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How to Ensure Your Business Runs Smoothly When You're Not Around

With just a few steps, you can ensure your club doesn't get rusty when you're not around. (Photo: Kamal H.)Mark Stevens and Rob Bishop discuss how to ensure your club runs smoothly, even when you're not there in this week's Best Practices.

Q: "As the owner of a small club, I can't be present every hour of every day we're open. How can I make sure my club runs smoothly in my absence?"

A: Create a Manager on Duty (MOD) position. A MOD typically utilizes the club’s department directors and managers or employees that are considered the senior leadership team of the club. They are then trained to be an extension of the owner or GM. The MOD should know each and every aspect of the Club and its operations, including membership, programs, emergency procedures, service standards for each department, HR procedures and a host of others.

We utilize our GM and AGM during the hours of 7am – 5pm each day. From 5pm to closing we utilize our MOD program with each of our managers on a rotating schedule to cover the Club. They are not to be in their offices doing work, but rather on the floor and visible and available in the club to members and employees. They are managing by walking around the club, saying hello, greeting people, assisting staff and being the first responder in emergencies.

In our situation we build this in to their job description and they are not compensated differently for those hours and coverage. The rotation covers, nights, weekends and holidays so the club is never running without a senior manager on site.

Mark A. Stevens, Regional Director
The Houstonian Health Clubs and Spas

A: There are two things you can do ensure that things are being done the RIGHT way when you aren't at the club. 

The first is to spend more time training employees, specifically training them to handle problems. Keep track of things that happen in any given month (no hot water in the women's locker room, where do you keep extra disinfectant, that woman downstairs was rude to me, etc.). Then role play these situations with your staff going over not only what to say, but how to say it. Each time something new happens, use it as a training tool for your staff.  

Second, make sure you have systems in place for everything that happens in your club: how to give a tour, how to answer the phone, how to present prices, how to schedule a personal training appointment. No detail is too small--shake hands and smile when you introduce yourself before giving a tour. Again role playing, even if it feels awkward or silly, is a very valuable tool. Every staff person should receive training. You never know when they might have to answer the phone or cover the desk for someone else.

Rob Bishop, Owner
Elevations Health Club


This post is a part of our weekly Best Practices series. We post a new question and answer every Monday morning. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.

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