How to Build a Successful Barbell Club

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How to Build a Successful Barbell Club

I never thought that I would see an era where barbell clubs would be popping up all over the United States. I guess that we can thank CrossFit and Social Media for that. I have to say that I am very thankful. I spent the first forty years of my life in an industry that the rest of the world could have cared less about. I have been told countless time to quit messing with those weights and to get a real job. I am glad that I didn’t listen to any of those folks. I get it! There are easier routes to take in life. I have never been into easy. I am going to follow my passion, and I am going to figure out how to make it work.

Someone wrote in to asking for some advice on forming a successful barbell club, and I was definitely going to answer that one. I want these clubs opening up, and more importantly I want them to be successful. There is no reason that someone in our profession needs to be poor. It’s tough to provide for your athletes if you can’t provide for yourself.

First thing that you need to realize is that we provide a valuable service. We teach people how to be strong, add muscle, and move their bodies. We teach them about setting goals, working hard, and perseverance. We teach them how to compete. We teach them how to lose with dignity, but a desire to get better. In a lot of cases we teach people how to win.

The things that we teach them will make them better people. They will learn lessons that will follow them throughout their entire lives. I have coached people that are starting right now in the NFL, Tommy Bohanon. I have also coached people that are running million dollar businesses right now like Adee Zukier. We have the chance to impact people in ways that no one else will ever have.

I tell you all of these things because you have to understand your value. You are only worth what you believe that you are worth. If you have taken an interest in your own education and abilities, then you are worth a lot. I have spent my whole life under a bar and coaching some of the best athletes in the world. I know what I am worth.

Second I recommend forming a relationship with an established gym or box in the town that you want to open your gym especially if you aren’t well known in the area. I moved to Advance, NC in 2008. If you’ve never heard of Advance, don’t feel bad because not many people have. I started out my career in the back of Gym 365. I also partnered with Gray Chiropractic helping their clients out with rehab and helping the practice out with marketing. I worked a lot, but I had formed two strategic alliances that were both helping me grow my own business in a fast way.

If you can start your barbell club in an established gym or box, you have built in traffic. Some of them will want to learn about weightlifting and powerlifting. Some might want strength and conditioning, and some might want personal training. Gym 365 only made me pay $400 per month, which was an amazing deal. I should have stayed with them now that I think about it. Dr. Gray was feeding me athletes to rehab, which were becoming full-time athletes after I got them back on their feet. I was also able to get some personal training clients from Dr. Gray, which helped me out financially in the early days. Working with Dr. Gray also helped me with credibility in the eyes of coaches and parents.

You could easily talk to all the CrossFits in the area about doing one day per week barbell classes for their athletes looking to get better at the barbell movements. You will be surprised at how many decide they want to simply switch to barbell only. The key is simply forming those relationships at first.

Then you will want to become a source of knowledge for the local people in the area. I recommend starting a blog or vlog that’s educational in nature. You can teach people the benefits of the barbell. You can teach them the importance of proper movement. The key here is consistency. Early one you should easily be able to put out content three times per week at a minimum. Facebook makes it easy to connect with people in your area. You can start a business page, and then post your blogs or vlogs on your page. You can pay to have them boosted, and you can target local people that are interested in fitness and strength on that boost.

I definitely recommend Instagram and Facebook to connect with your local people. You can run contests offering a chance to win a free workout or assessment in exchange for tagging 3 local friends and reposting the contest. You can grow a local audience real quickly like this not to mention looking up local hashtags and following those people.

The thing that I did that won me the most clients was hosting a free seminar every single month. I became the strength and conditioning expert in my area in a very quick way. I put on seminars with topics that would attract the clients that I was after like:

• Increasing vertical leap
• Benefits of the barbell to field sports
• Relationship between Hypertrophy and Longevity of Life

These seminars opened the doors for me to reach out to coaches, parents, and travel teams that I knew would benefit from my seminar and even more from my services. Once again the key was consistency. The relationships also helped to get people to my seminars. Dr. Gray would encourage any of his patients to go that might be interested in my services. After a few months, I developed a massive database that I would hit up every month about a new seminar. The repetition seems to really encourage people to at least check you out. You should finish each seminar with a call to action like: join today and receive $50 off or join today and receive a free month. No matter what, you will want to get every attendee’s email for future mailings and offers.

I have one more idea that I haven’t tried. First start a local Facebook Group like “New Yorkers that Love Strength” or “Charlotte Barbell Lovers”, and then invite anyone in the area that might be interested. You can advertise you group on your other social media sites. The key is to create engagement with strategic content and questions. Once you have a little following, you can do Facebook Live. Now you are basically hosting seminars online.

Anyways these are some ideas that I hope will help all of you. Of course none of this will work without systems in place. You will need good software to track billing and prospects. You will need something like of mailing campaigns. Most importantly you will need a plan, consistency, and a good work ethic. I hope this helps, and I hope that you all crush it.

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