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What Playboy Has Taught Me About Unlocking True Gym Revenue Potential

Thursday, January 18, 2024


What Playboy Has Taught Me About Unlocking True Gym Revenue Potential


Many gyms have an “access” level, “general” or “base” level of membership for their gym. This is the low skill, low labor part of the business for gym owners because this allows clients and members to come and go in your business with little/less need for fulfillment by the business. This is because you’ve already made the investment and spent the money on the equipment, machines, showers, etc. to attract this “base” level of member and client.

The #1 mistake I see from the majority of businesses and gym owners in the industry right now is that they treat this recurring monthly or yearly membership as their prime money-maker and the foundation or “base of their cake” as some online marketing gurus have called it over the years.

As I stated above: This is the #1 mistake you can make as a gym owner

Back in the day, Playboy had Playboy Clubs across the country. Strip away (pun intended) all the bells and whistles of this brick-and-mortar establishment and it was just a restaurant and nightclub business. When these clubs were successful, they sold “keys” to the club that got patrons and members certain levels of access to come eat at their restaurant and watch shows in their nightclub – annual memberships were broken out into Silver, Gold, or Platinum Keys To The Club being sold say anywhere from $150-$500/yr. If a club had 1,000 patrons that paid them $250/yr every January 1st of the New Year, that club would have $250k cash in-hand.

Here’s where the rubber really meets the road and where gym owners are totally fucking this whole model up.

The Playboy Club knew that its business WASN’T selling these “Key To The Club” memberships. They aren’t an access business or magazine subscription business. They were a restaurant and nightclub business. So collecting that easy quarter of a million dollars wasn’t crossing the victory line, it was the start of the race. The club was then able to annually spend a quarter of a million dollars every year on marketing and advertising to ensure that their restaurant and club was at a maximum capacity every. single. night.

Are you starting to connect the dots, yet? Yes? A new horizon should be brightening up before your eyes as you read this and start to think about it. No? Stay with me, I’m explaining further…

Too many gym owners are obsessed with the number of members they have and what their monthly EFT is because they have been taught by industry experts and similar gurus that those numbers somehow equal how much money you have each month.

If you fall or have fallen into this camp, it’s not your fault.

You only have to be a gym owner for a few short months to realize that the soft gym math of 100-150 members at $150/mo or whatever metric was sold to you as “best practices” based on your gym model is so hilariously off-base that if you don’t figure something out you’ll be working 90 hours a week for the foreseeable future and “how in the hell did this happen?” will be your daily mantra.

I’ve not only seen this hundreds of times with gym owners over the years, but I’ve experienced it firsthand as well. I feel you so hard on this…

Your number of recurring yearly, quarterly, or monthly memberships are not the finish line. When you hit 25, 50, 100, 500, 2,000 members - confetti isn’t going to fall from the sky, no gameshow host is going to walk about and yell over to the announcer off-screen “Tell them what they won, Johnny!”...

Say you hit whatever that magical number is on a Wednesday and Thursday happens the next day just the same. The reason this is the case is because getting your gym open isn't the finish line. Hitting a certain number of recurring memberships and active members in your gym isn’t the finish line.

The finish line is helping the members of your community get stronger, healthier, and more active and help them stay strong, stay healthy, and stay active for as long as possible. So they can pick-up and play with their kids and their kids’ kids. So they can go on hikes with their friends and loved ones. And enjoy life - living the best version of it as they can.

Client Success. Client Results.. THIS is the finish line for us in the Gym Owners Revolution. This is what matters and why we do what we do. So how are clients and members in your gym given the best possible chance at achieving real results? What do you have available to present/sell to clients that gives them the best possible chance at having success?

You have 2 common options:
       A) Personal Training. One-On-One personal training.
       B) Small group personal training (4-5 clients working with a single trainer)

And if you aren’t pushing to have your coaches and personal trainers at maximum capacity every. single. day. You're playing the wrong game in your business and it is directly responsible for your feelings of overwhelm, burnout, and more.

Let’s tie this all together and put a big beautiful bow on it, so no one reading this is left without a clear understanding of how we can take the Playboy Club’s example from earlier and start making significant mental, strategical, and tactical changes in your gym & fitness business.

The same way that the Playboy Club wasn’t an access business that sold memberships, neither are you.

The Playboy Club was a restaurant and nightclub. In order to be “next level” successful, they needed to have people in their restaurant and nightclub every single night. They didn’t stop at their “Key To The Club” memberships.

You are in the health & wellness space specializing in “clients achieving improved and measurable physical and achievable results & success” business. In order to be successful, you need to have people actively working towards goals and having success every single day. AKA working in a coached-product-environment - most typically a one-on-one personal training service or semi-private personal training service.

The Playboy Club weaponizes and finances all their marketing off of the “Key To the Club” memberships they sell each year. This becomes customer financed marketing. Giving them the budget and runway to market and advertise to ensure that their restaurant and nightclub ran at 100% capacity every night which lead to a higher quality product, better client experience, and overall success of the club.

You, too, should be financing all of the marketing and advertising you do to be actively engaging with your existing clients and new potential clients to bring them into your coaches’ product offerings in your business. Bringing every single personal trainer and coach to 100% capacity, with a wait list, and leading you to thoughts of needing to hire another personal trainer.

The gyms that we work with on executing this exact strategy always get to a point to where the execution of this process is so smooth that it isn’t a question of “if” they need a new personal trainer and coach hired by the business, but what the exact monthly revenue increase looks like to the business once that new trainer and coach are plugged into the business - additional monthly revenue of $3k/mo, $5k/mo, $7k+...

Stop treating your monthly, quarterly, or yearly memberships like the goal or finish line after you make a sale to a new member thanks to your marketing and advertising, paid ads, activities, free weekend workouts, Try a Workout For Free, etc. Start treating these recurring sales like further budget to help your clients achieve their goals and get the best possible results they can.

Never forget, THIS is the finish line for us in the Gym Owners Revolution. This is what matters and why we do what we do.

Give deeper into what we believe and stand for and check out our Gym Owners Revolution Manifesto. Get a copy delivered to your doorstep for FREE. The Manifesto lays out our core beliefs and stances on how to revolutionize the gym and fitness industry, from the types of training that should be offered to clients, price points and membership options, creating and weaponizing the Client Lifetime Journey with you and your business, marketing, and more.

- John

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