We support some really great businesses here at GYM HQ. We're thrilled to highlight one of our favorites, Lighthouse Fitness Management, in our first ever Client Spotlight. We've enjoyed supporting them as they work on smart growth, increased productivity, and delighting their customers. The personal training niche can be challenging when a business grows into multiple locations in multiple states, but these guys strive to do the right thing by their clients and provide excellent service. A good example of this is the very labor intensive project of addressing their BBB score. Any business owner will tell you that the BBB is a beast to deal with! It's hard to get your complaints channeled properly, the size of the business is never considered (15 complaints for thousands of clients isn't too shabby!), and rarely do people take to the BBB to say good things. They've started the process of tackling this hurdle head-on. Their management team is top notch and they have HUGE goals to change thousands of lives as they grow their business. This month we sat down to learn a little more about John Cuthill, CEO and Kyle Davis, Executive Vice President.
GHQ: How did you get started in the fitness industry?
JC: I was at a point in my life where just making money wasn't enough, I wanted to make a difference in people lives. I joined the Gold's Gym in Columbia SC, they offered me a complimentary session, and the next thing I knew I was meeting with the VP talking about an entry level sales position. I started January 7, 2010 and never looked back.
KD: I changed jobs close to every year due to lack of interest. I was going through a money vs. happiness dilemma and as I was sitting in my gym in between sets I decided I might be happy working in a gym. So I quit my job and start looking for a job in fitness. I found one within a few weeks and after about 6 months as an AGM, I decided that selling memberships wasn't enough. I felt like all I was doing was selling people parking passes to their favorite event, but what they needed was the actual ticket to the show and that's when I knew I needed to get into the PT side of the business.
GHQ: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen occur in the industry over the years?
JC: Low cost models. I remember paying $50 per month and thinking it was a good deal.
KD: How many different ways people can change the words and methods they use to describe exercise science and convince people it's different from the previous words and methods people have used to describe exercise science.
GHQ: Where did the Lighthouse Fitness brand come from?
JC: The Lighthouse Fitness brand has a spiritual meaning. We are called to be the light of the world. We all were thinking of a great name that had power and meaning and Lighthouse hit me like a ton bricks. I knew that was the name.
GHQ: And what does it stand for?
JC: At Lighthouse Fitness we want to show you the way to health and fitness. Most people are lost when they join a gym and we want to be the guiding light to help them every step of the way.
KD: Yeah, we are your guiding light in health and fitness...
GHQ: What do you currently have in the pipeline for growth and expansion?
KD: Finding more club owners who need a guiding light in their gyms.
JC: We are working with our existing partnerships and growing with quality as our focus.
GHQ: What is the Lighthouse experience for clients?
JC: When people meet with a Lighthouse Fitness employee, they will feel like they are meeting with a good friend that cares about their well being. Our goal is to help them reach their goals.
KD: We try to be more than just personal trainers and personal training sessions. We want to create an environment where we are more than that. The idea of selling training sessions to someone, forcing the client to use them as quickly as possible and providing them zero knowledge as to what to do in between sessions and when they run out if they can't afford more is disgusting to me. I want to create a personal training experience full of motivation and education so that one day our clients won't need us anymore but may still want us. It's really hard to build a car from the chassis up. Even if I gave you a state of the art garage with every tool under the sun and the parts to build your dream car it would be really hard for you to put it together especially if I just walked away and wished you the best of luck. Now on the other hand, if I stayed with you for a year and helped you build your dream car and taught you what we were doing as we put each part together, then at the end of that year when I hand you the keys for the very last time you could certainly maintain that car on your own. It's hard to build a car but if you know how it went together you could easily change the oil, rotate the tires, flush the radiator, maintain it. I want to help people build them dream bodies and lifestyles in a way so when we are done they can maintain that hard work on their own.
GHQ: What have been the most challenging aspects of the business?
KD: Finding club owners who would prefer their patrons to get results instead of simply paying for a membership they won't use. Also, finding people in the employment pool who are willing to work for what they want instead of expecting it to be handed them.
JC: Definitely finding people to join our team that care about the clients as much as we do.
GHQ: How important are back-office functions for the business and why did you decide to partner with GYM HQ?
JC: Choosing Gym HQ was an easy decision. We knew we could count of them to service our clients and staff as if it was their business. The back-end functions are very important to helping our team accomplish our goals.
GHQ: What gems of advice would you like to share with others looking to own their own fitness business?
JC: It is like a marriage, if you want it to work it takes dedication and hard work.
KD: Never allow yourself to completely compromise your morals or integrity in exchange for financial gain. This is an industry full of ego and everyone's is different. You can't manage any two egos the same way.
Lighthouse Fitness Management is an outsourced personal training business providing services to members of Gold's Gym, 10 Gym, BFit, Omni Fitness, Club Fitness, and Fitness Unlimited locations throughout the country. If you're a gym owner interested in outsourcing your personal training department and want to learn more about Lighthouse Fitness Management, contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-527-3305.