How to Avoid Failed Projects as a Gym Owner

2 min read
Jan 23, 2024

With the explosion of social media in the last decade, there has been a similar explosion in industry experts who have been given the world's greatest microphone to peddle their wares. Despite my pessimistic tone, there have been a ton of good things to come out of the social media age, especially for business owners. There are communities to bounce ideas off of, easily accessible content to improve your business savvy, and cute cat videos to break up the monotony.

The one downside of this infinite information source is that it can lead to what I like to call “Secret Squirrel Syndrome.” I didn’t invent this term, a strength coach friend of mine introduced me to it, and I will quickly define it for us. Secret Squirrel Syndrome is a disorder in which the affected will develop short, intense fixations on ideas leading to incomplete projects and lack of progress. Typical symptoms are lists of in-progress projects, a generally frazzled state of being, and minimal forward progress.

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As a fellow ADD, ex-business owner, I get it! The thrill of starting something new that you see on Instagram that is advertised to add 20% to your bottom line in 90 days is intoxicating. My advice would be to slow down and ask yourself these 5 questions to make sure you aren’t succumbing to Secret Squirrel Syndrome:

Question #1: Is this person/source trustworthy?

Have they had proven results using their strategy in a similar industry as your business? It’s hard to vet your sources nowadays, so I would take a minute to make sure that your source is someone who is speaking from a place of authority.

Question #2: Is your facility at the appropriate stage of business maturity?

If you’re building out Facebook ads and agonizing over your keywords and zip codes before you even eclipse 20%+ profit margin, you might be barking up the wrong tree. Wring every last bit of juice out of the cheap and easy solutions to your problems before you embark on more expensive and labor-intensive strategies.

Question #3: Does your market/niche desire this?

If you’re adding that new trendy class that caters to 40-year-old moms who want to workout after they drop their kids off but your gym is located in a large downtown metro area without a school in it, take a breath and evaluate if your market really wants this.

Question #4: Are you giving what you’re currently doing proper time and attention?

Are you giving up on a project that you started three weeks ago because this new idea seems more fun? Each project or idea needs a proper amount of time and attention in order for it to gain traction.

Question #5: How will you measure success for this project?

If you can’t come up with a way to measure success objectively for this project, it may not be worth your time. Compare it to how you were doing things and make sure that there is a return on your investment, whether it be financial or just your time.

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