This is a guest blog post by my man Kaiser “Super” Serajuddin.
You guys liking this site so far or what? I own nearly every fitness business product out there and pretty much everything in the online marketing and business development space, and the FREE content being dropped here daily shits on all of it. You just need to implement what you’re learning.
With all this quality info on this site, it’s no surprise I’ve managed to do a few things right in bringing my place to profitability very quickly. I’ve had to work my ass off and have had tons of help (with Sam helping to throw in a few of the missing pieces that have made things EXPLODE as of late) but I can finally take a minute to appreciate some of what’s gone right.
Right now, I’m going to share a few of these right moves. Model some of them where you see fit and adopt my reasoning in others, and you should have an easier time putting things into place in your own fitness business than I had in mine.
Oh, and for anyone that wants to skim this and say “I knew that”, “that was simple”, or “that’s common sense”, all I gotta say is are you doing it and show me your results. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older and wiser is that success is simple. You just have to execute.
Okay, here we go – here’s my list of things I’ve done right in bringing my fitness business quickly to over six-figure gross earnings level, over 100 clients, and closing the deal on my second location in under three months:
The fact is MOST businesses fail and most training studios fail. Being out of the off-line game for years like I had, I wasn’t taking any chances, especially considering I wanted to achieve massive profitability very quickly. To save money and ease the load from the outset, I brought on a minority business partner when I started. Besides having someone to keep me grounded in the business, it’s someone else that is personally invested in it and committed to it’s growth. When it comes to multiple location (which I want to be) privately owned businesses, taking on chief employees as minority partners happens more often than you think. In my case, it saved a ton of money and time in the beginning, and although I had to give up a part of the biz, I’m expecting it pay off multiple times over in terms of speed of growth.
I try to be a realist at all times, and one thing I knew from the get go was that I knew little to nothing about running successful bootcamps. And with my goals, I know I needed to become a LEADING EXPERT on this subject, fast.
Yeah, you can learn a little through books and seminars, but it happens lightening quick through networking. I networked aggressively during my start up phase, and continue to do so every day. I went to Bedros’ Fitness Business Summit where all the big players attend religiously, met up with all of them, and have stayed in touch with them since. A big thank you is in order to Monty, Duivis, Jonas, Zach Hunt, Sam, Travis Stoetzel, Luke Wold, Ryan Dobbs, Dan Go, Armando Cruz, Christian Aguirre, Cara Eckerman, Hochman, and about 100 other players in this industry that have helped me in getting up, running, and profitable so quickly. Couldn’t possibly have done it without you guys.
In case you haven’t known, I’ve been sitting in an ivory tower for the past couple of years, waxing prolific on how to start a fitness business, and been making some decent change in the process. The one thing I haven’t done is train a single client in years.
While we all want to be business owners at a level where we have high quality trainers servicing our clients, you still have to know your product at a hands on level. All of us on the board have paid our dues on that end, but in my case, I still had some more dues to pay. After spending the last couple of years getting up at noon, sitting in my underwear on my lay-z-boy all day, eating sushi (internet marketing is not as glamorous as it’s made out to be), I knew I had to jump back in to the trenches too. That’s one of the reason why you’ll notice Sam has only in-the-trenches folks on this advisory. No keyboard jockeys allowed here.
I’ve jumped in all the way, even teaching a lot of the bootcamp classes. It only turns out to be about a dozen hours a week, but the experience has been priceless in helping me create a world class training experience for my valued customers. Doing the training is one of the best things I could have ever possibly done. I’ve learned the product inside and out, and during this vital formative phase of the business, it has given me retention, referral, and long-term contract rates that are off the chart. With many of our grand opening free trial people now converting, we’ve written AT LEAST 15 grand worth of one year contracts THIS WEEK alone.
Just like with the training I also had to jump in on the selling end too. Doing phone sales is an area where my reflexes were very slow at first. As I usually do, when I jumped in, I decided to go in ULTRA HIGH ENERGY and then calibrated backwards until I found the right level to handle it at. Now I’ve found my pitch and could sell condoms to a priest. Again, this has allowed me to make sure retention and contracts have been at the level I wanted. It’s also done a lot more than that …
I remember the late, great Gary Halbert saying the best and in many ways the only way to know who your market REALLY is, what they REALLY want, and what REALLY motivates them is to pick up the fucking phone and actually sell them something. Unfortunately, he mentioned that most wannabe business people are just too pussy to do this, and never end up learning the absolute most valuable skills to make a business succeed – knowledge of your market’s desires and hot buttons, and sales. That’s what this initial phone experience gave me.
I’ve since outsourced the sales job, but like to jump in on the face to face stuff from time to time. In getting good fast, the experience was priceless.
My biggest source of new leads and the biggest factor that has essentially saved my business up to now is my location. I’m in an affluent area, have great neighboring businesses, and am on a very busy major roadway. This has got me a lot of walk-ins, drive by traffic, call-ins, and force multiplication on my advertising. Sure my rent is high, but not as high as you’d think considering the benefits I get from it. I consider my store location an advertising expense, and all advertising goes back to your numbers. It doesn’t matter what you’re spending as long as it’s bringing you an ROI, and so far, my ROI on location has been tremendous.
If you come to my studio you won’t find any Vortex machines, no treadmills, or any piece of equipment that costs more than $100. While I have more here than I’ve seen at some bootcamp facilities, I have way less than you’d find at a personal training studio. This kept start-up costs way down and will probably have me making back the entire initial investment in cash by the end of the year. It’s a new age now where service, personality, and results trump all. If you can deliver in those areas, you’re creating REAL value that beats any expensive, shiny equipment hands down.
I cannot emphasize enough how valuable Sam Bakhtiar has been to this process. There’s no way I can say this without some people thinking it’s hype, so I’ll just say it as plainly as possible – paying Sam to get in on his coaching program is the best possible thing you can do for your training business, no matter what level you’re at. Sell your kidney or do whatever you have to do to get in on it: 1. while he still has the time or 2. before he QUADRUPLES the price, which it is easily worth. If the content and community he’s organized on this site in the short few months he’s taken over is not enough, then feel free to shoot a question over to me, Blum, Sherminator, or any of the other trainers and ask them about the results they’ve been experiencing with Sam’s coaching. I didn’t check with Sam before posting this endorsement, so am not entirely sure if he is accepting new coaching clients or whether he’s raised the price, so I apologize if this has proved to be a tease and he doesn’t accept you. But if he does, DO NOT HESITATE. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
So that’s it for patting myself on the back on how things have gone so far. Don’t worry and think I’m getting a big head – if I had to write a post about my mistakes so far, the list would be about 100 points long. And we’re yet to see how things progress, so I’m haven’t fully exhaled or let up yet. But these are a few of the moves that have paid off for me so far so hope the info pays off for you.
You’ll notice that everything I’ve mentioned has involved a lot of work on my part. And if you’re currently OVER worked yourself, you might think who cares. The difference is all the work I’ve done to now has had the strategic purpose of giving me certain skills, so that I could later outsource these tasks as I am already going. I had the purpose of creating the systems in mind from the beginning. So if you want to extract yourself from your business, think about your work and what you do more strategically. And if you don’t have enough business to speak of, start hustling a little harder. That always works.