Sep 07

Making the Most of Unfamiliar Equipment

Posted: under Wellness.
September 7th, 2012

Whereever you end up working out, be prepared for machines that are somewhat different from what you are used to. If you can do 80 pounds, on the leg extension machine at your gym but 60 at another facility feels like 80, go with how it feels. The resistance, the lever or cam set-up may be different; it’s not that you got weaker. Icarian machines, for instance, tend to feel heavier at the same weight than some other brands. Icarian is good equipment so don’t get hung up on what the weight stack says. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 31

Regular Physical Activity Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer in Women

Posted: under Cancer.
Tags: , , August 31st, 2012

Breast cancer is a disease feared by most women, prompting many to search for ways to reduce their risk. Until now, there have been conflicting results of the relationship between exercise and breast cancer, but new research has concluded that regular exercise can reduce a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer, according to one study, by 30 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 31

Approaching Sponsors

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 31st, 2012

In approaching local businesses to sponsor your program, your primary selling tool will be the exposure that they will receive. Sometimes member-owned businesses are easy sales for a program like this. To recruit sponsors, first send an initial letter outlining the program. Follow with a telephone call and an in-person visit with project materials. You should market the co-sponsors in any and all promotions used for the project. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 5

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

If a competitor came in and offered a higher price membership it wouldn’t take away a huge number of members from the low-price operator. It doesn’t have to. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 4

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

Again, we aren’t selling a commodity, we’re selling a service. And in most services, the consumer thinks that the highest priced service is the best. For example, if you’re suffering from some terrible illness, do you want the cheapest doctor you can find treating you? If you are in serious legal trouble, do you want the cheapest lawyer you can find defending you? Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 3

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

The club simply can’t provide service because the owners don’t have the additional revenue and probably don’t believe in it anyhow. Each day the club is judged successful or not by the amount of sales generated that day. Note here that there is no other revenue in these clubs from multiple profit centers because this style of club can’t control them. Why? Because all the real people are in sales and the rest are warm bodies who are passing through on their way to other jobs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 2

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

More members not worth cost

But the preeminent sacred cow of all time in the fitness industry is setting the price low so the club will attract more members. The rule was that the lower the price was set, the more members, or higher volume, the club would attract. For example, why set your monthly price at $40 and limit your membership? Why not set it at $20 and attract a lot more members? Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 1

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

Year after year, decade after decade, the incoming generation of new owners following those who have gone before them will make the same mistake the industry has made over and over again. What’s this catastrophic mistake each generation in the club business seems doomed to repeat? We set our prices too low. It seems like the biggest and most oft-repeated mistake would be something more dynamic to talk about. It’s not about opening with the wrong partners. It’s not about being totally undercapitalized. It’s not about dumping your spouse and running away with one of your good-looking personal training clients. It’s simply that we price the gym too low for the market.

The cost of price wars

Historically, the industry has always kept the price low by waging price wars against our competitors. In the ’70s a member paid around $20 per month for a membership to a typical mainstream health club. In the ’90s, in markets such as Denver, Colorado, a person can still join a fitness center for about $20 per month. There is even a national chain that advertises $19 a month in all of its markets. Is this a loss leader, something we offer cheap but then try and up-sell when the client is in the office, or is this price a play to gobble up the market, which is also dumb because it assumes every person in the country is only concerned about price?

The cost of opening a gym has increased by 1,000 to 4,000 percent in most markets around the country compared to the ’70s, but the owners are still trying to charge the same. They still believe that price drives the memberships even though today’s sophisticated members have proved that this is no longer true.

The problem with the price being too low is that it affects virtually every other part of the business. If the price is too low, the club is forced to produce an unrealistic number of sales. If the price is too low the collectibility of the memberships may decrease.

And most importantly, if the price is too low, the multiple profit centers in the club may not work because the club is filled with price-driven members — the cheapest human beings on the planet. Keep in mind that it’s hard to sell multiple profit centers to guys who bring empty milk jugs full of sports drinks. And senior citizens who are in on the lowest membership possible aren’t likely to kick in for that expensive nutrition program.

The misunderstood price

Pricing has grown to be the biggest mistake because it’s so misunderstood. It’s often left to last when it comes to developing a business plan because it seems so simple: Look at what the competitor charges, set our prices a few dollars lower, and then claim that our club is better that anyone else’s. Therefore, the member is getting a better buy from us. Again, does the member really logically believe that your business can be the best and the cheapest at the same time? Or does it seem logical to the consumer that he or she will really have a good experience and get enough help and service in a business that prices itself at $19 per month?

Setting a price has almost taken on magical proportions to some owners in the industry. “Find that one magic price and every potential member will buy.” The myths associated with pricing have evolved to become some of the biggest sacred cows in the business. “Sacred cows” are beliefs that are repeated so often they become the unquestionable truth.

For example, one very entrenched cow in the industry might be, “You have to have a childcare room in the club. Most members won’t use it but they want to see it when they join.” Another cow might be, “Without aerobics you’ll never get any women in the club.” And don’t forget an all-time favorite, “Cash is king. You have to go for all the cash you can get when you open your club.”

All of these premises were thought to be the absolute law at one time or another in the industry. And all eventually were proven to be untrue.

Clubs don’t have to have childcare to be profitable, cardio and other styles of group workouts such as group cycling replaced aerobics eons ago. Cash lowers the return-per-member so substantially that most owners, especially those that run multiple units, are much better off without the cash.

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Jul 18

IRA rollover taxes

Posted: under Business.
Tags: , , July 18th, 2012

I converted my rollover IRA into a Roth IRA in 1998. I’m confused about how to record this on the 1040 Form. I know that I can spread the taxes due out over four years. I didn’t see anything in the IRS tax booklet about how to do this or where. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 10

What Are the Physical Effects of Hepatitis C? Part 2

Posted: under Conditions and Diseases.
Tags: , , July 10th, 2012

Within two decades of infection, at least 20 percent of people with hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis. Signs or symptoms associated with cirrhosis include:

an enlarged or irregularly shaped liver or spleen
jaundice
itchy skin Read the rest of this entry »

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