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It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day issues of running a club. Many club owners and managers that I speak with tell me the majority of their time is spent dealing with daily club issues and putting out fires. For example, the sauna keeps breaking down, the paper towel dispenser is out of paper towels, the club’s staff opener quit without notice, the air conditioning is not working, members are stealing other members’ “spots” in their Group X class — the list goes on.
There are two ways you can refocus to help get yourself out of this rut and start growing your business again, hindsight and foresight. Merriam-Webster.com defines hindsight as “the knowledge and understanding that you have about an event only after it has happened.” Foresight is “the ability to see what will or might happen in the future.” Hindsight is more reactive, while foresight is more proactive, and both are important.
An example of hindsight might be when you look at your sales numbers at the end of the month and determine you didn’t hit your goal. There is no way you can influence what has already happened, but there is great value in determining what did happen and figuring out why it happened.
Your club management software (CMS) is your most important tool in looking at hindsight and foresight information. A few hindsight reports you should be able to get from your software are: cancelled members, usage statistics, product profit margins, sales analysis and top spenders. All of these reports give you great information on what’s happened in your club, what the trends are, if your revenue is up or down compared to last month or last year, and if there is a reason for the change. A good business operator learns from their mistakes and from their successes.
A good example of foresight would be staying proactive with your sales goals. You have a sales goal for the month and you worked backwards from the goal to find out how many tours, appointments, calls and leads you need to reach it. Halfway through the month you find that you’re behind pace with your number of leads. Foresight tells you that if things don’t change, you may not hit your goal. By using the contact manager in your software you can predict what may happen and make adjustments so it does not become reality.
Another example of foresight could be running renewal and credit card expiration reports one to two months early, pulling a low usage report to identify members at risk of quitting, or a low series report to boost personal training sales proactively. Even most of the hindsight reports can be used proactively if used at different intervals during the month, and not just after the month has ended.
Being accessible to staff and members is important, but you also need to block off time when you can focus, be more productive and not experience interruptions. Studies show that when you are interrupted, it takes a few minutes to focus on the new issue, and it takes another few minutes to switch back to what you were originally working on. It takes foresight to see that wasting all this time becomes a problem. It may detract from your productivity, so don’t let it happen. In order to make yourself available to the most members and staff possible, use your hourly usage report to gauge when the best time would be for you to schedule your uninterrupted block of time.
It takes both hindsight and foresight to operate a good, profitable business. Analyze past information for trends and insights. Learn from what has worked and what hasn’t. Look to the future, be proactive and make the necessary adjustments as your month unfolds to enjoy more success.
Rick Hersom is a sales consultant for Twin Oaks Software, a former club operator and an industry veteran of more than 20 years. He can be reached at 866.278.6750. For more information, visit www.healthclubsoftware.com.