Working out on the go can be tough, especially when you don’t have any workout equipment with you or a dedicated gym to use.
The holiday season is upon us and the new year is right around the corner. Instead of waiting for the new year to start implementing some good nutrition habits, here are two simple things you can do today that won’t require changing anything about the food you’re eating, but will make a big impact in your health.
As an entrepreneur, you are undoubtedly an idea machine. Thoughts come to you constantly, day or night, about programs to add, certifications to host, outings to arrange, workouts to program, marketing strategies to employ, sales promotions to push.
And, arguably, your brain is on overdrive right now: the new year is coming up.
"“If you spend too much time learning the 'tricks' of the trade, you may not learn the trade. There are no shortcuts. If you're working on finding a short cut, the easy way, you're not working hard enough on the fundamentals. You may get away with it for a spell, but there is no substitute for the basics. And the first basic is good, old fashioned hard work.”
Getting back to basics is the strategy to turn to when you feel lost, when you feel like things aren’t going the way you expected them to go.
As business owners, we can get lost in the cloudy, ethereal nature of the high-level kinda stuff. Which, by the way, is perfectly acceptable if you are, in fact, happy with the progress of your business.
If, however, the bathroom is out of toilet paper and the floors are dirtier than Pig Pen’s ever-enveloping cloud of dirt, all while you’re plugging away at a new marketing strategy you read about last night, then you probably need to halt, and get back to basics.
And since there is hardly anything more basic than a closing checklist, here’s our Closing Checklist Template!
If you’ve already got a closing checklist, compare, contrast, and edit yours if it needs editing.
If you don’t have a closing checklist yet, use this as a guide and then make it your own.
An employee handbook is often thought of as something only big businesses need.
Ray Oldenburg, urban sociologist and author, is famous for his work on what he calls “third places”—public places like cafes, coffee shops, book stores, bars (and arguably gyms) where people can gather and interact.
Oldenburg says this on the subject:
"The character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele and is marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people's more serious involvement in other spheres. Though a radically different kind of setting for a home, the third place is remarkably similar to a good home in the psychological comfort and support that it extends.”
Your gym, therefore, is quite possibly the “third place” for many of your members. What an honor!
But with honor comes great responsibility. You are now tasked with the objective of making your gym space warm (figuratively), happy, clean, organized, welcoming, empathic, fun, inclusive, and positive.
There are, of course, several steps to take in order to successfully hit all of the above criteria; but here’s one that’s easy and costs nothing to do:
Do a run-through at your box and see if there’s anything outdated, unused, forgotten.
This often comes in the form of a month-old competition flyer that’s still hanging on the board. Or a “Goals Board” that hasn’t been updated in months (or longer). Or even gym leaderboards that are so outdated that they’ve just blended into the wall like a sort of cruddy wallpaper.
These relics tell your members that you aren’t on top of things, that you aren’t organized. Rid your gym of these harmful (albeit innocent-looking) ghosts of gym past. They don’t belong in your members’ “third place.”
This is something worth doing every couple of weeks—a sort of biweekly scan that keeps the gym in the present tense. Just pop it in your phone as a reminder. It’ll message to your community that you care to keep their space beautiful, that you want them to feel nothing but good vibes when they’re there.
In Jacob Morgan’s The Employee Experience Advantage, he tells us that authentic employee recognition is a necessary component for employee engagement:
“Recognizing employees for work they do should be a common practice, and there are many ways that this can be done...How about a personalized, handwritten note? A special project for them to work on? A round of applause in front of their peers and other leaders?...Understand what employees care about and how they want to be recognized (ask; don’t tell).”
Recognition for your coaches and gym staff is something they need in order to feel valued. And as Morgan explains, it’ll only really work if you have conversations about how they want to be recognized. It might go something like this:
During a one-on-one...
Box Owner: “So Jess—how do you like to be recognized for work you’re doing exceptionally well? Like when you go way above and beyond the call of duty, and I want to show my appreciation for your hard work, what would be most meaningful to you?”
Coach Jess: “Wow! Hmm. Good question. I’m not sure, actually. No one’s ever asked me that before. Umm…”
Box Owner: “Yeah! It’s a difficult question, actually. Especially for selfless people (like you!) who are always thinking of everyone else’s needs first. Let me give you some examples. That might help...Would you want a gift card to your favorite store/restaurant? Or to be recognized in front of the team (that would be my answer, by the way!)? Or maybe a full day off? Maybe an opportunity to work on a new project?”
Coach Jess: “Probably recognition in front of the team. Like during a staff meeting. That would be awesome. But I also like the idea of working on a new project. I’d say either of those. Thank you for asking!”
Box Owner: “Cool! Thanks for sharing that with me. I want you to know how much I appreciate your work, and I want to make sure I recognize you in a way that’s actually meaningful to you. And if you think of something else, let me know.”
This kind of conversation will help you understand what your coaches/staff need from you in order to feel like they are a valuable part of the team. And feeling valued is a huge piece of the employee engagement puzzle.
Morgan also encourages us to think outside the recognition box: “Try to move beyond the typical process to focus on the human aspects of making employees feel valued. It’s okay to be creative.”
Have fun with employee appreciation! Show your gratitude for a job well done in a creative way—don’t just stop at Target and grab a random gift card you think they’ll sort of like. Once your staff tells you how they want to be recognized, get thinking on how to make their request extra special.
They went above and beyond in their work; now it’s your turn to go above and beyond in your recognition of that work.
Gym Owners: You Aren’t Selling Fitness
You are not selling fitness.
We repeat: You are not selling fitness.
People may initially come to your gym because they want to get fitter, to look better, to get stronger. Those are great goals, and will serve those folks well in terms of their physical health.
But what people need (even if they don’t know they need it) is connection. They need a tribe.
This undeniable need for belonging, to be a part of a tribe, lives deep inside of our beings. But, as Johann Hari explains in his must-watch Ted Talk called This could be why you’re depressed or anxious from July 2019, we’re living in a time where tribes no longer exist. They’ve disbanded.
Here’s what he says:
“We are the loneliest society in human history. There was a recent study that asked Americans ‘Do you feel like you’re no longer close to anyone?’ And 39 percent of people said that described them...
Just like bees evolved to live in a hive, we’ve evolved to live in a tribe. And we are the first humans ever to disband our tribes. And it’s making us feel awful. But it doesn’t have to be this way.”
You, as a gym owner and coach, must be abundantly aware of the power that you have to help people. And not help people get fit (although that’s a wonderful byproduct of owning a gym) but help people become a member of a tribe again.
Your gym is responsible for reassembling the disbanded tribes of the world. Treat it as a tribe, and nothing less, so you can help the people around you live SIGNIFICANTLY better lives.
There are two things to do right now to start treating your gym business like a tribe, a shift that will significantly improve the quality of your community and the quality of your finances:
Learn (and never stop learning) what it means to lead a group of people. There are tons of books, articles, and videos on this topic. Read constantly on the subject of leadership. Read like your business depends on it—because it does. And certainly read Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright. Maybe even read that one first.
Teach your coaches and staff the most important things you learn from studying leadership. Help them with these concepts. Show them how to lead a tribe and what it means. Teach them like your business depends on it—because it does. Every staff meeting should have a component about leading the tribe.
Build and nurture your tribe. The world needs you to.