Some of you may have heard of this thing that has been making its rounds across the internet over the pass few years and lately even into print media. It’s called Minimalism.
Minimalism is all about reducing what you have to the bare essentials. It’s often mistaken as simply throwing everything you own away and living out of a small back pack, but that’s incorrect.
Minimalism is about just having things that add value to your life and not holding on to or purchasing extra things that don’t.
For example: If a car adds value to your life because it allows you to get your family to important events, then that is fine. However, if it’s just you and your wife and you own a car each, both take the train to work but occasionally both need to drive somewhere on the weekends, maybe your cars aren’t adding as much value as you thought. Just expenses, maintenance and stress.
I first got introduced to the idea of minimalism around 3 years ago. My wife (then girlfriend) and I had been living together for only 6 months, yet somehow we had managed to fill every cupboard and space of our two bedroom unit. Also, we both had cars even though the PT studio we both worked at was only a 10 minute bike ride away or just a matter of getting the timing right to travel in one car.
We hadn’t gotten to this point intentionally, we had just ended up with a lot of stuff that stayed in boxes and we didn’t need. Over the following few months we sold one car and cleaned out the unit. Later when we moved house (into a smaller space), life was made easier by the fact we had already gotten rid of so much stuff.
Then when we decided to pack everything up and move overseas, again we were able to remove the unnecessary and just take a suitcase and backpack with us. We also didn’t have to pay for an expensive storage unit that would just allow things to collect dust while we lived abroad.
And now, as someone who has been living out of a suitcase for the past 3 months, I can tell you that following minimalism principles has been a lifesaver.
But minimalism isn’t just good for your personal life, you can apply it to your business to help reduce increase your confidence, reduce stress and spend less money.
Here are a few things minimalism can teach us about business.
1. Offer a minimal number of pricing options
Stop confusing people with ten different pricing options for your Bootcamp. You don’t need memberships, courses, drop ins AND packs. Actually, I will go out on a limb here and say that most of your campers are probably all on the same 2 or 3 plans/options anyway. Am I right?
Throughout the life of my bootcamp I only offered two pricing options:
- Twice a week or
- Three times a week.
It made life so much easier for me and the client because they only had to choose between two options. It was also less systems for me to keep track of as everyone renewed at the same time rather than some people being on PAYG and some being on 10 packs others still being on memberships. Less options = less confusion.
For those of you who don’t want any part of this minimalism hocus pocus, there is actually a famous study that backs this up. It’s called The Jam Study and was done by Professor Sheena Iyengar.
In the study, on two separate Saturdays, the organisers set up free samples for jams in a well known store. Once you tried the jam, you could of course buy a jar of it.
On one day they set up just 6 flavours of jam and on the other – thinking more is better – they set up 24 jars of jam. Sure enough on the day that 24 jams were out on display, more people stopped to have a taste.
But here is the kicker, on the day with less jam, 6 times more customers made a purchase.
Why? Because making a decision from lots of options is stressful and most of us get overwhelmed and choose to just opt out. To not buy anything.
With less choices though, we are more confident in our ability to way each choice and select the ‘right’ one.
So reduce the choices available for your bootcamp and watch how easy it is to close new clients. You can still keep a hidden cache of other choices if you like, just keep them in the drawer for clients who ask.
2. Only work with clients that add value to you
Like I said earlier, minimalism talks about only keeping things that add value to your life. In business, that includes your clients.
Don’t worry, if you aren’t into minimalism I have a good non-minimalist based example for you to follow again.
The famous (or infamous) book The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris talks about something called the 80/20 rule. It’s a funny ratio that appears again and again in the world. Sometimes it appears as 90/10 or even 95/5.
It was originally noted by Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto in the late 1800s and is now highly referenced in business and marketing circles. Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population.
We see this pattern in other aspects of life and business too. Once I show you some more examples you won’t be able to UNsee it.
- 80% of your time socialising is spent with the same 20% of your friends.
- 20% of the stuff in your home is what you use 80% of the time.
- 80% of the worlds wealth is held by just 20% of the population.
- 20% of your clients will cause 80% of your client induced headaches.
Are you starting to see the pattern?
The last example I included is the one we want to focus on today. If you had a bootcamp like mine, 80-90% of you clients paid on time, showed up to most of their sessions and always brought a good spirit with them. The other 10-20% paid late (or not at all), rarely showed up for bootcamp, complained that they weren’t seeing results, refused to do certain exercises for no reason other then they didn’t like them, distracted other clients during your sessions and just generally were a pain in the ass.
These people take up 80% of your time spent dealing with clients, yet they are only 20% of your revenue. So rather then wasting most of your time on that 20%, why not shift more time to your 80% that want to be there, that support you and refer you to their friends.
(Another example: I bet 10% of your clients bring in 90% of your referrals.)
Garry Robinson did a great video on this very topic that I recommend you check out. Attract More A-List Fitness Bootcamp Clients.
3. Buy equipment that is versatile
Take a minimalist approach to what equipment you use at your bootcamp.
Every gym, studio and trainers house that I have been to has a dark and dusty corner that is filled with random pieces of fitness equipment like the Tornado Medicine Ball, shake weights, vibration belts, cheap broken medicine balls, various roll out ab wheels and strange stick and band combinations.
This stuff was bought on a whim at a store or some fitness convention and after one week of use started collecting dust, unused.
When buying new equipment, instead think about the variety of exercises and drills you can do with it.
Great minimalist pieces of equipment are:
Also, when planning a session, rather then using medballs, dumbells, ropes, kettlebells and sandbags all in one session, try to think of how you could run the session with just one or two of those pieces of equipment. (Unless of course you are running Bootcamp Monopoly.)
Using less equipment will keep the workout focused and will save you the hassle of transporting a lot of different pieces of equipment.
How to put it into action
Minimalism isn’t some crazy cult. It’s about reducing the unnecessary so you can focus on the important.
Implementing one or more of these strategies will help reduce unnecessary stress and will also help your bottom line. It’s a win-win.
- Reduce the number of options that you offer new clients. Make it easier for them to choose and for you to manage.
- Spend more time on the 80% of your clients who are awesome clients. Fire the other 20% or stop trying to re-enroll them.
- When your about to buy a new piece of equipment ask yourself, ‘How much value will this add to my clients and my business?’. If it can only be used for one purpose, don’t buy it.
Now it’s your turn. Do you already follow some of these principles? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.
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P.S. That new thing I was talking about on Sunday is still coming. More info next week.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.