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Dominate the Competition Like a True Champ

Hood Pics3Today’s competition in the fitness business is fierce. Some small gym operators are even chanting the phrase, “Death to the Big Box Club.”

Personally, I don’t subscribe to that and I don’t like it either.  Instead, do what you do and do what you do… better.  Shouldn’t we all be in this business to change and enhance lives?

I’ve been leading big boxes for a long time, but what made our clubs successful against competition was the ability to push our Ego aside. We maintained passion for fitness and were constantly learning the best strategies and practices of those in our industry (including small gyms).

Admittedly, I’m not crazy about corporate policies, but I respect their structure and the systems. What I AM crazy about are small gym operators. Their energy, hunger and willingness to do what it takes in their given market is infectious. The ones who make it are to be celebrated and admired.

I also recognize there are some amazing big box operators, but many still don’t realize… what’s worked in the past and what’s working now, may not work in the future.

Here are the “5 Essential Es” to beat new competition and stay ahead of the fitness club curve:

1. Execution

The fitness industry is becoming much more sophisticated. Those who have the proper systems in place, simply need to execute their protocols day in and day out.  Do you have the discipline to do that?  Consistent execution represents quality and builds member loyalty. Do it and most of your valued members are sure to stay.

2. Exploitation

Let’s face it, many $10/month clubs have some of the same equipment as the $79/month club. So how do we separate our business from the others? Sit down with your key team members and find out as much as you can about your current and future competitors. What’s your unique point of difference? What do you want to be known for?  Sometimes it’s not what your facility has, it’s what you believe in and what you do to demonstrate it.

3. Excellence
We all know the value of raving customer fans. If your club is really successful at something, do you stop there? Of course not! You continue refine it, ask for feedback, and consistently make it better. On the flip side, we all could be better and usually there’s one department damaging the success or reputation of the business. Find it, fix or get rid of it. Demand excellence in everything that you do.

4. Employees

The best way to beat a new competitor is by having the right people who create a truly special culture, an exceptional social scene. Every hiring decision affects member retention. Your team is just as important as your leadership. Demand perfection and recognize their excellence. The longer your solid team members stay, so do your members. New competition hates that!

5. Educate

There is always a team member to train on service, operations (and even fitness). And there are always members seeking new ways to get healthier, feel stronger, look better and perform at a higher level. Good education breeds credibility. We’re in the fitness business to change lives. As masters of our craft, it is our duty to be a source of updated knowledge and information. The new competitor has a long way to go before they earn that… beat ’em to it!

Yes, competition forces us to get better, but remember like the big sports retail company says, “Protect Your House!”

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