“There’s no such thing as free lunch” – Milton Friedman. Most of us may have heard this quote. I too came across this proverb throughout my years in my post-graduation years. However what has it got to do with one’s personal fitness or fitness management? Ok
· We all visit the doctor for some illness, sickness, pathologies sometime or the other in our life. Once the doctor is done with checkup or he/ she quotes their fees. Do we ask them “Doctor discount kitna hai bolo? same price mein next visit free haan” (Doctor how much is the discount please specify or else please consider my next visit free)
· We go to hair-dressers or hair stylists ranging from a very simple local to a premium stylist salon. Once done and when the stylist quote their fees do we ask them “Acha haircut hogaya abhi head massage free or discount bolo” (Haircut is done, give a free head massage and tell me the discount on your price)
· We give our bikes and cars for service and repairs. On receiving the invoice for service or repairs we don’t say “Mereko itna paisa nahi par vadta” (I can’t afford that much money)
Be it any service we take from any professional person or organisation. If it’s good we don’t ask how much discount you can offer or what other thing or service is free.
But then why with fitness or nutrition charges? Why with your personal trainer or nutritionist? Why??? Aren’t they giving you the best service? Infact one should understand if money rightly invested in good gym, good trainer and good nutritionist; it can help you improve your lifestyle and reduce the chances of getting lifestyle related diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension, Coronary Artery Diseases, Osteo related diseases etc. Benefits on one’s health and fitness can just go on. So then the same question why???
I tried analyzing this issue in the Indian Fitness industry. However I don’t see it as small issue but I see it as big problem for the industry and its stakeholders on long term. I see 3 stakeholders to this problem. Let’s elaborate with suggested corrections;
1. Fitness Club Management:
Ok. I am sure many gym owners/ directors/ managers may turn back and say, not to teach them how to do business or who the f*#k am I?
Rightly! I am no expert but certain things need to be highlighted and require corrections as per my analysis.
a) If you are CONFIDENT ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE FACILITY AND SERVICES the club is providing then why offer discount. FIX ONE RATE AND STICK TO IT. Don’t change it with some ridiculous discount schemes “Valentines day offer! Sir we will club with your friend”, special one day offers, “Only for you and Only today”. Please understand, the customer/clients are not fools. You can tempt them once with offers, twice but eventually in long run they will figure the worth of the services. Imagine hospitals, hotels and salons doing that? Stupid and funny right! Initially business may suffer but once your services and facility is valued well and that brand building is done rightly, business will be good.
b) Your HUMAN CAPITAL. In today’s business what separates one successful business to another, is its human capital (Employees) working for it. Firstly request to PAY THEM ON TIME. Secondly RECRUIT GOOD QUALITY PROFESSIONALS AND PAY THEM WELL. I know of two different, very renowed gym chains whose name I won’t disclose. Where, the Valet driver is being paid more salary than their Floor Trainers. Come on, this is ridiculous if someone understands business will know, people who run the business should be paid and rewarded more than support functions or departments of the business. A valet driver being paid more than your floor trainer. A person who gives 8 hours a day and handles huge amount of your customers in hypocrisy of floor training. Do check with your gyms. We all know what a displeased employee handling large number clients will do the extend of harm to business. If you feel the professional doesn’t deserve to be paid that much might as well get more competent people on board. There are thousands there in the market. You invest in good equipment to get good sustainable returns, similarly invest in good professionals and they will give your awesome business. That’s why we call them Human Capital. This will do good to your business and improve the quality and standards of your gym and professionals working for it.
2. Fitness Professionals
We love calling ourselves ‘FITNESS PROFESSIONALS’.
· Are we actually professional?
· Are we punctual and discipline?
· Is our own grooming and body worth our job?
· How well and effective do you service your clients?
· Are your certifications yet valid or revalidated timely?
· How much do you read daily regarding fitness, nutrition, life sciences, fitness management, etc. beyond just simply being updated with our certifications every few years?
Ask these questions to yourself and I am sure you will find the answer too. Now what will make you successful is how you act on the answers you get. Trust me if acted rightfully no will ever dare have the balls to ask you discount or doubt your services.
3. Customer (Clients)
I mentioned in my earlier article on Purpose on training about the importance of being clear of your goal and having clarity and reality on your expectations. Don’t be fooled by sham professionals. We love googling things. Cross check with trusted professionals and right forums to learn more about fitness. Speak to your trainers and nutritionists, be inquisitive. You are paying for their services ask them questions. Ask why? How? Don’t argue with them on facts they insist. If in doubt still, then take a second opinion how we do with a doctor or lawyer, similarly just ask that question to other trainer or sign up his/her services. You would eventually know about the quality of the services you are been given and there will be TRUST FACTOR CREATED FOR THE PROFESSIONAL AND THE PROFESSION. I gave some ridiculous scenarios in the start. Ask these questions to yourself then why do you ask for discount on trusted professional services which doing good to you and your health and fitness or I can simply say improving your life. There is no such thing as free lunch and we have to pay back in some manner. Similarly discounting on Fitness may make you payback with basically not achieving your purpose and may be worsening it. We wouldn’t like someone negotiating with our salary or business revenues. Empathise! Think about it.
Concluding, I just want to give a disclaimer above are my views and analysis. Request anyone from the above 3 stakeholders to take it in the right spirit for betterment of yourself, the industry and society.