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Working Hard Doesn't Mean a Damn Thing
Originally Posted 10/26/10

There are a lot of club owners who pride themselves on hard work. They don’t make much money, but they do put the hours in each day and they are willing to tell everyone just how hard they are busting ass. But mostly all this hard work is just putting in ineffective hours leading to meaningless results that could just as easily be accomplished by a bunch of ADD high school kids.

Most folks who read this know how to work. Those that don’t usually don’t last long anyway and fade out of the industry in a quick and ugly manner. Those that survive for a year or two usually know how to go to work each day and put some time into their businesses.

Few of these alleged hard workers, though, really make money and even fewer know how money is made in this business. Here is a hint, money is usually not made from the classic hard worker who lives and dies by his 70-hour workweek, although I will contradict that thought later by telling you that if you want to be good you still have to do the work and it takes 60-70 hours a week to get it done.

The difference between those who make money and those who don’t is the difference between being busy and being effective. Busy is busy and effective is effective and the two hardly ever meet in the middle. In fact, most people are confused by the concept of what effective really is and hide this confusion and lack of results behind the shroud of, "Wow, I really put in the hours today.”

We recently finished this year’s advanced school in Chicago, an event that turned out to be one of the finest three-day schools we have ever offered loaded with a team of solid speakers and a receptive group of owners on the prowl for new ideas.

One of new speakers this year was Jeremy Klugerman, an exceptionally talented owner from Canada with five clubs and some extremely high numbers. His strength is that no one can beat him in sales or training and how he gets there is a lesson all of us to learn.

First of all, he can generate as much as $150,000 or more a month in training revenue out of a few thousand members. Secondly, he consistently sells big numbers through the door in new sales. He has effectively mastered new sales and retention by his ability to get new people in the door and then keep them longer through his deep penetration rate into training for more members.

His philosophy is simple: Does what I am doing add new memberships or does it add more training revenue? If not, he won’t do it. Staff has new ideas? Does it add new memberships or more training? If the answer can’t meet this criteria, then answer is no. A simple, clean and deadly effective answer to anything or any question that may divert him from the mission.

The working definition for the word, "effective” is focus. Do you know what you are trying to accomplish and do you have a plan to get it done? Most owners don’t know the answer to these two questions, which regulates them to the busy pile and far, far away from the effective side of the business.

Here are a few signs that you are busy but don’t understand effective:
• You fill shifts in your own club
• You’re training members in your own business
• You don’t have time for staff development or training
• You can’t get away to workshops or seminars because you are simply too busy
• If you don’t make money in your business, no one does
• You work 70 hours or more a week and are still broke
• You wait until the end of the month to wait and see if you will make enough money to hang around for another month
• A day off is a six pack and a 10 hour nap
• Sex was something you once had 10 years ago before you became too tired to give a damn even if the entire Dallas cheerleader squad or Mathew Mcconaughey were naked in front of you
• Your trainers make more money in your club than you do
• You put in 12 hours, go home, put up your feet and ask yourself, "What the hell happened today. I worked 12 hours and didn’t make any money.”

On the other hand, signs that maybe you are focused and geared for money:
• You start the day with a plan to make money
• You stay focused on the long-term plan to generate revenue
• You start the day by giving each key employee a plan to make money then you run that plan all day
• The only training you do is with a trainer on your afternoon break doing your own workout
• Staff training and development is planned out for the next six months and takes at least four hours a week to do well
• Your training revenue is at least equal to your membership revenue, something that is becoming a key indicator of success for a club owner
• You have mastered Jeremy’s single mined focus: Is what I am doing driving new sales or driving training revenue?
• You actually hooked up with the cheerleaders because they liked your Bentley you bought with all your profits

Put the hours in people. Yes, I still believe that if it is worth doing then it is worth overdoing, which means that most people who make money put the time in each week. The difference is between wasting 70 hours a week doing work that doesn’t matter and doing 70 hours a week that leads to personal and business growth.

Quoting Yoda, you either are, or you are not, there is no trying. This means that there is seldom an in-between murky area in the battle between effective and merely busy.

Based upon all of this, here is your five-step plan to convert yourself from worthless to wildly effective:
• Focus on just two simple things: Am I getting new members and am I selling more training?
• Train your staff weekly for at least four hours on how to make money and be effective
• Get your key players focused everyday with an action plan (set, definable goals) and then work the plan for the entire day
• Track and react to the key numbers. They should be posted on the wall in your office and kept up to day several times a day. Stay focused on what matters
• Train yourself to ask this question: Is what I am doing here making me money or wasting my time. If it has to be done, but doesn’t add revenue, why are you doing it?
• Bonus thought: The least effective thing you can do in a club is to workout your member instead of getting him a trainer. Even you training club owners need to walk away at some point and start managing instead of doing. If you are not making money, start here and don’t believe the self-inflicted bull that they are only there because you train them.

Other thoughts:
I had a lot of questions on Kym Wimbis and the blog he posted in Australia. Here is some of the note I received back from him in his own words. Email him if you like his stuff and start a dialog.

Here is his background in his own words. Graduated from Exercise Science (we call it Human Movements Studies here in Australia) in 1995. Completed a coursework Masters (Masters of Scientific Studies) in Exercise Prescription for Special Population where my focus was on the overweight and obese. Worked for a number of university, corporate, commercial, and non-profit businesses over a about a 12 year period spending a short time in management. However, I got frustrated with the ‘narrow thinking’ and limited opportunities in the industry. So I left the industry to study a law degree with visions of big bucks, fast cars, and fast women. Graduated law in 2001 but could never really get into the culture and never practiced (also realized that the legal profession was full of lawyers).

Spent several years doing real estate renovations (our housing market is crazy in Australia prices just keep going up). Got back into the industry in a small town at a local YMCA and had the worst experience of my professional life dealing with small town, egomaniacal, CEO’s and fitness center managers who couldn’t find their ass with a flashlight. But I did start conceptualizing ideas and frameworks to make fitness businesses better… mostly because this one was so bad.

Once I started thinking about improving fitness businesses I couldn’t turn my brain off. I started my blog about two years ago as a means of purging the ideas from my head. As the ideas become more sophisticated I put them into something more substantial (like my think-piece e-book) and put them out there for peer review from people whose opinions I respect (particularly forward thinking people who are challenging the status quo which is why I sent one to you).

Basically I am a guy, not unlike yourself I suspect, that likes to know how things work and how they can be made to work better.

My next piece (Experiential Health Club Design: Engineering Customer Experience Management into Facility Design) is going to be quite substantial and I am going to put a price on it and sell it on my blog.

I (Kym) wouldn’t call myself a consultant as such (well maybe an accidental one) but I am an ideas guy who thinks there is always a better way… and I am just arrogant enough to think that I can find it.
Here is the link again to his site and his blog. Print out the report. I think it is interesting and worth reading for everyone.
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