“Guide to Preparing for the FLSA Exempt Pay Changes: Month Two, Analyze Your Pay Plans” By: Melissa Knowles, CEO, Gym HQ- A ClubReady Company

Last month we began the process of preparing for the FLSA Exempt Pay changes, announced by the DOL in May, by looking at your workforce and their duties.  You can find that article and additional articles on the change on our website:  http://www.gymhq.club.  This month, we continue our preparation for the upcoming December 1st due date for compliance with a look at employee compensation.

The single biggest change for which owners need to prepare is the new salary minimum.  The salary threshold increases from $455/week ($23,660 per year) to $913/week ($47,476 per year).  If left alone with no changes to the current compensation plans beyond the required salary increase, an owner’s exempt payroll will double!  With payroll constituting one of the biggest expense categories for a business, this could have a major effect on the bottom line.  Here are several considerations to make and examples to use while analyzing a business’s current pay rates and retrofitting them to comply with the new DOL guidelines:

Calculate each exempt employee’s total yearly earnings.  You’ll need to include all compensation including salary, commissions, and bonuses.  Example:

GM Johnny has a salary of $36,000 per year.  He has a commission plan in place that pays him on any memberships sold by him directly as well as a bonus structure based on the achieving 100 new memberships per month.  Looking at the six months he’s been employed, it’s established that his average monthly commission is $300 and his average bonus is $500.  That gives him an estimated annual commission and bonuses payout of $9,600.  So Johnny’s estimated annual income is $45,600. 

If an employee’s current base salary meets or exceeds $47,476, no changes need to be made.

If the employee is close to the earning base stipulated by the new law ($47,476), consider making adjustments to their current compensation plan to bring it into compliance.  Continuing with our GM Johnny example:

The new FLSA pay criteria stipulate that up to 10% of the first $47,476 of the employee’s income can come from non-discretionary commissions or bonuses.  These are bonuses based on clear and measurable goals or a company’s profitability.  That means if we want to cap Johnny at $47,476 for his annual compensation, $4,747.60 of it may come from commissions and bonus.  We can bring his salary up to $42,729 and adjust our commission and bonus structure accordingly.  Where he may have been earning $300 in commission on 30 memberships, now his plan pays him $150.  His monthly bonus is adjusted to $250.  This brings his yearly earnings from these two categories to $4,800.  When combined with his new salary, Johnny’s yearly income is $47,529.  This is only a $1,929 increase to the business for the year. 

If the employee’s current earnings are much lower than $47,476 per year, consider moving them to hourly pay.  Example:

 AM Adam has a salary of $24,000 per year.  He earns another $10,000 annually from commissions and bonuses.  That puts his annual earnings at $34,000.  While a review of his job duties indicated that his role does qualify him to be an exempt employee, the business owners have not budgeted $47,476+ each year for his position.   In order to comply with the new FLSA pay rates, Adam’s pay is changed to $11.50 per hour (his salary divided by 40 hour weeks x 52).  He’s required to clock-in and out and his commission and bonus structure remain the same.  GM Johnny carefully monitors Adam’s time clock reports to ensure he’s not exceeding 40 hours per week.

*Luckily our example gym isn’t in California, so Adam is not limited to less than 8 hours per day to stay out of overtime status.

If you’re moving a currently salaried employee to hourly, make sure you factor in the need for and frequency of overtime hours.  Example:

After reviewing the hours Adam typically works, Johnny realizes that he’s averaging 50 hours each week.  He reviews this with the club owners and all agree that Adam is needed for the extra 10 hours each week.  Therefore, Adam will be earning overtime pay.  Johnny will need to be careful to take Adam’s commissions and bonuses into consideration.  For the pay period of August 1st to August 15th, Adam worked 108 hours.  20 of these hours these were overtime.  He also earned another $350 in commissions and bonuses.  Here’s a breakdown of Adam’s pay:

  108 hours x $11.50 + $350 (commissions & bonuses) = $1592 (straight time pay)

$1592 divided by 108 hours worked= $14.74 (regular rate)

$14.74 x ½ = $7.37 (overtime premium)

20 hours of overtime x $7.37 = $147.40 (overtime pay)

Total payout = $1,739.40

 If the owner had failed to consider the tendency of Adam’s position to require overtime and had set his hourly rate to $11.50 (and made no changes to his commission and bonus plan), Adam would be set to earn $41,745 per year, which is a lot higher than $34,000.  The cost to the business would be $7,746 annually.  By understanding the implications of overtime pay, the owner could adjust Adam’s hourly rate lower than $11.50 and/or modify his commission and bonus structure.  Considering the need for and frequency of overtime, as well as its cost, is a must when considering a future pay plan for a position.

 Consider the cost of admin when deciding to move a salaried employee to hourly.  Who will track the employees’ hours, make adjustments when need, and police overtime?  Who will ensure calculations for overtime pay are properly made?  Does your pay cycle for hours align with your commission and bonus structure?  Example:

Gordon pays his team for hours and salary on a semi-monthly basis, but his commission and bonus structures are based on his club’s monthly sales and performance quotas.  His sales rep Samantha consistently works overtime and Gordon knows he needs to calculate pay based on her regular rate.  However, when he pays her for her hours from the first half of the month, commissions and bonuses are not available.  How does he ensure Samantha is paid out properly?

For August 1st to 15th, Samantha worked 92 hours.  4 of these hours were overtime.  Her hourly rate is $8.  Gordon should pay her the following on her check:

92 hours x $8 = $736

$8 x ½ = $4 (overtime premium)

$4 x 4 hours of overtime = $16

Total pay for this check= $752

 At the end of the month, Samantha has $400 in commissions and a $100 bonus.  Gordon is able to attribute $150 of the commissions to August 1st to 15th and splits the bonus in half as it was earned over the entire month.  He then calculates the additional overtime pay due to Samantha for August 1st to 15th.

 $200 (commission and bonus) divided by 92= $2.17 (additional income to add into hourly for regular rate)

$2.17 x 4 hours x 1.5 (time and a half) = $13.02 to be added to Samantha’s next check.

 Finally, a great place to start when building a compensation plan is to determine how much the position should pay when an employee performs well (if commission/bonus based) and work backwards.

As you can see, there are a lot of points to consider as you work toward December 1st.  Starting now ensures you have the time necessary to put a thoughtful plan together.

 

Melissa KnowlesMelissa Knowles serves as the CEO for Gym HQ. With over
a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas: strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting development and implementation, gym hqfitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management. She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM. What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”. Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.

Learn more about Gym HQ by clicking here.video

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“3 Ways to Leverage Tablets to Sign Up New Members” By: Jason Abucejo, ASF Payment Solutions

We live in an increasingly mobile world. With the introduction of tablets, activity trackers, and smarter smartphones, it’s easy to be able to connect with anybody or anything around us. Tablets, in particular have made it easier for people in service industries, such as gym management to instantly reach the audience they want and sign them up for club offerings outside of where they do business. If you’re a gym owner, there’s a good chance that investing in a Tablet and leveraging it outside your gym can lead to new memberships and increased club exposure.

Let’s look at three ways to leverage a tablet to sign up new members and to bring new business to your gym.

Outdoor Events and Conferences

Outdoor events, such as food, music, and cultural festivals, are some of the best ways to move your gym outside its four walls and encourage prospects to try out your club, and even join it. By using a tablet, you can offer a special discount for joining, upsell group exercise programs at your gym, and get your name out there to those who may not know you exist. These types of outdoor events and conferences bring out a wide range of community members who may be looking for a change in their fitness plan and are willing stop at your booth to talk about it. They aren’t expecting a gym to be at these types of events, which makes you stand out among the theme of the event, or conference and in turn gets more people to stop by and see what you’re all about.

Marathons, Triathlons and Sports Events

Athletic events, such as marathons and triathlons are a great way to compete for memberships as others are competing to better themselves. Many gyms not only set up booths at these events, they also sponsor teams, which will bring brand recognition to those participating and attending the event. By setting up a booth for your gym and using a tablet, you can offer community or neighborhood discounts to try out your gym. By signing them up right then and there, you can encourage a healthy lifestyle of fitness while boosting your gym membership within the community.

Boot Camps

Promoting and offering boot camps outside your club for members and prospects can become a public venue that also attracts people observing the camp. By having a tablet on hand, you can quickly sign up new members that are trying out the boot camp for the first time, and encourage observers to sign up for classes. These events are great for offering higher-level functional training classes at your gym that may be more appealing to the demographic at these types of events. It is also appealing to those participants who may be looking for a new gym that is better suited for their fitness needs.

Conclusion

Tablets, and other mobile devices are changing the way gyms are doing business. By having instant access to signups, classes, free trials and other information about your gym, you can sell memberships “on the go,” where you have an opportunity to talk about your gym and present the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Jason Abucejo_headshot

 

Jason Abucejo
Manager of Sales 
ASF Payment Solutions
jason.abucejo@asfpaymentsolutions.com

Before joining ASF in 2007, Jason worked in sales for almost 20 years including retail, where he managed multi-unit stores in the entertainment industry. After some time as a Senior Sales Executive at ASF, Jason was promoted to Manager of Sales and has been responsible for establishing partnerships with many high-end accounts. Through his responsibilities and travels for ASF, Jason has visited literally thousands of facilities getting to know more about their operations, business trends and training philosophies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Document! Document! Document!” By: Melissa Knowles, Vice President of Gym HQ- A ClubReady Company

If I have one phrase I utter more often than any other while navigating our wonderful business of fitness, it may well be some variation of:  “Is it documented?”    I get it; no one wants to take the time to write it all out.  It’s time consuming and you could actually be ‘doing’ it rather than writing it down.  But here’s the thing, it’s absolutely key to your long-term growth and success that anything essential to your business’ operations or health be in writing.   To get you started on your adventure into the world of proper record keeping, here are three areas in your fitness business where I consider proper documentation to be of paramount importance:

  1. Policies and Procedures. Think of your Policy and Procedures Manual and/or your Employee Handbook like the playbook for your business.  They lay out expectations for team members, explain the business objectives behind those expectations, and provide the framework for how to carry them out.   Sitting down and committing your business essentials to writing is important for several reasons:
    • It causes you to really “think through” how you’re carrying out the day-to-day. Do your policies make sense?  Are they easy to adhere to, manage, and, in some instances, measure?  Are they legally compliant at both the federal and state level?
    • It memorializes when a policy was put in place. As your manuals are updated, the latest versions should be time stamped.  This ensures that should you need to follow-up on when a new initiative went live, you can do so easily.  Example:  Knowing when a PTO policy went into effect and having it clearly detailed in writing, makes it easy to explain when a team member questions their balance.
    • It gets everyone on the same page, literally. A written policy eliminates mistakes and misunderstandings.  It creates consistency among different supervisors and as the members of your team change.
  2. Employee Issues. Inevitably issues with team members will arise.  Hopefully,  you have a solid Employee Handbook in place which addresses how to deal with these issues.  Most businesses strive for a system of progressive discipline.  This involves a series of procedures for dealing with shortcomings in a team member’s performance.  A good policy should provide for a method of documenting all employee dealings relating to performance (both positive and negative) and require signatures where appropriate.  Clear and consistent documentation ensures the employee understands the reasons for your actions and what your expectations are of them moving forward.  If the time comes when employment must end, it also provides a history should a claim arise (unemployment benefits, discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.).  Side note:   Many managers equate the word discipline with punishment versus thinking of it as the process of helping an employee understand their role and how to perform more effectively or efficiently.    If meetings with a supervisor involving documentation are always viewed as negative and seen as a threat, that’s exactly what they end up being and the policy loses any potential positive impact.  You end up with a too little, too late situation because even you avoid discussing employee issues!
  3. Member Relations. Did your front desk person have a conversation with a member about freezing their account?  Where is that conversation notated so other team members can see it?  Hopefully your club management software offers basic CRM (customer relationship management) functionality.  Use it!  It’s extremely important that you’re tracking member interactions through clear notes on accounts.  This helps to provide the member with consistency in experience and prevents them from having to relay the same information multiple times.  It also eliminates the “he said, she said” trap in which we sometimes find ourselves by making it easy to look back on what was discussed during previous member interactions.  Bonus:  If your software allows for follow-up or ticketing, it makes it much easier to schedule any necessary tasks concerning members’ needs with your management team.   A system of proper notation and follow-up ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

 

So roll up your sleeves and grab your pen!  With some upfront effort to create clear policies, the discipline to adhere to those policies, and the dedication to follow through with consistent documentation, you set your business up for success.

 

Melissa KnowlesMelissa Knowles serves as the CEO for Gym HQ. With over
a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas: strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting development and implementation, gym hqfitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management. She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM. What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”. Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.

Learn more about Gym HQ by clicking here.video

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“NOT THE END?!” By: Dave Kenyon, Gold’s Gym Dutchess County

challengeIt always amazes me how quickly time goes by. It feels like just last week we were planning and organizing this year’s Gold’s Gym Challenge. And yet here we are talking about wrapping it up and judging.

The Gold’s Gym Challenge is truly special to me for a number of reasons. One reason is that it happens during our busiest time of the year, which can be great or a little stressful.  I personally love the busy season of January through March, as the energy in the club is at its peak, and people are working hard to create a better version of themselves.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing a fitness floor filled to capacity with people from all walks of life, working hard to accomplish whatever goal they have set.

The other reason the Challenge has me hooked is its simplicity and effectiveness. It isn’t rocket science, but the results we see every year still amazes me. The dedication and commitment that people make is truly inspirational. I believe that the Gold’s Gym Challenge IS the magic pill!

The best reason the Challenge is so special to me is the impact it has on our employees. Watching the Trainers, Sales People and Front Desk Staff talk about it and get excited to see people sign up is extraordinary. The level of excitement the staff brings to it is, in my opinion, the difference maker.

So as the weather starts to turn nicer and people start to think about going outside. Let’s get all the people who started the Challenge to remember why they did it. What was their reason for their dedication? Why did they sacrifice and commit to the gym and the healthy lifestyle for 12 weeks?

Let’s remind them of why they feel and look better than they did just a short 12 weeks ago.  Let’s help them to remember their healthy lifestyle. And let’s celebrate their achievements together.

So as we say goodbye to this year’s Gold’s Gym Challenge, I would like to challenge everyone reading this to keep that Challenge feeling alive in your staff and yourself for as long as you own, run, or work in the best place on earth!

GOLD’S GYM

All 2016 Gold’s Gym Challenge Team Submissions must 
be received at the GGFA by Friday, May 6th! 
GGFA #129 / 400 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard 
Suite 5, Suwanee, GA 30024

Dave Kenyon

Dave Kenyon, Chairman
Gold’s Gym Challenge Committee
Gold’s Gyms of Dutchess County NY

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Are You Watching Your Monthly Membership Sales Decline and Don’t Know Why?” By Jim Thomas, Fitness Management & Consulting

We recently took on a client club whose sales were on a steady decline.  Of course, we heard the normal push-backs such as to much competition, time of year, rates are too high, marketing is not working, etc.  One of the first things we will normally do is listen in to call-tracking results on incoming calls – most of this is tied to direct mail marketing.  In this particular case, a prospect called in asking about membership rates.  Not only did the club representative not follow the provided script, but when the caller volunteered that she may have called the wrong club, the club rep offered to find the phone number of the competitor. You may be thinking this was a new rep that was answering the phone prematurely…..unfortunately, it was the club manager.

Do you know what your salespeople and front desk staffers are saying over the phone?

92% of customer interactions happen via the phone.  85% of customers report dissatisfaction with their phone experience.

Do you have a written phone script? If not, you need to get one and it should be memorized to the point of being second-nature. Regular training and role-playing should be done to be sure everyone is on track.  And be sure to listen to your call tracking notes…this will only be important to your staff, if it’s first important to you.  You must inspect what you expect.

A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor when ignored.

Are you ignoring your customers?

Many clubs will put a significant effort into getting the phone to ring and people to walk through the door, but then don’t maximize the opportunity to increase membership sales when the salespeople fail to follow up.

48% of salespeople never follow up with a prospect.

25% of salespeople make a second contact and stop.

12% of salespeople only make three contacts and stop.

Only 10% of salespeople make more than three contacts.

80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.

The biggest reasons we find salespeople do not follow up like they should – they simply don’t know what to say.  Web leads, for example, on average, require 8 attempts before contacting….you may speak to some web leads right away which means someone else make take 16 attempts.

The key to successful follow up is to commit to it, get creative on different ways to do it and understand that speed is power.

Do you know what your salespeople are saying? Can your salespeople pass the test?

Now, go learn that script!

 

Register for the GGFA webinar  How to Improve Sales Performance

by 20% Without any Additional Expenditure”

 DATE: THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2016 TIME: 1:00 PM EDT

Register Now

 

Jim Thomas

 

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomasondemand.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“10 Tax Time Tips for Your Fitness Business” By: Melissa Knowles, CEO, Gym HQ

With April 15th fast approaching, now is a great time to start the prep work for filing your business taxes…for 2016.  If you’ve waited until now to start preparing for your 2015 filing, you’ve already missed the proverbial buck.  As with all other aspects of your business, organization, proper planning, and consistency are hugely important in making tax season as painless as possible.  Follow the tips below to ensure that next year’s filing is smooth sailing.

  1. Prepare early. Not surprisingly, this ranks top on our list.  Procrastination will not serve you well when it comes to ensuring the documentation needed for your taxes are in order.  Late filings and amendments can cost time and money.  When you fail to file a Form 1120 (due March 15th for corporations and April 15th for LLCs), the corporation is charged a monthly penalty that’s equal to 5 percent of any income tax that remains unpaid.  In addition to the penalties for failing to file, the IRS can charge the corporation a separate penalty for paying taxes after the filing deadline. This penalty will increase the amount of tax that the corporation owes by one-half of a percent for each month it remains unpaid.
  2. Be consistent. Ensure that your accounting and bookkeeping practices are accurate and occurring on a schedule.  Make sure your expenses are reconciled, tracked and supported with receipts.  At a minimum, spend time at least monthly to review your accounts—receivable, payable, credit card transactions, cash flow, etc.  You also want to ensure that all expenses and revenues are booked according to the same system each month.  Keep a depreciation schedule for all major asset purchases.  Make sure the schedule includes:  date put into service, original cost, accumulated depreciation up to this tax year, business use percentage (if applicable), recovery period of the asset.  You’ll also need any Section 170 Expense taken in the first year of service.
  3. Make sure you have W9s on file. If you’re paying anyone as an independent contractor and their total payment exceeds $600 (or the payment is for legal services), you’ll need to provide them with form 1099-MISC by January 31st.
  4. Take advantage of your liabilities. If you’re on an accrual basis, make sure you accrue liabilities that occurred within the fiscal year to the take advantage of the tax deduction.  If you’re on a cash basis, make sure you stroke a check for any outstanding liabilities prior to year-end to reduce your profit.
  5. Be mindful of state apportionment. Have locations in multiple states?  Then you need to prepare for state apportionment.  Make sure you’re dividing your revenue, expenses, and payroll appropriately throughout the year.
  6. Don’t forget about the ACA reporting requirements. Do you understand what your business’ requirements are under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?  Reporting was due to employees in January.  The filing due to the IRS has been extended from March 31st to June 30th (if filing electronically) and from February 29th to May 31st (if not filing electronically).  Penalties are in place this year for failure to report or provide adequate coverage.  Make sure you look into the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit which is in place to help small businesses with low-  and moderate-income workers afford the cost of coverage.
  7. Avoid payroll mistakes. Payroll tax compliance is something that many small business owners struggle with. The financial consequences of getting it wrong aren’t pleasant either. Statistics show that approximately 40 percent of small businesses incur an average of $845 per year in IRS penalties (not to mention issues with the states in which they operate). To make sure that your payroll taxes are deposited correctly, consider outsourcing your payroll function. The benefits often far outweigh the fees.
  8. Ensure your SUI rates are accurate. Each year, the state(s) mail out a new unemployment experience rating for the coming year.  Make sure you update yours with your payroll team.  Failure to do so can result in under paying and receiving a nice bill, with interest, or overpaying and jumping through the hoops required to get a refund back from the state.
  9. It isn’t only the IRS. The IRS is only a piece of the tax puzzle.  You’ll want to be mindful of other tax obligations like property, payroll, local taxes, excise tax, self-employment taxes, etc.  Failure to meet deadlines can result in some serious fees.
  10. If you’re not prepared, file an extension. If you haven’t heeded our advice and find yourself staring down a rapidly approaching deadline, probably the easiest way to avoid late-filing penalties is to file Form 7004 to obtain an extension of time to file. If the 7004 is filed by the original tax return filing deadline, you’ll have an additional six months to file the Form 1120. However, the extension doesn’t give you more time to pay the tax you owe, so it’s best to estimate how much tax is owed and pay as much of it as possible by the original filing deadline to minimize late-payment penalties.

 

The beginning of the year is a great time to do a vital statistics check on your business.  Many of the practices required to satisfy Uncle Sam will benefit the overall health of your business.  So consider each of these pointers as time well spent.  Happy tax planning!

Melissa Knowles

Melissa Knowles serves as the CEO for Gym HQ.  With over a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas:  strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting gym hqdevelopment and implementation, fitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management.  She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM.  What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”.  Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.

video

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Effective Club Sales And Marketing Is Becoming More About Helping Than Hype By: Bryan K. O’Rourke, MBA

webinar-icon.pngOverview

IHRSA 2016 in Orlando this March has many great seminars and speakers but among them all is a really special one. Jay Baer, the renowned business strategist, keynote speaker and the New York Times best-selling author of four books will be discussing his book Youtility: Smart Marketing is About Help, not Hype on Monday, March 21, 2016 from 10:45am-12:15pm . I strongly suggest your attend.

What Is Youtility and Why Is Smart Marketing About Help Not Hype ?

Two key trends are making general top of mind marketing and advertising ineffective. First media continues to be highly fragmented and includes vast amounts of noise. The competition for your attention has never been higher so its harder to get your message across. Second companies are increasingly distrusted by consumers. They simply do not believe what brands are telling them and so are skeptical about any messages that do get through the noise.

While top of mind awareness is certainly fading, in-bound marketing has risen as an effective alternative but its only half the story. When someone is ready to buy they can find you, but this effort only serves demand that already exists. It does not create new customers.

Mr. Baer’s thesis is that a new approach he terms “Friend Of Mine” marketing, is a better way to market because in today’s world we are competing for attention against everything including the friends and family of your potential customers. As Jay puts it “Make your marketing so useful people would pay for it.” Because of this dynamic there are two approaches brands can take. The first is to be simply “Amazing” which is more generic and certainly important but the second approach is better: to be truly and utterly useful. How can brands do this ?bracket-clipart-right-bracket-md.png

There are three facets of creating Youtility:

  1. Provide lots of self service information. Buyers do not want to be hassled by sales people any more. They want to research and learn as much as possible using online tools. Create information that can help people evaluate their decisions.
  1. Provide radical transparency. People want to see the sausage being made. They want to know what is in it and how it is cooked. They want to know everything. Buyers want to understand as much details around any service or product they are considering to reduce the risk of uncertainty and to be sure they have the experience they are looking for when they do make decisions; and
  1. Deliver real-time relevancy. No brand can be useful all of the time. Utility is circumstantial. Jay shares the example of Columbia Sportswear’s mobile app featuring “What Knot To Do In The Great Outdoors” which shows its users how to tie various knots. This is incredibly useful if you need to tie a knot, which many people in the outdoors need to do. When customers rely on this useful tool they will likely return to Columbia when they are ready to buy something related.

There are many examples in health clubs where these three facets can be created; from providing a wonderful online presence that enables potential members to virtually tour clubs 24 hours a day to displaying pricing alternatives for services and memberships.

When considering the various approaches to creating there are Six Blueprints that Jay identifies in his book and which he will cover in his IHRSA 2016 presentation. They are:

  1. Identify Customer Needs. By understanding via research and study, what needs are most important to customers, you can design the best most valuable solutions people are looking for.
  1. Map Needs to Youtility. By using apps, blogs, forums and other modalities of content the Youtility can be optimally delivered in various forms that people find more useful. Picking the right form for the best for of Youtility is critical.
  1. Market your marketing. Content and information is fire and social media is gasoline. You must promote your Youtility first and your company second. Simply creating Youtility is not enough. You have to promote it.
  1. Youtility is a Skill Not A Job. Creating Youtility is the job of everyone in the business. The more knowledge that can be created and shared to create value the better.
  1. Youtility is a Process Not A Project. It never ends and evolves because technology and needs evolve. Once you start down the path of Youtility it never stops.
  1. Keep Score. There are four methods of tracking the effectiveness of Youtility and these include comments, shares, lead generation and finally sales. The metrics of Youtility are important to measure to understand just how relevant the effort is in supporting your growth plans.

 

Conclusion

Marketing and consumers are changing. Using the tools and approaches Jay outlines in his book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype is the modern day effective approach to building your fitness business. Hopefully if you are in Orlando for IHRSA 2016 you will have the time to hear Jay’s views in person. Jay has also just recently launched another great book Jay’s new book is Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers. To learn more about Jay Baer please visit his web site here: http://www.jaybaer.com/books-by-jay/ and give his concepts a try. You’ll be happy you did. If you’d like to figure out how you can use Jay’s concepts let me know, we’d be happy to help.

 

Bryan O'Rourke croppedAbout the Author:

Bryan O’Rourke serves as President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, is CEO of Integerus Advisors and serves as CSO of Fitmarc. He’s an entrepreneur, consultant and business executive with a 30 year track record of success. He and his partners actively serve health club and fitness business around the world.  As a former club owner, Bryan has worked in the health club and fitness industry for 18 years and was named one of 13 to watch in 2013 by IHRSA. He has presented at conferences on four continents and is widely published and quoted in periodicals like Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is being published this spring in an upcoming book by EuropeActive titled Growing the Fitness Sector Through Innovation . To learn more visit bryankorourke.com .

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment