Commercial Goliath’s, Local gyms and Community Harmony

This is our first blog on health and fitness. So, I thought it would be fun to include the local business community in our discussion. We’re going to look at what is happening within the fitness industry across many communities around the country and how you as a business owner, trainer, or member are impacted and what to consider.

You can look at almost any community across the country and start to see the commercialization of the health and fitness industry working its way in and setting up shop. It might be a new supplement store, colossal commercial fitness facility or anything in-between. What most people don’t realize is that the fitness industry is now a +30-billion-dollar industry with revenues increasing more than 2% year-over-year for the last 10 years, and total market penetration averaging only just over 17%. This leaves ample room for growth! When any industry has this type of growth and opportunity it is natural for larger companies to start investing more money, building more facilities, and creating more products and services in hopes of gaining more revenue. Within the health and fitness industry it is becoming common to see larger companies not only investing in large cities, but also small cities and towns all across the country. This leaves the mom-and-pop gym, local yoga studio, the Pilates lady, and the one health food store that has been around for years suddenly struggling to stay in business. It is not unusual for a business owner to worry when a competing business opens in town, and that feeling is no different for small gym owners, independent health and fitness trainers, and coaches. We can all relate to the impact such events can have on a community and why things can feel unsettling. But there are opportunities to be really excited about when new commercial fitness businesses begin to open and come to your town.

New businesses are a great sign that your local economy is beginning to prosper. The median income and median house values have begun to increase. Normally it also indicates that your population is increasing. Large companies have already done massive research that projects growth and thousands, possibly millions, of dollars have been spent to build and move into your community. These are just a few reasons why many businesses want to move to new areas and attempt to prosper with their new ventures. More directly related to your business is the amount of fitness marketing dollars new competitors will spend to recruit new memberships. At first this may sound odd, but it does help you. It allows you insight on how to better position your business and services, and provides potential new strategies that may help you. Competitive advertising also brings refreshing awareness to those in the community who aren’t yet involved in fitness at all to start considering new activities. These potential customers could soon be stopping by your location!

 

With the growing trend in health and fitness, more and more people are beginning to understand its value and importance in their personal health, life’s longevity, and the potential to lower health care costs. But, in almost any community across the country, the average gym membership doesn’t exceed 3% of the population. This means there are many opportunities for everyone to bring in new members and clients. As a business owner, it is important to view this as an opportunity for you to learn and improve your processes. Take a close and earnest look at your own business and ensure that you’re truly doing the best you can and not resting on your laurels simply because you haven’t had any competition in a long time. Competition can be good! Sometimes when you look at Goliath you might not think of yourself as David, but it’s important to remember that you can make a great impact. You can’t be complacent! Ensure you are focused on your customers. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential threats, and start making way for creative and innovative thinking that can bring new ideas to your business. This is an opportunity for you to look closely at your business procedures. Are your price points appropriate? How are you staffing your facility? Do you enrich your community? Is your facility meeting the member’s needs? Is your staff educated? Is your facility clean and welcoming? Are your members referring your facility? These are all things that should routinely be addressed, but often go unnoticed when you are the only show in town. So, don’t let that be you and your business.

Remember — due to commercialization, lower monthly dues, and membership price points, it’s becoming more commonplace for gym goers to have multiple gym memberships. Not every gym is going to offer them everything they want. They may enjoy Cross Fit, but also want the luxuries of a commercial health and fitness facility, such as cardio equipment, spa, showers and locker rooms, that are often not part of Cross Fit facilities. Their children may need sports training at a sports complex that does not offer a traditional weight-training environment. Maybe there’s a powerlifting gym in town that someone loves to attend, but there’s no way their significant other is going to even step inside, much less attempt to do that style of training. The message here is that there are many different fitness styles, needs, and desires, and no facility is going to be able to fulfill them all. But because of the growing industry, technology, and commercialization price points of each of these locations in today’s marketplace are much more affordable than in years past. Your members can now have two or more memberships at different facilities offering varying experiences and enjoyment without looking at these as expenses, but rather as investments in their personal health, wellbeing, and lifestyle.

So, as a small business owner, trainer, or coach in the health and fitness industry it is vital to not get discouraged. I ask you to be encouraged when competition comes to town and look at it as an opportunity. Befriend them! Get to know them! If possible, try to understand the company’s model and mission statement. Yes, you’re competing, but there is space in this industry for massive growth. We all want to help our communities and if we can work together, versus working against each other, I truly believe that we all prevail and prosper

It’s Free…Really?

What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when someone tells you something is free?

Really? Is ANYTHING really free? What’s the catch? Maybe it is free now, but for how long? At some point you’re going to ask me to pay for what you gave me for free, it’s like a law of nature…it’s science. Maybe it’s free for a week, maybe two, a month, 3 months, what about a year? Sooner or later it’s going to happen, it’s a Jedi marketing mind trick for the sole purpose of taking advantage of me at some point. Everyone knows that, right? It’s a consensus, the jury is back — nothing is truly free, right?

Point well made.

It’s true that hardly anything of value is truly free. Most of the time, maybe even 90% of the time, at some point you will be asked to pay for what you initially received for free. But not this time! IT’S FREE. PERIOD!

Whaaaaat?

We’ll say it again, and again, and again. It’s free. Period. It’s free…Always! We will never ask you to pay for what we gave you for free. NEVER!

 

  So what are you offering me for free?

Are you a business owner? Are you a business executive, salesperson, or realtor? Do you have a job that requires a business card? If so, you qualify to place your personal business listing on our site…absolutely FREE.

Why is it free?

It’s free because we thought of you. Good business isn’t just about making money all the time. Yes, we all want to make money, but not at the expense of long-term business relationships. Who do you prefer to have a business relationship with? Someone who puts your needs first and who can relate to you, or someone who just wants your money today?
It’s free because we want your local community to find the most up to date information about the businesses and the people who run them where you live. It’s free because we want EVERYONE who has a business, product, or service to be found in the easiest possible way on Locoolly. It’s free because it benefits you, your community, and those you’d seek to do business with. It benefits Locoolly because every free listing gives users a better experience, which benefits everyone. Win, Win, Win!

Now What?

  1. Go to www.locoolly.com
  2. Do a local search for your business to see if you’re already listed on our site. Search by business name, your name or business category (i.e. Realtors, etc.)
  3. Claim your listing if you find it. (Follow the easy instructions)
  4. Add your listing if you’re not already listed. (Follow the easy instructions)
What have you got to lose? Nothing.

It’s safe. You simply make your business information available to your local community.

It’s Free…Spread the word
Click Here

Natural Disasters and Tax Benefits – Easing the Pain and Suffering

The following briefly discusses the tax implications for those who have been affected by the wildfires in the following California counties: Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Butte, Nevada and Yuba.

On October 10, 2017 the above counties were identified as being in a disaster area. If you have been affected by these wildfires and have not yet addressed this issue with your tax professional, please read on. This information will be helpful in becoming aware of your options and to take action or, at least, consider making an appointment to discuss this issue with your tax professional.

firefighters spray water to wildfire

Many people have suffered great financial losses and emotional stress due to these fires. Those affected need to understand the tax and financial implications of the losses and what is necessary to document those losses in the event the tax authorities call upon them to support the losses claimed. A good number of people do not know that the tax laws allow people so affected to deduct a disaster loss on their income tax return.

The loss, if you have one, can be taken on your 2016 or 2017 income tax return. Generally, the disaster or casualty loss is taken in the year that the loss occurs. However, if you have a loss from a federally declared disaster you have the option to take it sooner. To take the loss on your 2016 return you will need to file an amended tax return for that year. The amount of the loss suffered from a disaster, such as the wildfires, depends on whether the property was personal use (e.g. your residence) or business or income producing property (e.g. rental property). The computation of the loss and the deductible amount is fairly complex.

For personal use property the loss is generally determined based on the decrease in the fair market value of the property immediately before the disaster and the fair market value of the property after the disaster, less any insurance reimbursement received on the property. Even though your home may have been completely destroyed, the land upon which it sat still has value. The fair market value of this land post-disaster needs to be determined. The calculation of loss is the same for the contents (e.g. furniture, appliances, etc.) of the property but is reported separately from the real estate. The loss is reduced by $100 (the $100 rule) per disaster. The deductible amount is the amount of the loss that exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income (the 10% rule) for the year – 2016 or 2017 depending on the year you elect to take the loss.

Recent property appraisals on your residence or on-line at sites like Zillow can assist you in determining the fair market values before the disaster. The after disaster fair market values (i.e. the land) probably will prove a bit more difficult to determine. The applicable county assessor’s office maybe able to assist you with the post disaster values for land.

For business or income producing property the loss calculation is similar to the personal use property calculation except any depreciation taken on the property must be subtracted in determining the amount of loss that is deductible.

It is recommended that you seek out a competent professional (CPA, EA, Attorney, etc.) to assist you with this issue and to help you in your decision as to which year the loss should be reported.

 

Parents of Veterans May Suffer Their Own “PTS”

This past weekend we celebrated Veterans Day in the “land that I love.” I am not sure why, but my thoughts during this year’s celebration were different than the last. I was more affected by my thoughts about veterans and their families. My thoughts were about the parents of soldiers. I think parents of soldiers in some different way experience their own form of “PTS”, though varied in degree.

In 2001 my son joined the army. He was 20 years old at the time and there was no war. His mother and I had discussed with him what he wanted for his future and after going to college for a brief period he decided that the military was the best option for him to take. He wanted to pursue law enforcement and the military would provide both education and experience simultaneously. He joined and was accepted into the military police and would be sent to Fort Leonard Wood for Basic Training, then stationed at Fort Lewis. As a family we thought he was on his way to a great career. Like all of us in the U.S. at the time, we had no idea what was next.

In September of 2001 I was at a gas station fueling my trucks for the day when I noticed people around me acting a little different. The first tower had been hit. I finished fueling and sent the crew on its way and went home to watch the news to see what was happening. What I saw was tragic, but it did not give rise to thoughts that we had been attacked. No one was sure what had happened. Then, as my wife and I were watching the report we saw the second plane go into the second tower. We were at war! My son had just gotten out of basic training and had moved to Fort Lewis from Fort Leonard Wood two weeks previously. He was no longer in the military to train for a job when he gets out. In fact, his experiences over the next 5 years would remove his desire for a career in law enforcement altogether. That day in September his mom and I had no idea what would come next.

We got our first call. We were happy to hear his words because he was going to stay in the U.S. for his first assignment. He was going to the east coast to help provide security at an important installation on the east coast. What a relief! He did his time there and went back to Fort Lewis.

Then came the second call. “Mom and Dad, I am going to Iraq for a year.” Too soon, he deployed. We were not a military family so we had neither experience nor understanding of military life. We were clueless. Every day for the next 12 months we watched every news report we could. Morning, noon, and night our focus was on Iraq. We watched as reporters talked about injured and killed soldiers. We listened for hints about what was next. We knew what our son’s job was and were generally aware of where he would be or of that which he may be a part. But, most terrifying of all was going to bed a night to go to sleep knowing that when we got up in the morning he may be dead or injured. We turned on the news first thing so we could hear the reports.

It is horrible to feel relief that your child is alive and uninjured and to watch and hear of the soldiers and parents who are not experiencing the same. Our child is alive, theirs is dead. Our child is not wounded, yet theirs is missing arms, legs and so much worse. As parents this created such conflict in us. We were so relieved and yet their lives would never be the same. This went on for 12 months. When he came home we celebrated; when they came home their families cried and mourned. We could be thankful to God, while others were asking God, “Why?” We cannot pretend to relate to or understand what these families are experiencing today. Did their child also go into the military for an education he or she would use after 4 years or service? Now that child is gone due to war.

My son did a second one-year tour in Iraq, so his mother and I lived through it again. While he was safe, he was not the same person he was five years earlier. Time and experience had changed him. We live with those changes every day. But, he is alive and safe without injury.

I admire all the parents who have gone through the same. I will never trivialize the loss any parent is feeling do to the death or injuries that have changed their life forever. It is no small thing. “Thank you for your service,” will never be a slogan I will use without thought. When you see soldiers with their parents, be sure to tell them. For all the soldiers without parents, thank you.

To those who make the decision for us to go to war, be sure to make that decision for our freedom and national safety only. No person should die or be injured for a corporation or government. Only for our freedom and safety should any American experience such suffering and loss. We Americans are willing to give up our life for our freedom, our family, and our friends, so please be mindful and careful that you not ask or require us to sacrifice for any other reason.

My thoughts are with you moms and dads this Veterans Day.

Phonebooks and Internet!

 

THE PHONEBOOK

When I started my first business in the early 1980’s there was one phonebook distributed in Yuba City, California. In that phonebook, I could purchase one of several options that would increase my businesses level of exposure to anyone who viewed the page where my business was displayed. I analyzed my budget for phonebook advertising and purchased accordingly. By the end of 2000 there were three phonebooks distributed in Yuba City, all of which said their distribution to the community was better than the other. Now, in 2017, there are two and they have less content than ever before.

THE INTERNET

Now we have the Internet! It’s in our office and homes and it travels with us. We may have it on our desktop, laptop, pad, and phone. It’s in our pockets, on our TV’s, and even in our bedrooms. We can’t escape it.

Continue reading “Phonebooks and Internet!”

Does Your Small Business Need to Advertise on the Internet?

Internet companies are doing all they can to convince you that you are missing opportunities to grow your business if you are not using them to promote you. They have teams of marketers who are working hard to create a “message” that will convince you of a benefit that may not there for your business. They use examples of business owners who succeed using their services, but what they don’t tell you is how many business owners have used their services without success. Not that they are lying or don’t provide the service they market, but whether it will be a success for your small business — well, that is unknown. Before you decide to pay for any services that are offered, you must consider the risk.

YOU WANT MORE PROFITS, NOT MORE CUSTOMERS

Do you want views on your web site, clicks on an advertisement, or more customers?

Continue reading “Does Your Small Business Need to Advertise on the Internet?”