Members tell us how they'd spend $25K windfall
Wed, May 14, 2014 at 15:41
IHRSA in Crossfit, Darren Kanwischer, Fifth Avenue Club, Healthtrax, Marina Lebo, News, Rachel Cosgrove, Results Fitness, professional development

It is every business owner’s dream – a big chunk of change pretty much falls from the sky. The only caveat is it has to be used for the place of business.

Seems very unlikely, of course, but it certainly is fun to think about. Plus, with the options wide open, it also may tell you a little something about yourself.

Since the money can be used in a few different areas – necessities that you would have put money toward anyway, extras you’ve always wanted but never could squeeze it in a line item in the capital improvements budget, professional development, building up-keep and add-ons, and advertising/marketing, to name a few.

Interestingly, we posed this question – free $25,000 to be used in the club - to member clubs and got answers that touched on different areas the respondents would designate the windfall.

The answers each say a lot about health and fitness club owners. Many know that frivolous items may look nice and attract a couple new members but in the long run will not benefit the company. That is why an already planned new website, equipment to carve out a CrossFit studio, and more professional development were the answers from the three club owners/managers we talked to.

“I wouldn’t necessarily do something extra,” said Darren Kanwischer, owner, Fifth Avenue Club in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, said. “I would use the money to finance what we currently had planned. I believe in ongoing reinvestment.”

Kanwischer already has plans for a new website for Fifth Avenue Club. With the price tag in the low $20,000 area, he would still have a little extra for a much-needed shower tiles replacement.

Weight room at Fifth Avenue Club“I feel if I need something (then) I will do it,” he added. “”It’s not like there is something I really should do but I I won’t do it unless I have that ($25,000).”

Marina Lebo, executive director of Healthtrax in West Springfield, Mass., had a bit of turmoil for her answer. Being part of a chain she wasn’t her answer probably wouldn’t fly with management. But she said she would be confident she could convince them. Either way, she would want something that cleints would notice.

“I wouldn’t want spend $25,000 (on found money) on something like an HVAC unit,” she said, “I would want something cool.”

That explains why she would have a shopping list of CrossFit studio equipment and accessories in order to give her members something different as well as keeping up with a CrossFit studio nearby.

“Sometimes it is tough to balance frills and needs,” Lebo explained. “In a single club you might have capital improvement and want to do certain things, We have 18 clubs and all of the capital reserves are in one fund. We all submit what we need. If another club needs air conditioning and we don’t, they most likely will get the money.”

Rachel Cosgrove, owner, with her husband, of Results Fitness in Newhall, Calif., is a believer in bettering her staff in order to keep up with the most recent trends and becoming more knowledgeable. So, it would be $25,000 of professional development.

“We are always looking to improve our staff,” Cosgrove said. “The key with the $25,000 is, where can I get the biggest return? Our club name is Results Fitness, so we look to how we can get better results in less time for clients. That is what we are known for and why people come here.”

“For us, professional development has always been our number one priority. We always feel it is the best investment to make the team better and improve our services and skills.”

Of course, each of the answers affects the bottom line. 

Kanwischer’s new website will help Fifth Avenue’s lead generation. That, in turn, will obviously result in more memberships. And, the current website is not mobile-friendly, so the new site will take them to the next level.

“(The news site) will be designed specifically for lead generation prompting responses and making it easy to get that response,” he said.

For Lebo, she already knows that adding a CrossFit component to Healthtrax will bring in money. She said she has lost members to the studio in town. And, when her club hosted a training for a local obstacle race there were 60 people who signed up.

“Eventually I will find a way, even if it takes four years to accumulate it all,” said Lebo, who has started with a bunch of TRX ropes already being used. 

Results Fitness teamProfessional development may not sound sexy and may not scream “mad rush on new memberships.” But for Results Fitness, which is 30 or so miles north of Los Angeles, it has brought brand awareness and trust for clients because they know they are working with the top trainers around and some of the most trusted. Since they are on top of the newest trends and methods, Cosgrove and her staff are often used as experts and sources in publications and media outlets.

“The industry changes quickly. If professional development is not a priority in your budget then you can fall behind fast. You can buy all of the equipment you want but it sits in the corner if no one knows how to use it.

“The best investment is the one you get from better service for your clients.”

Tell us how you would spend $25,000.




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