My wife Chelsea and I had $250 000 of debt on the line. We had opened up our first fitness club only to hear that the “goliath” of the fitness industry called Goodlife would be opening down the street. I was scared and confused for the both of us.
Goliath had more money, a bigger club with all the bells and whistles, their personal trainers were commissioned sales people (which meant they were hungry for clients).
How could we compete with that?
It wasn’t until a client and friend of mine Scott Goodfellow recommended I read The Dip by Seth Godin that my vision started to clear up. Instead of trying to fight Goodlife head on, I would instead quit what we were doing (selling memberships) and pivot to focus on our biggest strength – personal training.
We stopped selling memberships immediately and decided to only sell personal training. Which at that time we didn’t know anyone that had ever done that. There were no personal training studios. Our best personal trainers would not be involved in selling sessions but rather work on becoming the best personal trainers they can be.
The first 8 months saw a big dip in the bank account but we kept our heads up hoping that if we kept providing clients with superior service they would fight for us. And they did. Once we got out of the dip, we had created a new position in the market place allowing us to thrive and open many more locations.
Charles Darwin wrote:
“It’s not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
The same rule applies to entrepreneurs. Over the years I’ve realized that the most important characteristic of an entrepreneur is the ability to adapt to change.