all the rules of business still apply.

Without further adieu here’s more awesome info from my good buddy, Luka Hocevar…

Mistake #4. Not developing a team that is hard working, loyal and looking in the same direction

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You may start a fitness business by yourself and be a one-man show for a while.

It’s how most of us started.

As you grow you will most likely have a team: admins, office manager, trainers, operations. How big your team is will depend on the size and type of business.

Hold up. Yes I’m breaking my flow, but this has to be said. Always hire an assistant/office manager before you hire a trainer.

When you start your fit biz, it’s because you love training people but I’m pretty sure you don’t like making tons of calls, data input into the computer, emailing leads, etc. Get rid of the things you hate and make you miserable and focus on the things you’re a beast at!

Ok, let’s continue….

Regardless of how big your team is, it’s crucial that you are developing them from the get go and instilling that you are building a team that is working towards a certain vision. 

Most gym just fill “positions”, they don’t look for a team member that will help build towards your vision while also getting a ton out of it for themselves, from self development, financial reward, a place they love to work at, and a purpose/vision to pursue.

Hire based on your core values and not just the short-term gratification and needing someone “fast”.

Once you have a great team, INVEST in them! That means money but even more importantly your time and knowledge.

Here are things I make sure we do with the team:

1. Weekly staff meetings covering everything from goals, addressing issues, recommended books to read, discussing new training, changes in programs

2.In-staff training, bringing in the top coaches from around the world and the area to teach the team on their expertise. Also bringing in experts on the area of nutrition, customer service, sales, communication, etc. Anything that serves our clients better as well as creating a better team and business.

3. Going to seminars out of state as a team and spending time together.

4. Team dinners as well as team building events (cooking competitions at culinary institute, shooting guns, etc.) and getaways.

5. Perks such as free yoga, ART/Graston, chiropractic. Highly discounted gear and supplements, access to parties, etc.

6. Strategy sessions with each individual to help them reach their goals (business and life)

I look at it like when I used to play pro-basketball. You can be a beast but when it’s a team sport and everyone is not loyal to the team and doesn’t grow together then you’ll be a great individual that won’t win any championships.

You can learn this the easy way or the hard way!

Mistake #5. Not really knowing why their members hired them. LISTEN!

camo bikiniEveryone wants to lose weight, get leaner, or maybe build more muscle. Right?


That is just something that will help them become who they want to become and why they’re really doing it:

– Feeling like they can walk on the beach, have people look at them and feel attractive

– Not feel debilitated when they wake up in the morning and feel like they have control of their life; no have pain control them.

– Not get bullied anymore and get “seen” by the girls.

– Conquer the dream of getting a college scholarship through sport because they know his parents can’t afford college.

And so many other reasons that you may be missing because you’re not listening, asking the right questions or just stopping and observing your clients actions.

We started our Mansformation and later Strength Camp based on our clients telling us (not directly but indirectly) they want it.

Guys wanted to have a place where they could get their stress and aggression out, feel the support of the team as well as the atmosphere that they had at some point in their life, whether sports team or something else.

YES, they also want to get leaner and build muscle, perform great BUT it’s not the real reason.

We did the same when starting our Strong(Her) Camp.

If you think that the “Lose 15 lbs in 30 days” marketing works then keep doing it, GOOD LUCK (in my Albanian Taken voice)!

Start really finding out why people join your gym, why they leave your gym, what complaints they have, etc. Be a researcher of why, rather than just following what other people are doing.

Back in the day I guarantee your mom asked you: “So if your friend jumped of a bridge you’d do it too??”

And you said: “Heeelllll no!”

Time to apply some of that wisdom.

Mistake #6. Not having creative front end offers for prospects to try out your business

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How many people have a free trial week or some type of free offer on the front end?

Just about everyone.

Now, there is nothing wrong with people trying out your services since it’s easy to be skeptical about the “hype”. They want to know what they are investing in. You would too (and I’m sure you do when it comes to services)?

To differentiate yourself you have to be unique and not do what everyone else is doing as well as make sure that people are valuing your services, so giving away free can backfire by bringing in many people that are not serious about joining your facility/services.

People that pay for the front end offer are much more serious!

Be the category of one….and not one of the category!

To deliver a great experience, results, value, and the community/family atmosphere while not having people feel like they are committing long term, we create offers that will deliver all of the above and create fans that want to stay with us and grow with us.

Here are some examples of different offers across the board:

– 30 days for $97 (semi-private 1x a week and boot camp 3x a week

– $42 for 21 days (boot camp for $2 a day

– Mansformation 8 Week Program (Strength Camp 2x a week, Warrior training 1x a week) – $349

– Unleash The Inner Athlete 8 Week Transformation (3x a week boot camp, bonus small group PT, etc.) – $249

– Vigor Ground Incubator 29 Day Challenge (3x semi private a week, 3x boot camp a week, etc.) – $399

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These programs are discounted from our regular membership investment but they make people commit, financially and for a period of time they can really experience us without feeling the “long term commitment”.

Here’s some other points why I love such front end offers:

#1. They make you money on the front end to bring in leads

#2. See #1

#3. Many people are skeptical of free things so this will attract people who are cautious of that.

#4. It switches things up from your previous offers and gets people on your list more intrigued as some programs may be exactly what they have been looking for.

#5. When you do something “free” every once in a while, you’ll have a better response and many more people coming to try it out.

#6. The gap between your programs and the front end offer isn’t nearly as big as between free and your program pricing.

So be unique. Be better. Give people an opportunity to try you out through programs that will get them the result and fuel their “why?”


Stay tuned for Part III and in the meantime be sure to check out Steve Krebs and Luka Hocevar’s invaluable resource, The Fitness Business Mix Tape.