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10 Tips from a 10-Plus Year Club Owner

Joe Cirulli

Poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward.”

Joe Cirulli knows this well. He founded Gainesville Health and Fitness in 1978, and since has gleaned a number of learning lessons on what it takes to run a successful business.

Here, in his own words, he shares some of those learning lessons and tips for other club operators.

  1. Never stop working to improve everything we do. Remember, our competitor may figure out how to do everything we do better if we don’t do it ourselves.
  2. If we continually work to improve every aspect of what we do, the only competition we’ll truly face is ourselves.
  3. The one thing that truly separates one business from another is the culture of the company. We can have the greatest facility in the world, but if the staff isn’t right, we will never reach our potential.
  4. Take time out to think. Too often we focus so much on doing, we find out we may have been doing the wrong thing. Join a REX Roundtable, Vistage, BNI or simply take a Friday afternoon and read and think. Network, network and network.
  5. Develop reward and recognition programs. Make them part of the culture.
  6. Never think we know it all. There is so much more to learn and the more we learn the more successful we’ll become.
  7. If we don’t apply what we learn, learning won’t matter.
  8. Never get comfortable. If we think we’ve made it we’re already on the way down.
  9. Stay passionate about helping others, and by others I mean our staff and our members.
  10. Get outside of the industry to learn. Other industries have done remarkable things that will inspire and motivate all of us to become better.
Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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