All posts by johnmac

Where can I find Instructors for my new studio?

No Instructors under here...
No Indoor Cycling Instructors under here…

There was a time when I thought the hardest part of opening a new cycling studio was finding the right space. Now I understand that after finding the perfect location, recruiting and retaining quality Indoor Cycling Instructors is your next major challenge.

Thankfully there’s a solution on the horizon available NOW- a new jobs board just for Indoor Cycling Jobs… named aptly enough as indoor cycling instructor jobs.com!

Indoor Cycling Instructor Jobs

If you are considering becoming an Instructor – this podcast should be helpful…

ICI Podcast 76 Is 2010 the year you start your career as an Indoor Cycling Instructor?

 

Great SEO link for your studio’s website

Map of indoor cycling studios around the world
Click to add your website and other information to our global listing of Indoor Cycling Studios.

Looking to improve the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of your studio’s website?

Silly question; of course you want to improve how easy it is for potential clients to find your website and then hopefully become a long-term customer.

Our global list of Indoor Cycling Studios at Pedal-On.com is a great place to create an authoritative link back to your site, which can help your site’s SEO – especially if your studio and domain URL is new.

Search engines like Google look at multiple factors before delivering a result to any search. Beyond on good page content and meta description, links back to your website are like votes telling Google your site is a good choice to display.

But just as there are people you trust more than others for recommendations, some websites have more authority (trust) than others.

So please take a few minutes to add your studio listings at Pedal-On.com.

Do you have a Zealot on your Instructor team?

zealot-300x256

I had a very disturbing phone call yesterday. It came from an Instructor who I would describe as an Indoor Cycling Zealot. The conversation left me feeling very sorry for whoever had to manage this person and the poor people who have to suffer through his classes.

Do you have any Instructors on your team that sound like this guy? 

It became obvious that I was talking to a very passionate person just moments into the call. I asked; “what can I help you with?” (this call was preceded by an email asking questions about his ICI/PRO subscription) and he launched into a disconnected rant, rambling on about other instructors that he teaches with including contraindicated movements, broken seat posts, connective tissue damage and a bunch of related stuff I missed because he was talking so loudly that I needed to hold the phone away from my ear.   After what seemed like a full ten minutes, he finally asked me*; “so what are you going to do about this?

“Do about what, exactly?” was my response.

“Stop all of these Group Fitness Instructors from teaching like they are… they’re hurting people!” You are an influential voice of Indoor Cycling – you need to put a stop to these contraindicated classes!”

30 years of sales experience has prepared me for situations like this: listen respectfully and then begin asking probing questions. I started with; “have you ever been to a SoulCycle class?”

“No… but I’ve seen a video that showed me enough to know that the riders will be injured”… and then he launched into another long rant about how he tells his participants how dangerous these other classes are and that they should only attend his class because he alone is concerned for their safety.

When he came up for air I explained that I had been to two SoulCycle classes and many others that were similar. I didn’t see anything alarming/dangerous or find reason to feel they need to be stopped – by me or anyone else.

“I’m researching an article I plan to write that will expose these Instructors for who they are and the dangerous movements they teach.”

I explained how his perception of these classes may not be accurate and I don’t believe telling or lecturing riders will be productive. Actually, IMO the effort will probably end up as counterproductive to what he intended.

“How could educating people ever be counterproductive? These people need to know the truth!

So I asked; are you a father… have you raised kids? He had told me early that he was over 50 years old.

He responded that no he hadn’t. But if he had kids, he would want to protect them from these types of classes.

The reason I asked about being a parent was this – parents quickly learn that telling some children; “don’t touch that… it’s hot!” will result in the child feeling compelled to reach up and touch it. They need to learn for themselves that the stove gets hot and they’ll burn their finger if they touch it.

Telling your class that some other Instructor’s, or studio’s, classes are dangerous could have the exact same effect – cause them to be curious about and then want to try those other classes. But unlike the hot stove, these people will take one of those “dangerous classes” filled with “contraindicated movements” and nothing bad will happen to them. There’s a good chance they’ll actually enjoy those classes due to the additional movement and fun they offer – and you may lose them forever as a customer.

I offered him my advice, that he just teach his own class and ignore everything else – which he didn’t like. “So I can quote you saying that you’re for classes with contraindicated movements?”

I replied that that wasn’t what I said – I said his perception of those classes may not be accurate and suggested that he take the time and go take one of those classes before writing any article and re-think the value of lecturing his classes.

“Perception is reality” was his smug response. And then in his best Donald Trump voice he said “I’ve got a class to teach… so you’re fired!” and he hung up on me.

If you’ve had anyone like this on your Instructor team – how did you deal with them?

I know it’s tough to find a replacement Instructor – that’s why we created indoorcyclinginstructorjobs.com – to make finding your next Rock Star Instructor easy.

*I didn’t record the actual conversation, so this might not be verbatim, but close enough to hopefully get my point across.  

 

September Studio Owner Webinar

ICIPRO_Webinar

ICI/PRO is sponsoring a series of informational webinars, featuring industry experts from the leading companies in our industry. These live events will be invaluable for Studio Owners, managers and anyone planning a Indoor Cycling Studio.

Our first is entitled: Clients, new and old: How to keep them all engaged  is scheduled for September 16th at 3:00 Pacific / 6:00 Eastern.

Clients, new and old: How to keep them all engaged

When it comes to attracting new clients, effective marketing is often the difference between surviving and thriving. Join us to learn how to develop a marketing plan that will bring new clients in all year long—and turn them into dedicated clients, too.
We’ll cover:

  • Strategies for every stage of client interaction, from the first visit to the first year and beyond
  • The numbers that matter when it comes to increasing your client base
  • Loyalty programs: how to create your own, and what to encourage your clients to do

 

Pre-registration is required and you can register here and we’ll send you reminders so you don’t miss the event.

We’ll be recording this webinar and it will be available exclusively to everyone who’s registered – so please register even if you can’t make the live webinar.

 

Presented by Michael Goldsmith, Senior Regional Sales Manager at MINDBODY Onlinemichael-goldsmith

Michael Goldsmith is one of two MINDBODY Senior Regional Sales Managers, leading a team of over 40. As a”recovering” attorney with thirty years of business experience, Michael relishes coming to work every day to help MINDBODY’s fitness clients run their businesses more smoothly.

Bringing consistency to your Indoor Cycle saddle positions

Indoor Cycling Bike Maintenance Tip

I loved Barbara Hoots’ suggestion that successful businesses are continually offering New or Improved products/services and are always Improving! These changes don’t have to be huge – something as simple as ensuring that the fit of each Indoor Cycle in your studio is the same could be an improvement. Here’s why…

What’s my number?

When you fit new riders to your Indoor Cycles you tell them their numbers; Seat is hole 6, seat slider is X, handle bar height is Y, etc… You may write them down on a note card and riders depend on these setting marks/numbers being accurate, regardless of which bike they ride.

This past Thursday morning I set up my Instructor bike, jumped on and knew immediately that something was wrong. I felt like I was sitting way forward of my normal position. Jumped off and checked the slider position – It was exactly where I always have it. Jumped back on and still felt like I sitting too far forward… and just lived with it while I taught my class.

I checked afterward to see what was causing my concern and it was as I suspected – someone must have switched out this bike and this saddle was installed in a different position, all the way to the front of the seat post = although I had adjusted the slider correctly the saddle was still to far forward.

You’ll need a wrench to fix this.

Saddle Fore and Aft position can be change in two ways. How you’re familiar, using the adjuster knob or pin and sliding position – or – by loosening the nut that holds the two seat rails to the slider assembly. Each saddle should have been installed in the same position – operative word here being should, they almost never are.

Here’s a video I made showing Spinner NXT’s and how you can check that each saddle is installed correctly. NOTE: every Indoor Cycle and bicycle saddle adjusts on the rails the same way – how you measure the position, in relation to the slider, will be different between the various brands.

 

While you’re at it, I suggest checking that each seat is level. Dead level is typically best for men and women. You’re measuring from the high-points (not the center depression) on either side, to the nose of the saddle.

550 version of saddle tool

 

 

What are the best marketing tools for a new studio?

He's a marketing tool!
He’s a marketing tool!

Question sent in from a future Spinning® studio owner.

Hi John,

I was wondering in all your travels have you heard of an indoor cycling studio that has done research on what are the best marketing tools for a new studio? There are so many. I think my marketing list contains around 45 different ways to market a business. It would be cool and cost effective to know which marketing tool brings awareness to a fitness business as this. If I had an answer to that I would obviously strategize to put more capitol towards the tool that brings the business. We have different ideas on how to market initially using promotions/discounts/etc. We don’t plan to open our studio until late summer and we just found out that another studio is going in the next town to us approximately 3.5 away.
Any input would be appreciated.
Thank you – Nancy

Nancy provided me some additional detail, explaining that she’s waiting on some local permitting approvals. Once they’re cleared she’s purchasing a room full of Spinner® Blade Ions. She’s installing Performance IQLiveEdit is building her website which will integrate with MindBody, provide the online bike reservation system and deliver all of the performance metrics to each rider.

I passed Nancy’s question on to our resident marketing expert, Courtney Lee for here thoughts. Here’s her response:

While I haven’t heard of any research on what is best these are some of my initial thoughts and things I would do if I were opening my studio. Social media is great but should be a complimentary tool to more brick and mortar approaches at first and then you can switch over to social media more when you’re following is in place and actively engaging.

  • Try not to discount the actual price as that can discredit the value – instead word it such as “Bring a Friend and You RIDE FREE – a $30 value” or something like that. “Buy 10 Rides & We’ll add a bonus Thank You Ride for FREE (a $30/value)”
  • Social media is excellent, HOWEVER, we can not count on Facebook to deliver our message to everyone without paying to play essentially. Think direct – is there a local bike shop, coffee shop etc where the target market hangs out? Get in there and connect, offering a SELECT few a VIP Ticket (again – stating the value on it) to the first ride. You’re creating exclusivity by offering VIP tickets and making it feel like a big event (which of course it is!).
  • Highlight your “difference maker” from the competition. Do you have extra showers? A super easy booking system? Member perks at local businesses (where you swap discounts for say the employees of the coffee shop and they do the same for you etc).
  • Depending on the geographic area a direct mail post card may reach the most households for the most cost effective price. List your highlights here and also say something like only 40 VIP seats for the first ride event – CALL TODAY! Then talk about the VIP event and all the things you’ll have. Spend some budget and have these professionally designed – it’s your image, the first impression! Typically around $50-$120 for design depending on hours spent in proofing.
  • Create a big open house style event where you find the locals who are well connected in the community. Host a special pre-opening screening for these people and make it amazing. Let word of mouth do the best advertising for you. Create a swag bag for attendees where they could receive 5 complimentary guest passes – have their names on them so you can track the success.
  • If you don’t already have them – invest in some large window signs and/or decals saying you’re coming. Create the hype – be different – get noticed. I would also add that the signs include We’re Hiring Instructors! John
  • Create strategic relationships with other small business in the area. Have them promote you and talk you up to their clients. Once you open you can return the favor.
  • Remember, go direct to the source. If you’re target audience is moms, find a local moms group – sponsor one of their events, offer to give a presentation on fitness for moms. Then mention the daycare room that your facility has – and that it’s FREE – your 930am, classes will be packed 😉
  • If you’ve got an awesome logo have some inexpensive car window decals made and hand them out to your friends, potential clients. Any promotion of your logo is a good thing at this point!

If I had to pick two things I would go with the direct mail post card and the partnerships with other surrounding business.

Hope that helps – I may get a few more as the coffee kicks in 😉

I would add that the key to any form of marketing is consistency – there’s a reason you instantly recognise the Geico Gecko – you’ve seen multiple Gieco Insurance commercials featuring his humorous exploits. So I would consider who my target market will be (think focusing on small niches) as Courtney suggests, pick a few tools and them stick with them.

What’s worked for you?

This article was first posted at www.indoorcycleinstructor.com/

InSync Cycle Studio Post-Mortem Interview

Charles (Spook) Hilgartner teaching his class at InSync Cycle
Charles (Spook) Hilgartner teaching his class at InSync Cycle

It began as the dream of many Instructors – starting your own fitness business. Charles (Spook) Hilgartner made his dream real by opening the first dedicated indoor cycling studio in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. It was very sad to hear that InSync Cycle Studio closed last month.

Spooks final note from their website…

On a personal note:
For the past three years, I have enjoyed the challenge of creating and operating InSync. I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting and greeting hundreds of riders and making some special friends.This, I will really miss.

But what happened in the studio, during class was really incredible. We have had the best instructors! Their teaching skills and unique styles, music and personalities created an amazing cycling environment that all of us have enjoyed. I thank them for that.

It’s the combination, of instructors and dedicated riders, that has made InSync Cycle Studio a pretty good place to ride.

Some of Spook’s Instructors created this very touching video as a good-by.


I’ve known Spook since before InSync and appreciated his agreement to be interviewed on the Podcast. Our intent is to help other existing (and potential) cycling studio owners. We discuss his thoughts and feelings about what he did right… and what he did wrong.

Two main points surfaced during our conversation:

  1. Spook’s experiences reinforced the absolute importance of having quality Instructors + a bench of available substitutes.
  2. He feels he would have benefited by having a partner with complimentary skills to his.

I wasn’t previously aware of this regulatory issue > Depending on your studio’s pricing model, your state or city may require you to secure bonding to protect customers who purchase ride cards with future expiration dates. Spook explains this need for bonding during the interview.

 

 

Looking for a used studio sound system? You can contact Spook  444-722-5433 or Spook@indoorcycleinstructor.com

Will you be at WSSC in Miami this week?

Performance iq spin power display system

If you are planning to attend WSSC I’d love to meet you. I will be at the conference all three days.

My main focus will be the Spin Power sessions and there’s a lot of them on the schedule! Especially those that are including a specially designed Performance IQ display system, customized for the Spin Power Program.

Team Time Trial with Performance IQ Presented by Angie Sturtevant In team time trials, riders take turns either at the front or ‘sitting in’ behind, conserving enough team energy for an all-out pull toward the finish. In this workout you will compete as part of a team, as accumulated power output is displayed on the big screen using Performance IQ. This gives all teams the energy to chase and spectators something to cheer about!

Spinpower™: Personal Spinning® Threshold Presented by Martin Timmerman The Personal Spinning Threshold (PST) is the key to Spinpower success—once PST is determined, you have a baseline threshold marker that can be used to create a unique training program and track student progress. This workshop will teach you the protocol of the Personal Spinning Threshold test and how to administer this test to your students. You will establish your own Spinpower Zones and then experience a ride which will criss-cross these zones. WS NEW

Spinpower™ Race Day Winners Presented by Dino Pedras All athletes know that we must be efficient and well-organized to get the most out of our training, and a Race Day ride is how we see the results of that hard word. In this workshop, you will learn how to create a successful Race Day using Spinpower to help you determine what variables you should integrate into your training program and how to best periodize your time to reach your maximum potential and find the way to victory!

During the conference, Performance IQ will be demonstrating how their system can be connected to your studio’s MindBodyOnline account through a Live Edit integrated website – very cool stuff if you haven’t seen it.

 If you’ll be there – please text or call me 612-868-0064 so we can meet and I can say hello!

John

Should you ban competitors from your studio?

nightclub-bouncer

This was first published over at ICI/PRO

This morning I read how Soul Cycle has been banning fitness instructors (from competing studios) who try to attend their class.

SoulCycle bans fitness instructors from its classes

About 10 days after hitting a SoulCycle class on a recent day off, Barry’s Bootcamp owner Joey Gonzalez got a phone call. It was a lawyer for the mega-popular cycling brand issuing a message: don’t come back.

“He essentially said we have a policy at SoulCycle where instructors at other group fitness studios are not allowed to take class,” Gonzalez says. “He seemed half embarrassed.” We reached out to SoulCycle’s public relations team for comment on the policy but did not hear back.

Gonzalez took to Facebook with the news, and his post went viral. (At time of this writing, it had 158 comments and 14 shares.) Other popular fitness instructors, like Natalie Uhling, Darryl Gaines, and Lindsey Clayton weighed in to say the same thing had happened to them. Flywheel instructors jumped in to invite trainers from other studios to come take their classes (“#team”), and tons of people weighed in to rail against the lack of “soul” the policy stood for.

Then I dug in to this story a bit more. The article references this post from rateyourburn.com addressing the same issue. They begin with listing a few reasons why it maybe OK to limit the access of Instructors from competing fitness clubs. I see it as incomplete… in fact, I feel they are missing the real concerns of Soul Cycle completely.

IS IT OKAY FOR FITNESS STUDIOS TO BAN INSTRUCTORS WHO WORK FOR THE COMPETITION?

Why do studios ban instructors employed by competitors?

  • Trade secrets. We suppose the primary reason studios do this is to prevent competitors from coming in and spying on their ways of business, copying them or stealing their methods.

  • Exclusivity. Perhaps some studios want to create a country club bubble, where only approved members are allowed within their establishment.

  • To ward off studio-bombing. On rare occasions, people do show up just to cause trouble. In our opinion, bad behavior is the only justifiable reason to ban a paying client.

Limiting access to your “Tribe”

Paul Harmeling from Full Psycle Studio really opened my eyes about what makes Soul Cycle so successful – how good they are at cultivating a “team” or “tribe” of passionate people who are united by their participation in class. This sense of community isn’t just between the customers and Soul Cycle or the Instructor. There are a lot of relationships, both personal and professional, being made between the riders.

You’ve probably seen this at your club. It’s no secret that common interests and activities build trust between people. That trust can lead to relationships that extend beyond the club. Over the years my family and I have chosen to do business with people we’ve gotten to know at our club;

  • Claudia is Amy and my financial planner – she’s also been a longtime regular in our classes.
  • Amy first met Craig at the club. He later hired her and we’ve been friends of Craig and his wife Julie for 15 years.
  • Morry (another regular) arranged for daughter Abby’s interview, which resulted in her current job.
  • Richard is an Instructor at our club. He’s also a C level employee at a company where younger daughter Carly would like to have a summer internship…

I can easily understand why Soul Cycle (or your club for that mater) would want to limit access to their Tribe of passionate, fitness minded people who have the financial wherewithal to pay for premium classes.

Wouldn’t these same people be prospective customers for any fitness business – especially a competitor located near by? 

Soul Cycle’s “Tribe” is really their brand, the “special sauce” that makes them unique and profitable. Using attorneys to protect a brand from competitors isn’t really any different from how Mad Dogg Athletic will do the same thing to protect the Spinning® brand from improper use.

I don’t know anymore than what’s been written, but I would venture this guess; Soul Cycle was concerned that Mr. Gonzalez was recruiting customers for his boot camp business. Neither of the articles, nor the Facebook post, explains how Soul Cycle’s attorney would know Gonzalez was an Instructor… unless someone (maybe a class participant?) informed management.

Does that make sense?