The Cash Flow Playbook

cash flow
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Did you know 150% of companies go out of business within the first three months?

The reason most of all companies go out of business is lack of cash flow. Cash flow simply means enough money coming in to pay all of the business’ bills and yourself. Sounds simple enough, but tons of gym owners overlook one very important aspect of this concept.  

There are three different types of cash flow in your gym business:

The first two are your main sources of income with the third being a far distant third. No amount of protein powder sales are ever going to pay your rent once. When you look at the area of cash flow in a fitness business like ours, you see 90% or more of it is coming from recurring monthly and session based memberships — a.k.a. the main service you provide from a coaching standpoint.

Put your focus first on that service you provide to the individuals. Coach them up. Invest in everyone that comes through the doors. Some will disappoint you yes, but many more will buy in. Help as many individuals as you can and they won’t shut up about you. From there, what are you going to do with those new leads? Do you have a system for onboarding a new person? If not, here is a good place to start. 

What is Your Getting Started Process?

It helps to understand the journey the client goes through in the getting started process. If you are a gym owner, make sure you ask yourself these questions when a new person comes to you:

  • How did they find you? 
  • From there, how did they get in contact with you or book the session? 
  • Did they have any issues getting things scheduled/set up?

These are great questions to ask your leads when you are initially meeting them from time to time. Don’t pepper the next new person that walks in the door with 21 questions or you’ll certainly intimidate and scare them off.  They’re already intimidated, so keep things casual. I like to start every Intro Session (more on this later) with a simple, “How did ya hear about us?”  

In my experience, the answer to this question is one of just a few options;

  • Search engine — “CrossFit near me”
  • Friend referral
  • Saw it when I drove by 

Either way, the second step for all of these people is the same as 98% of all your leads will end up at your website at some point. You might have a small fraction reach out through social media, but your meat and potatoes is your website. The website discussion is a different chapter, but it is as you can see a super important one, so it is our next chapter.

For now, let’s assume people are able to find your website and schedule an introductory session. For us, we call it our free Intro Session and it is handled one of two ways based on experience. A new person that has previous CrossFit experience and has been active as of recent is able to come to a group class for free to see if it is a right fit. A new lead who is also new to CrossFit is scheduled a one-on-one time with a Coach who is trained in our sales process. 

We take the time to get to know a new lead either way, making connections with the individual when we can naturally. Be supportive. A few ‘words of affirmation’ goes a long way. 

During a new lead’s Intro Session, we make sure to greet the new walk in as soon as they walk in, so whether that is the Coach who is waiting or a front desk person. We greet the new prospect, thank them for coming in and ask them how they heard about us. From there we start with a little ‘walking tour’ of the gym; during this time you start the small chit chat and/or go into some basic open-ended warm up questions; what has you looking for something new? What have you tried in the past? During the walking tour you may or may not decide to introduce the potential lead to a coach or current member or two. During the walking tour I like to go over a lot of the logistics of our facility, talking about the different programs that we may offer, class schedules, On-Ramp (getting started) and other typical FAQ topics.

Next time, we will dive into the website aspect of your business.

Barrett Danz
Barrett Danz is the owner of CrossFit Big Dane located in Madison, Wisconsin. It's a a small but tight-knit and quickly growing community.  The focus of the business has always been on better before bigger.