‘HERE WE GO AGAIN’ Sometimes, I hit these moments where I feel as if I’m living the same day over and over again. I wake up to deal with the same old concerns: profit margins, employee training, fixed cost exposure, and so on. It can feel like being locked into a treadmill or like being in a certain Bill Murray movie set during this time of year. I’m certain I’m not the only business owner who experiences the “Groundhog Day” sensation. In fact, many of you box owners may be right there with me. If that’s the case, give the old 1993 classic rom-com a rewatch — it has a surprising amount of wisdom on how to break free of this mindset. concerns of being an entrepreneur aren’t something you can “escape” or “wake up” from — they’re a core part of growing your business, no matter how dull and repetitive they might seem. But if you reframe the way you look at these acts and the time you spend doing them, you can shake yourself free of the depressing feeling that you aren’t gaining any ground. In fact, with the right outlook, sometimes these everyday actions can seem almost magical. Think back to the movie. When Murray finds himself reliving the same day over and over and over again, he’s shocked and frustrated. Like many early entrepreneurs who may have been imagining Instagram levels of overnight success, he curses every time the alarm wakes him to the same old morning and balks as the same old conversations and events play out before his eyes time and time again. Every business owner has those moments, but the ones who succeed are those who take this repetition not as a curse but as an opportunity. Naturally, this doesn’t play out as comedically as it does in “Groundhog Day.” Unlike the protagonist, we can’t use our previous experiences to rob banks, learn French, or binge eat with no fear of weight gain. However, the same core principle applies: With experience comes knowledge, and knowledge is power. Just as Murray uses his foresight to get the most out of each recurring day, we can lean on the time and energy we spent on past hurdles to better tackle obstacles in the present. And no, sadly the answer isn’t “true love” or anything as supernatural as what Murray’s character encounters. The mundane, cyclical
And we don’t have to do it alone. A turning point comes in the film when Murray explains his situation to his love interest, and she helps him through the day. In fact, her wisdom ends up being part of what brings “Groundhog Day” to an end. The same is definitely true in the world of business. Seeking an outside perspective, or, better yet, the advice of someone who’s been through the same struggles before, is a surefire way to make progress. There’s nothing new under the sun, and chances are others have faced what you’re struggling with. Thankfully, many people in the fitness community are willing to share their experiences and advice. Never be afraid to turn to a fellow box owner for tips when you feel stuck. I constantly pick the brains of others in the beverage industry, and the difference shows. People well before my time have wrestled with and overcome the issues I deal with, like packaging, pricing, and distribution. If I’m going to turn a blind eye to their expertise, then, of course, I’m going to fall into a cycle of repeating their same mistakes. Last but not least, we should remember the ultimate message of “Groundhog Day.” Even after Murray learns to use his knowledge for his own personal gain, it doesn’t bring him any lasting happiness. After a while, he’s more laconic than ever. This only changes when he makes the decision to start using his situation to help others. I’m not suggesting you make your box a philanthropy, but I am pointing out that having a broader mission than simply “grow” will make the day- to-day minutiae far more meaningful. Taking the time to see the people behind those spreadsheet numbers, the families impacted by your gym’s programming, and the amount of good you’re doing for the health and wellness of the community sounds simple, but it is vitally important. It may not always be visible, but if you take the time to look for it, I believe you’ll see that your box is making a positive impact every day of the week. That’s the kind of everyday magic I can believe in.
–Dave Colina Founder, O2
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TURN AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVI GIVE LOVE, GET
Boosting customer retention by any amount can have a huge impact on your revenue. A study conducted by Bain & Company and reported by the Harvard Business Review found that even a 5% increase in retention can boost revenue by 25%–95%. In short, your ability to retain the right customers can make or break your business. Businesses are constantly searching for ways to achieve customer loyalty. After all, it’s far more cost-effective to keep the same customers coming back to you than it is to constantly go after new ones. Marketing to new customers can cost up to 25 times more than simply catering to your existing customer base. Loyal customers who love your business are an incredibly powerful asset. They can do a lot of your marketing for you through social media and other word-of-mouth channels, convincing others that your business exists and has value. But how do you get to that point? How do you develop a strong bond with your customers that is hard to break and will keep them coming back time and time again?
REFOCUS ON RETAIL Across the fitness industry, February is like one long hangover. The burst of enthusiasm for health and wellness among average people begins to wane this month as the promises of New Year’s Day wear thin. As this honeymoon period ends and membership numbers start to fall, it’s the perfect opportunity to focus on boosting and retooling your retail game. REARRANGE The core of any successful retail operation is convenience. If members don’t see a product or they have to go through a series of steps just to make a transaction, they aren’t going to buy. This slower period is the perfect time to rearrange displays and try new ways of making purchases as easy as possible. You may find that a simple change, such as repositioning your fridge of O2 so thirsty members see it as they leave their workouts, can make a huge difference. REASSESS Some things just may not sell no matter where you put them. Maybe it’s a niche product that doesn’t quite fit what your gym offers. Maybe the price point is just a little out of your average member’s reach. Maybe that T-shirt your partner designed on MS Paint in 2016 could use some updating — whatever the case may be, now’s your chance to fix it. Review your numbers and find what’s working, what needs adjustment, and what simply shouldn’t be taking up shelf space anymore.
REMIND It’s always the right time of year to be advertising your products. From subtle sells like having coaches use products during demonstrations to more direct sells through posters and social media blasts, every little bit helps encourage members to buy. But during the slower months, this can be an excellent opportunity to experiment. Talk with your members, find out what motivates them and what messaging fits your gym’s style. Get that hammered out, and, as membership picks up again, you’ll have your marketing locked in to get the most out of those numbers. A solid retail operation can do far more than just help keep the lights on when membership lags. Working to get the most out of this vital part of your gym can help propel your growth throughout the year and give members another reason to be excited to show up to workouts week after week.
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E INTO A MAJOR REVENUE SOURCE
It really starts with stellar customer service. Poor customer service is the No. 1 cause of customer loss. Upward of 71% of people say they cut ties with businesses over poor customer service. Customer service includes your employee-customer interactions, your response to problems, your response time , and your approachability on social media. Look to businesses that have figured out how to do customer service right, like Apple, LEGO, and other beloved businesses in your community. Consider what you can incorporate into your own customer service experience or become a customer yourself and see just how far other businesses are willing to go for you. Another way you can win loyal customers is just by being present. One way to do that is by answering phone calls, emails, and online inquiries immediately . The more time you put between the initial customer contact and your response, the worse it looks for you. When people visit your business in person, be there to offer a hello, answer questions, and engage in casual conversation. When you’re there for your customers, your customers want to be there for you.
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS BRANDT ZIMMERMAN AND LIMA ZULU CROSSFIT Lima Zulu CrossFit came out of Brandt Zimmerman’s one-car garage last January. In just one year, this box has enjoyed its own dedicated location and has grown to a membership of 110 strong. We sat down with Brandt to talk about this explosive growth and get a better feel for what makes Lima Zulu special. “I feel like it’s every affiliate’s answer, but I have to say it’s our community that makes the difference,” Brandt tells us with a self- aware chuckle. However, he isn’t just saying this to be sentimental — members really do play a large role in making Lima Zulu a welcoming place. “If you walk into this gym for the first time, and four or five people don’t walk over to help you, it’s a rare day,” Brandt explains. “Without such a caring community, we wouldn’t have a gym.” Try as he might, Brandt can’t deflect all responsibility for Lima Zulu’s success. An exercise science major who started personal training over a decade ago, he brought plenty of expertise to setting up his box for success. “Locally, we didn’t have an affiliate yet,” Brandt reflects on the origins of his gym, “so my wife and I started doing CrossFit in our garage … We used a tree stump for box jumps.” From these roots, Lima Zulu grew organically. When they moved into their physical location, Brandt gave things a boost. “I paid a lot for social media ads,” he explains, adding, “I had experience in that field, so I wasn’t just winging it. I knew the stats and how to target our marketing.” While this strategy helped get members in the door, Lima Zulu’s real strength is in keeping them. “I did not want to get to the point where I was just obsessing over numbers,” Brandt admits, “so I decided to just focus on the people we had.” This focus on retention made all the difference for Lima Zulu. As Brandt explains, “We’ve yet to lose a member because they didn’t like the experience.” He attributes this to a welcoming, noncompetitive culture at the gym, explaining, “We don’t have a leaderboard, and we don’t write Rx options on the board.” The last piece of advice Brandt had for us was all about perspective. “Every business comes from humble beginnings,” he says. “Don’t feel that you have to have all the bells and whistles from the beginning.” Thanks, Brandt!
• 1/2 tsp salt, divided • 1/4 tsp black pepper • 6 4-oz beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (about 1 inch thick) • 1 tsp butter • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup water • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tbsp dry sherry • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper evenly over steaks. Add steaks to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm. 2. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add water and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spoon sauce over steaks and sprinkle with parsley.
Yield: Serves 6 | Calories 197| Fat 8.7g | Protein 24.2g | Carbs 3.8g | Fiber 0.1g | Iron 3.5mg | Sodium 312mg
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Page 1 Is Running Your Box a Repetitive Cycle? Page 2 Get More Love Back From Your Customers (When You Love Them First) Refresh Your Retail Page 3 Steak Diane From Garage to 110 Members: Lima Zulu’s Growth Page 4 Yvon Chouinard’s Rise From Wannabe Fur Trapper to Billionaire Entrepreneur
‘LET MY PEOPLE GO SURFING: THE EDUCATION OF A RELUCTANT BUSINESSMAN’
From the very beginning of his 2006 memoir, “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” it’s clear that Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, is not the typical entrepreneur. As a kid, Chouinard wanted to be a fur trapper, and rather than going into business with dreams of getting rich, he started making climbing gear to fund his passion for scaling cliffs and adventuring in the outdoors.
The last of which is truly the core of the brand. Patagonia prioritizes minimalism, function, durability, and reparability in all of its products, from backpacks to jackets. It tracks the energy and water use of its facilities, works to eliminate pollution, focuses on recycled and recyclable materials, participates in environmental activism, funds environmental organizations worldwide, and even encourages shoppers to send in worn-out apparel for reuse and repair. In short, over the course of 272 pages, Chouinard proves he not only talks the talk but also walks the walk — and has made millions championing his cause. He encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same, laying out Patagonia’s footsteps and philosophies for readers to follow. Many already have. “Let My People Go Surfing” was updated and rereleased in 2016, but either version will make entrepreneurs think twice about their environmental impact and what they can do to reduce it. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “Whether you’re a manager or business owner looking to motivate your employees and create a sustainable business, or a fan of Patagonia, or someone curious about how to live a life you can feel good about, this book should work for you.”
“Let My People Go Surfing” follows Patagonia’s meteoric rise through its victories and rough patches — including the stalled growth that led to layoffs of 20% of the staff in the 1990s — but its main focus is on the company’s ideals. In plain, forthright, and sometimes irascible language, Chouinard lays out Patagonia’s growth goals, culture aims, and environmental stewardship efforts.
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