There’s an adage in the small business community: evolve or die.
And as the world around us responds, reacts and navigates the efforts of international requests on the Coronavirus pandemic, every small business owner I know is learning the painful process of evolving or dying.
There are twelve businesses in the plaza where RevFit is located. Due to Ohio government demands, half of them have temporarily closed down (us included). Two of the businesses are restaurants and have had to suffer the effect of only being able to offer take out service instead of allowing patrons to come and sit down.
The plaza itself looks like a graveyard.
We’re fortunate that we can transition our clients to an online training platform in the interim. It hasn’t been easy but it has been absolutely worth it. Historically, my online training business has only been about 10% of my revenue stream. Now, it’s 100%, at least until the government gives us permission to re-open our doors.
It helps that our clients have been tremendously understanding. Since nearly every single industry has been affected, everyone is suffering in some way. Our clients, like us, are hoping this is all a short-term situation and we’re all trying our best to maneuver this new terrain together.
As a result, it’s forced me to focus more on our client check-ins and personalized workouts that clients can do at home with the equipment (or lack thereof) that they have on hand.
In addition, I’ve been uploading daily workouts to send them just for some extra variety to add into the mix should they desire to do so.
We’re all just trying to keep some sense of normal in each other’s lives because any other options are basically limited.
I found that, while phone calls were helpful, FaceTime and Zoom were much better. I miss my clients faces. I like being able to see their expressions: to watch them when they smile or laugh or actually see their tears when they need to cry.
And yes, at times like these, people are crying.
The good thing, is that many of our clients are retaining their sense of humor and ability to be lighthearted despite what’s happening. We all know that no matter what occurs, it’s short-term. We’ll learn more about each other and we’ll have a better appreciation for what happens in this client/trainer relationship once “normal” business resumes again.
The first week after the studio closed many of my clients were in a complete state of disarray. Despite knowing that we had a plan to move forward, the change was so disruptive to their schedules that many had to pause their workouts from home and diets got a little out of control.
By the end of the second week, most of my clients were in a greater place of acceptance and I saw better dietary adherence and more consistency with the at-home workouts.
I took the tip from some others I saw trying it and decided to roll out the option for a Virtual Happy Hour over this past weekend. I know many of my clients like to have a drink and since we’re all practicing our social distancing skills, I set up a Zoom meeting to make a toast to health, safety and a community together (distanced at least six feet apart).
It was my first time trying to host a virtual event like that and while there were certainly some logistics to work out with regard to muting and crossover conversations, it was still great to see the attendees outside of the gym setting. It also allowed clients who don’t normally train together to make connections beyond the gym floor.
Like so many of my fellow trainers and gym owners, the “normal” we had before the pandemic began looks very different now and we are all still trying to find our footing to deliver some type of quality service to our clients.
I can say that nothing about the transition has gone quite as expected but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As my clients are learning the limitations of scheduling regardless of whether or not they can work from home, the entire landscape has shifted.
We’re looking beyond now, collectively, to what the next several weeks will feel like since it will continue to mirror some degree of what the last two weeks have been.
Below, you’ll find a picture of most of the attendees from our Virtual Happy Hour. We will very likely do more of these to help get through what we’re all experiencing.
I should probably take this time to reiterate what others before me have likely said in a better way: let’s find a way to take care of each other now. It will happen through communication, candor, and an overabundance of patience.
Come to think of it, we need those same things whether we train in person or we train in a virtual environment. The basics haven’t changed, the format (for the moment) has.
“We Make Great People Greater”