Yesterday, I posted a video response on IG challenging the idea that offering prepaid memberships was overrated.
Now I’m normally not the type of person to get my knickers in a knot about an opinion I disagree with, but this one bugged me a bit.
I wasn’t bugged by the guy saying it — he’s a nice guy and generally, he puts out great stuff…
It was the message that didn’t sit well with me.
And only because I know what most gym owners are going through… and it’s certainly not worrying about where to stash all their cash now that underneath the mattress is full.
In fact, it’s far more likely that you don’t have enough cash to pay for 3 months of rent or wages (more like a couple of weeks if you’re lucky)… you may have had to defer a tax obligation (been there in 2017), and you may only be solvent because you’re paying yourself pennies on the dollar.
When gym owners come to me with this symptom of low cash flow, one of the first things I do is to restructure an offer that gives them a big cash injection upfront to get their heads above water. It’s like an oxygen tank to someone who’s hypoxic — while the tank will run out eventually, it’s better than them running out of air (capital). Like this:
That screengrab is from ages ago, but it was a game-changer for Ryan and got him out of a rut. Fast forward 8 months later and he’s thinking with opportunity, not with scarcity.
My response video got a lot of DMs from gym-owners/coaches who wanted advice, but didn’t want to air their money problems online… which is completely reasonable.
So instead of just having the conversation with a few individuals, I’ve quickly come up with 10 strategies for injecting large chunks of capital into your business so you can get out of a cashflow rut and get off your hands and knees.
Let’s dive in:
1. Consider decoupling your normal weekly membership subscription into two parts: a front-end, and a back-end. The front end is simply the first ‘phase’ or first ‘step’ in your typical process. In our case, that’s $497 for our 2-hour performance testing experience. I’ve seen it as low as $197 and as high as $2000. The higher, the better, of course. You can see how it gives a nice little boost (excuse the super high-tech tracking solution).
2. Incentivise a longer commitment in exchange for a discount when prepaid. If your normal commitment is three months, double it (to six months), then provide a 10-15% discount when it’s prepaid. That’s what I did with Ryan above and 30k+ was the result that landed in his bank account.
3. Theme your pre-paid discounts by the time of year; in our case, selling a one-payment “off-season” plan injects cash leading into Chrissy where we know inputs are going to slow down. This could be applied to any significant time of year though; so whatever makes most sense for your market.
4. Create a survey asking people what they need to be solved with their health and fitness, then solve it for them in a live training/course and get them to pay you in advance for it.
5. Email/text everyone who enquired and never signed up in the last 12 months the following:
Are you still looking for <insert training offer> (eg: to join a gym)?
For those that reply, work through their unique circumstances and ultimately offer them a 6-8 week, prepaid trial to make sure it’s a good fit (then overdeliver the shit out of it cowboy/girl!)
6. Text this same above group of people a highly valuable piece of content you think they should see/use, then offer to help with anything they need.
7. Ask for referrals (and consider incentivizing them), but enforce strong ethics so they are recommending people they actually feel would benefit. Then, sell them a time-sensitive “friends-family” pre-paid discount.
8. Announce a modest price increase and put a date on it; then offer to keep the same price for those who are happy to prepay for 6-12 months.
9. Partner with a payment processor like Zip or Humm (Australia-based). Package a product and offer that as an alternative to prepaying for the product. These companies will pay you the sum in totality, while debiting your member weekly (for a %, of course).
10. Sign up for every Facebook and community group in your local catchment, and post a valuable piece of content 3 days a week for 90 days. For every 5 value posts you make, offer them a way to get started that ranges between $300-$800.
Oh and two more things that are often overlooked, which are more on the expenses side but relate to recurring billing:
BONUS #1: If you’re billing monthly, change to fortnightly. This is a straight 8% boost in revenue (because there are two extra billing cycles).
BONUS #2: Stop paying billing fees. Almost every company on earth passes on CC fees, so people are used to it already. If you’re doing a lot of billing (in our case close to 400 athletes a week), that’s $440, or 22k, right there.
Hopefully one (or more) of those jump out to you with a couple of ideas attached.
Email me back if you need help with any of this; I’d be happy to help.
– Karl Goodman