Written by Owner & Coach Amanda
The most frustrating thing I’ve dealt with through this entire pandemic was not being shut down for almost 11 weeks (March 16 until May 27), or having to wear a mask and project my voice a little louder, or having to train people outside, or even having to clean and wipe down every single thing my staff or my clients touched or laid eyes on.
The most frustrating thing has been losing clients.
“Well, of course you don’t want to lose clients, Amanda. That’s money out of your pocket.”
True, but that’s not why it’s frustrating. If you know me, you know I’m about helping first.
Revenue fluctuations are a reality of a small business. Some months we have more revenue and other months we have droughts. To be honest, we’ve worked extremely hard to not overextend ourselves as a business, avoid debt, and save wisely to handle the droughts and be responsible with the floods. The drought we experienced during the shutdown was more due to a lack of new business and dips in retail sales, than the loss of clients.
We actually made it through the shutdown mid-March until end of May with freezing or canceling less than 10 clients. Compared to many other gyms I spoke with and heard from, that retention was amazing. Thank you to the Coaches who stepped up during this time to adapt how they help.
And although I didn’t love that people canceled or froze their account while we were closed, I understood: They paid to step into a gym for fitness.
We tried to remind our clients that at a place like Torque, they actually invest in the coaching, accountability, expertise, and many other benefits. We told them we still would deliver on those pieces, but if that wasn’t really what they valued or wanted, then okay.
Then, we reopened end of May.
As stressful and hard as it was to reopen with all the safety guidelines, set up outdoors, find additional matting to purchase to accommodate the space, adapt the programming, design running lanes, figure out the outdoor speakers for music, battle the traffic noise as a Coach, pray for no rain and even pray for days under 90degrees, find the right type of disinfectant, purchase spray bottles that don’t break after three days use, hoard the paper towels from the store, design traffic lanes for getting equipment outside, there was a few silver linings: as a Coach we learned how to put up and take down a pop-up tent without any help, and our tan-game was on fire over the summer. We tried to see the positive in all of this: most importantly, we were able to continue to see you, and HELP.
I was so relieved when we could finally open inside of our physical location again! I think the Coaches were just as relieved.
I thought to myself, WE MADE IT!
I thought, “We’re good. Everyone will start getting back in again. Soon, we’ll be back indoors, and all will be right in the CFTorque world.”
Then, we started getting more requests for freezes and cancellations and low usage reports 15-25 members deep.
What the heck?! We’ve been busting our tails for the last 3 months, bending over backwards, working harder and longer than we ever had to before the shutdown. We implemented a massive safety and cleanliness plan. We had been Texting, calling, FaceTiming, Zooming, and now we’re OPEN and they don’t want to come back?!
As a Coach, it felt like a blindsided breakup. That’s the honest truth.
I didn’t understand. And the reason I didn’t understand was because I knew all the work and effort we were putting in to continue to take care of our clients regardless of their situation. Whether someone wanted to stay home and just train using our virtual classes, or if they wanted to switch to some personal training and avoid the big groups, or even if they wanted to move into a completely online training program with a personal coach to customize their home workouts to the equipment and goals that they had.
We could still take care of them.
And I think that’s what has frustrated me most. Not the loss of money or the drop in members, it’s been the loss of the opportunity to help someone who still needed our help.
The biggest problem for most wasn’t their health and fitness. It was their schedule, or job, or kids, or mental state, or elderly family, etc. You name it.
You see, I’m a fixer. You have a problem, let me help you fix it – even if you don’t want my help. Just ask my wife. Something I’ve come to realize over our marriage is sometimes she doesn’t actually want or need my help. She just wants me to listen to her problem.
As I’ve been working through my frustration of losing clients during this pandemic, I’ve had to approach it in a similar way to my relationship with my spouse. As times have changed, I still believe our clients have health and fitness problems they want solved. And I, being the fixer I am, want to shout my solutions from the rooftop. But right now they’re not focused on those. Even our clients who are coming to the gym right now don’t typically wake up thinking about all the health and fitness problems they have.
Times are stressful, and busy, and weird, and unknown.
I get it.
But if you still want help, we’re here.
And if you just want someone to listen, we’re here for that too.
Maybe your fitness has to look a little different.
Maybe you’ll workout in your basement with a coach on a video chat.
Maybe you’ll come in for one-on-ones to avoid big groups.
Maybe you’ll just do some nutrition coaching and learn how to feed your family in a healthful way to boost their immune systems.
And maybe you’ll just take some time off.
Whatever it is, we’re here for you.
If you still have health and fitness goals for 2020 and you want someone to talk with about them just email and say “I still need help”. I’ll reach out directly and we’ll schedule a time to chat virtually, over the phone, or in person – whatever is best for you.
I hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy,