August 25, 2011
By: Sal Corrente

One thing we are all becoming acutely aware of is that there is little consistency in the world today. It seems like we get one earth shattering piece of news after another. Mother Nature is getting nastier, the legal system seems to be letting us down, the financial markets are topsy turvy and the political climate is divided and contentious. One thing seems clear to me, if you want to make money in these challenging times and you are not selling an absolute necessity, you have to make an IMPACT on people lives. You must find a way to position yourself so that people see you as providing a positive escape from the daily grind. The great thing about the industry you have chosen to be a part of is that you are in a perfect place to make a huge IMPACT!

To use a very old, but relevant, example of how one person can make an IMPACT, it was widely published that during the Great Depression, Shirley Temple (I know, I know, I’m dating myself with this reference!) single handily saved Twentieth Century Fox Movie Studio from bankruptcy. How in the world could one young actress do that? Simple, her films IMPACTED people in a positive way and helped them forget for a couple of hours all the tragedy and sorrow surrounding them! She provided them with a positive escape and a reason to focus on the good things in life. While we don’t have a situation as bad as existed back then, today is arguably as bad as we have known in our lifetime. Certainly, people are looking for ways to remain positive and escape from the day to day grind. They are flocking to things that have an IMPACT on their lives!

The current environment provides health clubs with a great opportunity to give people a reason to feel good AND spend money. My question is have you been challenging yourself lately to expand your thinking to take advantage of the environment and make a real IMPACT in your community? Are you doing the same things you were doing in the early 2000’s? If you are, and you are getting great results, congratulations and keep doing what you are doing. However, what I’m seeing more and more is operators stuck in the old ways are not getting the results they need and are looking for new ideas. If this is you, one suggestion I have is to pick up the book “Who Moved My Cheese” and read it. You will quickly find a message to embrace and use to make an IMPACT with your business.

One of the challenges the book addresses is what have you done to respond to the fact that things are always changing? What out of the box actions have you taken since the economy has gone sideways? Are you having Biggest Loser contests in your gym? Are you using social networking like Facebook to get the message out? Have you had event nights? How about a Battle of the Bands in your parking lot? What about partnering with other vendors who want to work together to get exposure? Remember, you aren’t alone today. Most other businesses are fighting the same fight you are and would welcome the opportunity. How about producing YouTube video’s by you and/or your staff that provide education and shows off the personality and atmosphere of your club? Wouldn’t it be interesting to have special offers built in to the body of the video?

These are just some quick ideas to consider. If none of them fit your business, that’s OK. The intent of this article is to get you thinking and come up with ideas of your own. If you are getting all the results you need, than my bet is you are already doing something ‘out of the box’ that has an IMPACT on your membership base and/or community. If your results aren’t what you want them to be, I suggest you challenge yourself to think outside of the box and then take action. One last thought, many times in life people are more IMPACTED by the little things. You don’t need to break the bank to make an IMPACT, just start thinking outside of the box!