5 minute read
If planned and deployed correctly, The Founders Club concept can be a powerful tool to kick start your membership and community, begin the referral process of new clients, and get you cash flow positive before paying a penny of rent.
So you’ve done your homework, done all your financial modeling, secured your spot, and got your social media flowing. If you followed our advice, you likely also negotiated 1 – 3 months of free rent into your lease for buildout and setup of your gym or studio.
How do you use your free rent time best to maximize your chances for success?
The Founders Club Sales Plan
The sales plan is broken down in a couple of phases. The first phase is meant to help build your audience and garner excitement for your gym before you start selling. The second phase is an active promotion and sales phase. The last phase is the post-sales phase.
1. While Negotiating Your Lease
Have you ever seen a new restaurant open, and for months while it was in the process of opening everyone you knew exclaimed “I cannot wait for that place to open”? That’s what you need to make happen for your studio while you are preparing to open. This process starts before you even sign the lease.
- Design Your Founder’s Club Perks. Use the one above as a template, and write down the key components of your Founders Club, so you can paint a clear picture of the offer. If you’re going to do things like t-shirts, get them designed now so you can promote them during the sales phase.
- Plan Your Sales Process. Once you turn on sales, you will need a clearly defined path to sell these memberships. Account for online sales via a landing page and in person / over the phone sales. Make sure you know how to handle both scenarios before they present themselves.
- Open and Be Active on Social Media Accounts. Make sure to open up all your social media accounts. Post at least one item per day on each account you open, making sure to differ the content (don’t simply just post one post to both of them).
- Work Hard to Build Buzz. Keep your social media accounts filled with updates and progress. Post things that will make people excited to be a part of your business, such as previous success stories you had with clients and updates on the process of opening the gym.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Be Extroverted. Invite all your friends and people you feel would potentially be clients to follow your social media accounts “for more information on this exciting step in my life, and limited Founders Club specials for my friends only!”.
2. Once Lease Is Signed
Once the lease is signed, allocate 25% of your time to pre-selling your Founders Club memberships. If you can do this while you are in your free rent period, you can actually use the cash flow to offset expenses.
- Continue Your Social Media Blitz. Post status updates and progress every day. Include photos and videos of the gym progress. Keep the energy high and make people excited about your gym!
- Open Up and Promote Sales of your Founders Club. Create and open up your landing page (PushPress clients, this is done for you automatically) and begin to promote it daily along with your social media posts. If you have the budget, you can also participate in a low-budget highly targeted Facebook ad campaign. Make sure the landing page is linked prominently from your website (ideally in the header)
- Keep Your Audience Updated! People will not sign up immediately, they’ll always kick the can down the road as long as you can. FOMO is your friend here, let people know as quantity available drops. One thing we found is that the last 10 spots (give or take) will sell in a matter of minutes, while it might take 2 weeks to sell the first 40.
3. Once You Are Done Selling
- Have a Founders Party/Workout. Use this as a low-cost thank you for their support. If budget can accommodate, find a low cost food option and make it a party. If budget does not exist for that, you can make it a potluck! You also should use this get together to help serve your upcoming grand opening in many ways:
- Form the basis of your community. Get these Founders together and help them establish bonds of friendship together.
- Give them your mission statement. Make sure to set the tone of your gym by letting them know why you’re doing what you’re doing . This will give them the sense of a talking point to discuss with others as they go outside of the gym.
- Ask for referrals! Each Founder can be your initial advocates. Get them thinking about helping you fulfill your mission statement.
- Fulfill your perks. Use this get together to fulfill your perks offered. For instance, if you offered t-shirts, try to have them ready for this workout, so they can start wearing them proudly around town. If you offered photo recognition, use this as a time to take nice photos of them (before the workout ideally).
- Make a Formal Blog Post Announcing The Founders. Thank each of your early supporters in a blog post. Use this post to also announce your mission statement, your history, details of your grand opening, and membership plans.
- Work to fulfill all “perks”. If any perks are still outstanding, make sure you work on fulfilling them before the Grand Opening.
- The Grand Opening. Use this as an opportunity to tell people about you and your philosophy! Start building relationships and get people signing up for one-on-one fundamentals. This is also a great opportunity to acknowledge your founders and thank them for their support!
Discounts – Why We Discourage Them
Discounts at startup only show you’re not confident in your expertise; you’ll attract the wrong type of clients and work harder for the same money.
Chris Cooper, Two-Brain Business
The immediate reaction to pre-selling something is to offer a discount. We urge you to value your time and services and not do this.
The perks you offer combined with the exclusivity of the club and the “feel good” of supporting someone on a mission to help others should be enough to convince people to join your founding memberships.
NEVER Offer a Permanent Discount
If you feel like you’re not in the position to pre-sell memberships without a discount, only do so with a short-term discount that expires. I’ve yet to encounter a situation where a permanent discount makes sense long term. If you offer a “forever discount” to these members, you will “forever limit” your cash flow and revenue potential.
In the short term, you’re not concerned with cash flow in month 24 – but you will be soon. And when you’re handcuffed by 50 members paying half of your potential membership cost, it will hurt your business badly.