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This 4 letter word will threaten your business more than the virus, are you using it?

I’ve been speaking to a lot of studios since the lockdown started 5 weeks ago. Its been stunning to see the differences in how owners have chosen to respond.

How they’ve chosen to lead. The decisions they’re making.

Alarmingly, when I ask some studios what their strategy is over the next 3-6 months, their answer is to “hold” until this is all over and where back in the studio…


That word honestly scares the shit out of me.

Way more than the virus itself.


Because if that is your strategy, you may as well change hold to another 4 letter word that starts with H.


Because you’re hoping no one leaves. You’re hoping there’s enough organic wins that offset the cancels. Are you even tracking your churn rate at the moment?

And what about winter, it’s coming you know? How does your studio normally go in winter? Have you overlaid your historic churn trend over your forecast? Wait, have you done a forecast?

And what about the novelty of these workouts, or the sentiment to support. Will that carry you through the next 3-6 months? Will it wear off at all?

And what about your competitors? The market’s actually never been so competitive due to everyone going online and now no boundaries. Bricks and mortar studios who normally serve people within 15 minutes of their front door now have an international member base zooming in for workouts every day.

My point is there is no such thing as hold.

You’re either going up, or down.

There is no hold. And even if you think you’re holding, the market and the competitors are moving past you.

I’ve been watching the Michael Jordan documentary on Netflix, the last dance. He was my idol growing up, one of my daughters’ middle name is Jordan. I’ve even studied Tim Grover’s book Relentless, he was Jordan’s personal trainer and mentor throughout his championships.

Jordan was a winner. He was such a competitor. Down to the last second. Even when they weren’t supposed to make the playoffs, just give Jordan the ball. He’d score 63 points.

He came to a failing franchise, the Chicago Bulls, and with his determination, his edge, his never say ‘HOLD’ mentality, he turned that entire CITY around and won them 5 championships.

Not only that, his team mates also became superstars, Olympic champions, hall of famers (soon) and all achieved legendary status.

Do you think he ever got into the lead in a game, the most important game of the season…

Call a time out…

Gather the team around..

And say, we’re just going to ‘HOLD’…

Legends don’t hold. Hall of famers don’t hold.

No way.


Otherwise, Hold = Hope. And Hope never is, and never has been, a winning strategy.

I also want to say, I know in this time pain is inevitable. But suffering is optional.

The market is still buying. The overwhelming majority of the market are still employed. Facebook ads are on special. People are home to take sales phone calls. You need to find a way, in this climate, to still grow.

Start with your suspended member list. Smile and dial.

Then your win backs, starting with legend members who had to cancel due to moving etc. Now they can train with you again.

Corporate sessions for workplaces that are now remote and going bonkers.

Work on your offering, what are you close competitors not doing, where are the gaps?

Identify the new problems that you need to solve for your ideal member, and craft an offer for them that gets their attention

Get the leads, and follow up that lead like your life depends on it. Not the “I called them once and they didn’t pickup, they must be a shit lead”. Make sure you have a script.

Then when you sell them, wow the pants off them so 60%+ of them convert.

If you’re getting 20-30%, you’ve got a leak. And I bet my Michael Jordan jersey it’s either with your people, your processes or your product offering and experience.

All is fixable, and you can still grow even in lockdown.

Let me know when you’re ready to charge.


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I know the deepest, most intimate problems that fitness studios deal with… because I’ve owned, operated, scaled and sold gyms myself. Twice.

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