AS 2019 APPROACHES EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Before I get started on this subject, the ABC Financial family and I extend our very best wishes for your holidays and for the new year of 2019 ahead. May 2019 be full of health, happiness and your best year ever.
As we close the chapter on 2018 our industry faces many new opportunities and challenges.
In this regard, I’ve always thought one could discover wisdom in the world of business from music; I like to listen to a few tunes after all as some of you know.
Australian songwriter Peter Allen and his writing partner, Carole Bayer wrote a favorite song of mine from the seventies which was featured in the movie All That Jazz “Everything Old Is New Again.” You can listen to the song here if you don’t recall it.
Among the lyrics, are these pearls of wisdom and insight:
“Don't throw the past away. You might need it some rainy day. Dreams can come true again. When everything old is new again.” - Paul Allen
While all the “NEW” digital transformations, innovations, and fitness competitors have changed our fitness industry in the past few years and will continue to into the future (watch this), at the same time some important “OLD” tried and true business values and disciplines are becoming more and more relevant. I think this is something we all really need to keep in mind as the countdown to 2019 begins and the journey to 2020 looms.
Like Peter Allen’s lyrics suggest, we shouldn’t throw the past away because we might need it some rainy day. Our dreams can come true again when everything old is new again. So with this in mind and as 2019 approaches here are nine “OLD SCHOOL” opportunities to keep in mind for your fitness business as 2019 approaches with all the new things it will entail for health clubs, gyms, and fitness studio businesses like yours. Remember everything old IS new again.
- The ways members connect with each other and their fitness businesses requires more than ever that fitness studio, gym, and health club owners start thinking more like old-school small town business owners. You might want to refer to Gary Vaynerchuk’s book The Thank You Economy for more examples of this important concept. Basically, our mom’s, dad’s, and grandparent’s shops, based in small communities where everyone knew everybody and everything that happened is a good template for today. The more you think old school small town the better in a word of mouth world.
- Winners in the fitness business game are going to rely heavily on the personalities, hearts, and souls of their people who run all levels of their businesses to show up and be felt and experienced by members. Great, well trained, and caring people that serve members are going to be an even bigger part of success in the future.
- Unless you are building a new company from the start and can implement caring about members as the foundation to your business, be prepared for a complete cultural overhaul so that, like mom and pop shops from the past, every employee is comfortable engaging with and taking care of member needs on the spot and authentically.
- If you’ve already experimented with social media and tried different forms of “new” marketing that didn’t work, there likely two reasons: your fitness services are really not that good, or you are promoting yourself and your brand in the wrong way. You cannot put lipstick on that pig so make sure you are using tools and most importantly making sure your services and employees are super focused on taking care of your members and giving them what they need and want.
- When faced with two equal choices, people most often buy for no other reason than they associate one choice with someone they really know and who knows them. People and relationships are even bigger keys to success now and going forward.
- If you’re not passionate enough about what your fitness business does for members to find fuel for conversations every day, with as many people as possible, you’re in the wrong business. Really caring is going to become an even bigger differentiator.
- Letting the consumers decide for themselves that they really want to know you, versus persuading them that they should, can make a very big difference in the relationship that develops from there.
- It’s not your imagination; marketing really has gotten harder because marketing is less about advertising, old-school small town shop values dictate that taking care of members and offering a great service are the best forms of advertising in a word of mouth world.
- One day we will dust off the bones of businesses that fossilized like dinosaurs because they didn’t think that caring about members really mattered or could be “scaled,” because they didn’t think it was worth the effort, because they could not stop drawing lines in the sand, or for whatever reason. People really do matter most and the members, our customers, are the most important thing even in a world where what is “NEW” seems more in fashion.
So these are my nine “OLD SCHOOL” points to keep in mind regarding 2019. As you approach the new year keep what the French journalist and critic Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr famously said in mind, “the more things change the more they stay the same.”
Paul Schaller is CEO of ABC Financial Services, the industry’s leading fitness club management software that strengthens gym performance by reducing delinquencies, improving collections, and creating a better member experience. Paul is a business leader who believes everything in business begins and ends with the customer! His mission is to make sure every employee of ABC Financial Services is a maniac on a mission to make raving fans of our customers! You can learn more by following Paul on Linkedin and Facebook.