#047: Meet Gym Growth Specialist Bradley Schneller – AMA!

#047: Meet Gym Growth Specialist Bradley Schneller – AMA!

I was on a call with our Gym Growth Specialists last week: Coaches Bradley Schneller, Missy Henry, and Tyler Sullivan and there was one topic that kept making its way into our conversation.

It was the huge shift in how everything is done in the gym industry over the last few years.

Put simply—The way we used to promote our gyms, get new members, engage with our members, and cultivate a happy and loyal tribe of people who love to train just DOESN’T cut it anymore.

That’s why for the next 3 episodes of Gymwright LIVE, we’ll be highlighting each one of our Gym Growth Specialists who live in vastly different parts of the country, have different styles of gyms, have specific challenges that you’ll be able to relate to, and have been able to survive and thrive before, during, and after the shift.

Join us every Friday at 10 a.m. PT on The Network where we’ll be airing live. Be sure to stick around for the live Q&A session at the end of the show so we can answer any questions you have.

This show was recorded live in The Network on Friday, Aug 31, 2018. Click the video to watch. 

On this show, we interview Coach Bradley Schneller, owner of Roux Fitness in New Orleans who joins us for an AMA (ask me anything) style interview. We’ll cover:

 Image Credit: Roux Fitness

01:00 What’s Bradley’s story?

6 years ago, Bradley started CrossFit Roux in a 1500 sq ft soccer facility located in beautiful New Orleans which he quickly outgrew in about 60 days.

At that point, he and his team moved CrossFit Roux into its current facility located in a strip mall. Every year or so since their arrival at that location, his gym has expanded to the point of needing to knock down one more wall taking over more and more of the building. Today their gym has taken over 75% of the entire strip mall!

 Image Credit: Roux Fitness

5:00 Bradley recently rebranded from CrossFit Roux to Roux Fitness. Why?

2 reasons: 1) They were constantly looking at how they could grow and add additional revenue streams and 2) they wanted to distinguish themselves from the competition. In addition to their functional fitnss classes, they started a boxing gym, a functional bodybuilding class, endurance, triathlete training, weight lifting, rowing class that simulates spin class, and a boot camp/sculpt class. Each class took on their own kind of culture that wasn’t specifically functional fitnessy. They realized that if they wanted to continue down that path and expand their reach in the community, they couldn’t just be known as CrossFit Roux – they needed to be known as a fitness center.

Also, they were sick and tired of people staying they weren’t fit enough to start functional fitness training. When they took away that issue, it did help with bringing in the leads that never would have joined with their previous branding. He mentions he built his gym on being an affiliated gym so he will always be affiliated but he and his team like the new stance of not being pigeon holed with the brand.

Some of the considerations were:

  1. What would our current members think? The result was good. They had just a few people “buck at it” but no one left. Every one else welcomed the change.
  2. What would the competition think? This was an interesting hurdle as they didn’t want to be seen as selling out to market to the masses but in the end it turned out to be a great way to reach a different type of audience and get them fitter and healthier – which is 100% the point of why we’re doing this in the first place. He had this thought after leaving The Games 2017. He wasn’t in this to send people to the Games, he was doing it to get people fitter so a rebrand to him just made sense.

What was the process?

Before the rebrand, CrossFit Roux slowly started adding new classes and gave the existing members free 30-day trials for all new programs. He also has a monthly Facebook Live for his gym’s Facebook Group called “State of the Roux” where he’s constantly speaking about where they’re headed as a gym and what it means for their members. In January 2018, he told his members about the rebrand and how that works given all of the gym’s new offerings. He also brought up some pain points – the common fatigue anyone gets doing the same thing day in and day out. Some people were flat out tired of regular classes and were looking for other options. Now they don’t have to go anywhere else. They have 8 other programs with their newly upgraded membership (+ price increase).

From a retention stand point, it hasn’t made much of a difference.  Bradley says that if they’re doing what they should be doing – treating their clients with the utmost respect and the highest service and value – what we call the business doesn’t matter.

In terms of new leads, he’s getting people who’ve specifically told him they chose his gym because they offer a wide variety of classes. He’s now getting 20+ members every month. It seemed like the brand switch had a lot to do with it.

For any gyms who are looking to rebrand, Bradley suggests looking at who you are and what you offer. If you’re a functional fitness gym, and that’s all you want to be and are ever going to be, why rebrand? Crush that niche. If you have hopes and dreams of creating a monster facility with lots of different offerings – consider a rebrand. He also mentions that you shouldn’t even consider dropping the affiliation from your name unless your brand can standout in the community on its own.

 Image Credit: Roux Fitness

17:00 What’s it like to own a gym in one of the most infamous party cities in the world? How do you get people interested in health in an area like that?

Bradley says that getting people interested in workouts is easy because everyone wants to look good and they think working out overrides alcohol consumption. So the health part takes a lot of coaxing. He’s been running nutrition challenges for 6 years and soon after his first few realized that if they restricted alcohol consumption, no one is participating or everyone is failing the first week.

He’s had to figure out how to fit his city’s culture into his fitness community’s. So, he’s implemented a work hard, play hard culture. They’re serious about working out and serious about having a good time. His message to his 14 person team is if the members aren’t having a good time, members aren’t coming back. For Roux, it’s not only about training – it’s about the overall experience because that’s a direct reflection on the health of their business.

 Image Credit: Roux Fitness

20:00 How do you keep your members engaged and loyal to your gym despite being in such a highly competitive area?

Bradley’s team strives to be the best in everything they do. The cleanest, the most fun, the most amazing classes, but customer service is the biggest thing they focus on. Because they’re the most expensive gym in the area, they can’t afford to not be the best. He suggests getting your staff to be just as involved with your members as you are so you’re not having to touch the lives of 200 people every week.

 Image Credit: Roux Fitness

24:00 How do you keep work/life dynamics balanced as you co-own the gym with your wife?

Balance, when you own a business with your spouse, is tough. Bradley and his wife are constantly reminding the other to work a little less during “off” hours but it’s more of a blessing than a challenge. One of the great things is that they can split everything they do in half. She handles the financials, processes, systems, nutrition programming, and sees that his ideas are carried out. He is in charge of the revenue opportunities, coach management and development, and membership sales. They don’t often cross paths so having strongly defined roles and responsibilities lessens the load for both of them.

They’re able to work off of each other’s strengths just like the best business partners should. He says that it’s also really awesome to be able to be together every day.

 Image Credit: Roux Fitness

27:00 What’s your favorite thing to teach your coaching clients about running a better more profitable gym business?

Again, experience. It’s just that important. He asks his clients if they’re doing an ice breaker question before class, if they’re checking in with members who haven’t been there in a while, if they’re providing socially stimulating events more than once a quarter… That’s that extra level of customer experience which WILL make you one of the better gyms in town.

 Image Credit: Roux Fitness

28:00 If you could give one piece of advice to a gym owner, what would it be?

Stay lean for as long as possible. Bradley allowed them to grow faster than the gym should have. Once of his weakest aspects of being a gym business owner was the financials. He admits he had no idea how to manage them without the money mapping, projecting – he didn’t adhere to P&Ls. Is that piece of equipment going to bring in more revenue right now? If it’s not, then you probably should hold off on it.

If you’d like to work directly with Bradley to grow your gym, sign up for a free discovery session to see if the *BETA 2.0* Foundations Program is right for you. We only take 20 gym owners per class so if you’re interested, sign up now. 

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Jessica Depatie About the author

Jessica is the marketing maven here at Gymwright. She's a business consultant and holistic marketer for fitness businesses. She specializes in the decision-making psychology of what makes everyday people want to optimize themselves. She dives deep into how people seek out growth in the pursuit of living happier and healthier.

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