- Be better or be different
- We should all strive to be the best
- Being different is going against security
- Don’t listen to “it’ll never work”
- Multiple clients and recurring revenue are now standard
- Being unique in an industry can be very lucrative
- Always look for ways to stand out from the marketplace
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Hey Pat Rigsby here. And I want to talk about the two ways to win at business. Let’s get to it.
Welcome to The Fitness Business School podcast – the show for fitness business owners who want to grow their income, increase their impact and improve their lifestyle. Be sure to listen til the end of this episode, because we have a brand new special offer exclusive for listeners. So stay tuned.
Really when it comes down to business or most anything else, there are really only two ways to win, to be, to beat the competition. And those two are to either be better or to be different. Now being better is a long-term strategy that I think we all should pursue. We should all strive to be the best in our respective market at what we do, but you know, let’s face it. That’s a long-term strategy. That’s something that is never ending, right? That is something that you’re going to have to continue to, to avidly pursue for as long as you do business now being different. It’s a, it’s a little bit of a different story. It’s a, it’s a maybe a contradictory way that to how most people operate. Most people like the security of being the same. They base their pricing on what everybody else in their market does. They copy and paste ads and websites and funnels from other people because there’s this security in borrowing what we perceive works, even though we’ve never really been under the hood of most other people’s business.
And we don’t know if it’s actually working so being different. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m going to try to sell you on how different has helped me along the way during this podcast, because I think it’s probably been one of the, the true game changers. I mean, and you know, it would be unfair to allocate any specific success. I’ve had to just one, one specific thing, but I would say that, you know, being different, taking a different approach, looking at things through a different lens that has probably played as big a role in any success as I’ve enjoyed professionally in my life. It has anything. In fact, when I started coaching college baseball you know, I was the youngest head coach in the country for my first two seasons. So obviously I wasn’t going to win by having more experience than other people. I wasn’t going to be better at knowing the nuances of the game. I wasn’t going to be better. Like from a budgetary standpoint, we had the lowest budget in the conference. We had the worst resources from A to Z in, in, in the conference or, you know, against anybody we competed competed with. And, you know, after a little bit less than two years as a head coach, it became clear to me that we had gone about as far as we could do or as we could go by doing things in a similar fashion to everybody else.
And, you know, we had a little bit of success those first two years, but when I started approaching recruiting differently and game and practice strategy differently, and the way that we develop players differently and the way that really we just operated a to Z differently. That’s when went from, you know, we went from a really average ordinary mediocre type of program to one of the best programs in the country and the best program in our region. And, you know, that’s, I mean, and the cool thing about it was it happened fast. I mean, in one year we went from being pretty darn average to really, you know a program that was, you know, starting to get on the national radar. And that was kinda my first sample of how being different was truly a game changer. So the next time that I really put this into action was when I started my first training business. My first training business was in a small community in central Kentucky. When I say small, I was like 23,000 people at the time. It’s a little bit bigger now. And the average household income, there was $38,000 a year. I mean, virtually nobody in that community had ever worked with a personal trainer. There were a couple independent trainers in the town selling the same stuff that everybody sold, right? 60 minute sessions in a package of 12 to 24 sessions. So not coming from the commercial fitness industry and the big box gym environment.
I didn’t have this pre-conceived notion that that was the only way to do things. I just thought about like, well, what would people buy? And I had already had experience with this mindset of being different and said, okay, we’re going to sell 30 minute sessions. And we’re going to use subscription kind of recurring like monthly recurring revenue billing and 12 month programs from day one. And, you know, people are signing up for gym memberships for 12 months. Why wouldn’t they sign up for this? I mean, they’re kind of pursuing the same goal. And I even ran it by the two guys that were probably the most well-known consultants in the industry at the time. And both of them told me I was crazy. Both of them said, no, that would never work. And within 18 months in that small town, we had over 420 clients, clearly it worked. And as a side note, those, those consultants would both advocate that kind of same mentality now. And it’s, that’s you know, leverage coaching coaching more than one person per hour and recurring revenue are our hallmarks of virtually every successful business in the fitness industry now. And we were doing this in like 2004 when it was unheard of. And then the, the next real kind of different play that I took was when I was with some partners, launched a youth fitness sports performance franchise.
And at the time there were no other youth fitness and sports performance franchises in the industry targeting independent coaches. They were either aimed at investor groups because they were going to be, you know, 800,000 to $1.5 million startup costs, or they were in VA. You know, they, they were targeted business kind of entrepreneurial people, not coaches or they were targeting health clubs who wanted to bolt them on. There were only really two that had any traction in that was one, one took the first approach. One took the second approach by going to independent coaches and selling directly to them. We’re able in two years to have more active locations than either of those two franchises. And so in turn have the largest youth fitness sports performance franchise in north America. And then the, the next time that this happened. And so this this was when I, I launched again with, with partners. So it wasn’t just me and an adult training franchise. And you know, because most franchises were kind of one size fits, all right? Like they, they would never really allow any individuality or independence. It was, you know, they were geared towards selling to people who are not currently in the fitness industry, not people who had a way that they wanted to train or had any kind of equity. They had built up in their local community.
So instead of selling to the same biz op people that franchise broker sell to you know, we took a different approach, said, okay, we’ll let people, if they choose, keep their own brand and say, kind of powered by our brand. So they could still keep some of their own identity and some of their own style if they chose. But then we would provide an operating system, you know, the, the, the engine that allowed them to scale so they can focus on playing to their strengths and gravitating to their unique ability. And then the second piece was we sold mostly through a, what is called conversion. So taking existing businesses and converting them to our franchise, which it is not completely unique, maybe one or 2% of the franchise type of businesses in north America take that approach, but it was unique to the fitness industry. So both of those things were very unique. And so it was being different and allowed me as the sole sales person at that point to sell 116 franchise locations, my first year selling, which was unheard of, right. We were ranked in the, the entrepreneur magazine’s top 10 fastest growing franchises from year one. And again, that was it by being different. You know, he has given me the ability to compete apples versus oranges in almost everything that I did.
And, you know, I, I’ve kind of taken that same approach in my current business where, you know, there, there are really two focal points that we do, right? We, we focus on business growth, which is step one in building your ideal business without revenue. You can’t really do a whole lot else, but when we focus on business growth, we do a lot of things that are putting the burden of delivering results in advance on us. We, we say, okay, you don’t have to pay unless we deliver certain outcomes. And we were the first to do that. There were plenty of instances throughout the pandemic that we started. We were like, okay, we will let you come work with us and not pay anything for a certain period of time, no matter how good your results are, just so you can kind of get back on solid footing, again, a very different approach. And then the other thing was helping people build their ideal business, instead of saying, Hey, I’m just going to teach you this one size fits all system.
I’m going to help you take these frameworks and these proven principles and craft your own system. And those things have allowed me to be kind of unique and different. So, I mean, I wanted to illustrate how this different approach is driven in many ways, my business success. I mean, if you Couple that with relationships and Consistency, like, that’s it, that’s, that’s all I got. And you know, and I think it’s an untapped opportunity for you to, I think if you look for ways in your market where you can be different, not just feeling like you’re different once somebody walks through the doors, but the, the, the thing that the marketplace sees, the thing that your, your leads, your prospects, see the thing that your clients can go out and advocate on your behalf for. It’s clearly different. If you have that in place, it’s going to allow you to grow faster than Further than you probably ever thought possible.
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