In this episode, I’m joined by the owner of Pure Barre in Chicago, Susan Rothman. We cover a lot of ground to help you level up from gym owner to successful entrepreneur.
“Fitness might be your passion, which is great, but it’s not truly a business unless you run it like a business,” Susan says.
40% of gyms have now permanently closed, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
Many of the gym owners I talk to got into the industry because they love fitness, but where they struggle is actually running a business…
Step #1: Turn Your Passion For Fitness Into A Passion For Business
It’s important to have your mind inside every aspect of your business. You should not only know what’s going on, but understand it.
“Gym owners should take that same passion and energy they have for fitness and transfer it into learning the business side of things and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur,” Susan says.
I’ve never met a successful business owner who isn’t passionate about business. They don’t exist.
Ever heard the quote If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life? “It’s not true,” Susan tells me and she’s right. It’s not.
We both do whatever it takes to help our members and that requires some hard ass work.
It also takes education. Investing in learning what you don’t know and applying that to grow your business.
Step #2: Know Your Numbers
I asked Susan where she thought gym owners struggled the most, “I’d say knowing their numbers for sure…”
“What are you making on a daily basis? How do you know you’re going to hit your target for the month?—do you have a target for the month? What are your goals?—do you have goals?” she added.
These are the things every successful entrepreneur knows off the top of their heads. I call it knowing what’s on the “scoreboard.”
Think about LeBron James or Tom Brady, when the clock’s winding down, they know what the score is, how much time is left, and what they have to do to win.
Successful entrepreneurs are the same way. Ask them any day of the week what their numbers are and they’ll tell you.
“How many people are you retaining each month versus how many people you’re losing? What’s your net gain on your membership? What’s your net gain on your autopay or Monthly Recurring Revenue?” Susan says, “You should have these things memorized daily.”
Shift Your Mentality Into Successful Entrepreneur Mode
Instead of looking at all of this like it’s too much, shift your mindset. When you learn to love the business side of owning a gym, it’ll be a game-changer for you.
“You’ll never say December is a bad month again,” Susan adds, “because you prepared for it and you learned to succeed during it. Decide to be the owner that runs a fitness business that actually pays you.”
Step #3: Focus And Build A Process Around Member Returns
“Most people don’t pause or cancel their membership because of anything you did,” Susan says, “something happened in their life that caused them to stop.”
The point Susan makes is that it’s a good idea to reach out to them as a friend, see where they’re at, stay in touch, and they’ll probably come back… it’s a lot easier than selling someone new.
“When you build a great community, people won’t want to leave,” she says, “they’ll leave because they have to for one reason or another, but it usually isn’t permanent unless you don’t check in on them.”
Step #4: Understand Your Gym’s Marketing And Sales
Marketing and Sales is tough for a lot of studio owners… it’s why Loud Rumor has dedicated Account Managers to take care of your Marketing campaigns for you and why we have in-depth sales training.
Susan does the math the way every business owner should: backwards.
She starts with the end in mind:
“Based on my acquisition versus loss each month, I know I want a minimum of 25 membership sales every month,” she says…
“So I know that with our appointment rate and show rate, I want to 4X that number in leads…”
“That means I need at least 100 leads every month.”
In the last episode I talked about this with Loud Rumor Marketing Director, Patrick Cundiff. Patrick knows the “scoreboard” and has his minimum numbers and goal numbers set.
He and I talked about how all of the most successful entrepreneurs know their Marketing numbers, from Elon Musk and Richard Branson to Steve Jobs and Henry Ford.
All four of them had a hand in their Marketing, and for your gym to succeed, you should too.
Sales Is Business, So Practice Sales
“I think people forget the value of practice,” Susan says and I 100% agree with her here…
“Sometimes trainers forget how much they had to practice to get into incredible shape, earn their certifications, and eventually own their gym,” she says…
“It all took practice and it’ll take that same level of practice to memorize sales scripts that’ll grow their business.”
You are what you practice. So, if you’re not practicing being great at sales, then you’re practicing not being great at sales. Either way, you’re always practicing.
Step #5: Take Ownership
In this episode (and you can watch the full interview above), Susan talks about a huge learning experience she had… she actually made a problem worse with the strategy she used.
“I’m someone who really likes to think things through,” she tells me, “but I definitely misfired here.”
Susan had members showing up late to class, filling spots they didn’t reserve, and other scheduling issues. “It was dangerous,” she says.
Unfortunately, she made the issue worse and members not only started leaving her studio, but she was crushed when she saw that her studio had only 1 out of 5 Stars on Google.
“You could be out to dinner, having the time of your life,” she says, “and one of those reviews comes in and it’s devastating because they’re trashing everything you worked so hard to build…”
How Susan turned it around is what matters…
She owned it.
“I put it on me,” she says, “and once I took full ownership of it, it’s like I was in control of it and my business again.”
Step #6: Don’t Hire More Of You
We enjoy surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, but when you’re running a business, you should do the opposite.
“You want people who fill the gaps,” Susan says, “you want people who are strong in areas you’re weak in so that your business is stronger as a whole.”
For Susan, she likes to look at things from a high level. She enjoys having an idea and getting it off the ground, but needs people who can see it through and execute on it.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Make sure your team fills in the gaps to make your business stronger.
But remember, as the owner, and to become a successful entrepreneur, you should still know and understand what each person on your team does.
Step #7: All Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Up With Trainings and Have Mentors
“One of the worst things we can do as business owners is think that we have all the answers,” Susan tells me, “There are so many great people who’ve been through more, accomplished more, and are willing to help you grow.”
I’ve mentioned this before, but I have 6 coaches for my life and my business. I don’t know where I’d be or my business would be without them.
Every business owner should have mentors and coaches.
That’s why members of GSD 360 TEAM get access to great coaches like Brittany Welk, Co-Owner of LadyStrong Fitness and Matt Kafora, Owner of 7 Orangetheory Fitness locations all doing 7-figures, daily coaching calls, and everything in between to help their business grow and be more successful.
I like the way Susan put it, “Business is like life. You don’t want to live your life alone, right? Treat your business the same way: Don’t Go It Alone!”
Top Reasons to have a Mentor
- A mentor can provide invaluable insights and advice, helping to inform your decisions.
- A mentor can help you gain skills and confidence as a gym owner by providing guidance and support.
- They can share their personal experiences in the industry, offering you valuable lessons on how to succeed.
- Mentors can also help you create and develop better networks, allowing you to connect with people who may be beneficial for your business.
- Having a mentor allows you to have someone to turn to when facing difficult times or when seeking out new ideas and solutions.
I think you’re really going to enjoy this episode. We don’t hold back because we want you to become the best fitness business owner you can be.