What do you do when your system crashes, or gets really slow, or spins around when doing normal tasks?
You reboot it. You clear the memory and start from scratch.
When you reboot a computer, you shut down all the programs that are running in the background. You clear its memory. When the computer reboots, it starts with the basics: just the systems that are required to run, and nothing else.
If your business is slowly going backward and you can’t figure out why; if you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels, working harder and not growing, then you might need more than a new tactic or MORE stuff to do: you might need a complete reboot.
A reboot kills the stuff that is slowing you down, starts over from the basics. And builds up from there. It’s not a blank slate. More like digging down to bedrock and repairing the damage from the ground up.
Here’s how to do it – and how I did it in one business I own (my gym).
After Covid lockdowns, my gym struggled to recover. We actually came out of lockdowns better than most, with 78% revenue retention and lots of excitement to get going again.
But we never really experienced the ‘surge’ that many gyms did. And instead of a reboot, I let the gym limp along with the wrong staff, broken systems, no training and some key missing clients. I went into great detail in my gym-specific podcast here.
I’ll use my gym as an example as I teach you the process, but you can do this in ANY industry.
This process takes time: you can’t stop the train and let it sit on the tracks while you make repairs. I know, you have to fix a moving train. But let’s start with where is the train GOING?
The first thing we had to do was stop the bleeding.
I first audited our expenses to see where the money was going. We found a few things:
1 – software we no longer needed
2 – contracts that weren’t serving us (cleaning supplies)
3 – contracts that could be downgraded
4 – clients who weren’t being billed
5 – clients who owed us money
6 – trainers who were being overpaid.
These problems weren’t fun to fix, but they were pretty quick. So with the bleeding stopped as much as possible, I was free to rebuild with the ethos “Less but better”.
I used this as my go-to strategy because there was a lot of stuff slowing us down. For example, I had coaches who were doing one class per week, and they were never available to take new clients. I literally couldn’t onboard anyone because I didn’t have staff who could do it.
I had sales people who couldn’t sell because our offerings were way too complicated – for some reason we had 76 different types of memberships when I counted them.
I had lead nurture people who couldn’t get clients in the door because our automations were overwhelming…and we couldn’t onboard them anyway.
There was a lot to fix. But I started with the mission, to get everyone moving in the same direction and keep them motivated for the hard changes ahead.
I cut the mission down to under 10 words and published it everywhere. Here it is:
[catalyst mission video]
3. I audited my systems. Some of our processes were outdated; some were no longer necessary; some were confusing. and NO ONE on staff knew any of them because they hadn’t been trained. I rewrote our staff playbook and delivered it to every single staff person. I got them all new email addresses, showed them how to use them, showed them how Google Drive worked. I cut our OnRamp package down and taught the coaches how to deliver it. I shot videos of every single step: how to unlock the gym door to how to use the stereo system to how to clean the gym and how to run a class. I wanted to shine a light into every dark corner.
4. I audited my staff. I first assumed that the problems were a result of unclear processes (you can listen to my podcast on ‘process problems and people problems’ here: [link] ). But when staff know the mission; know exactly what to do; know the consequences of failure and still aren’t living up to the level required, they need to go. That’s never easy. But you have to do it for the good of the rest of your staff; your clients; and yourself. You can’t afford bad staff who aren’t on the train.
Then we hired to fill the gaps. I brought in one bright, energetic young trainer and immediately had work for him – but told him we’d be adding more clients in a few weeks’ time.
5. I audited my sales process. I cut our onboarding options down to one: OnRamp. Everybody does OnRamp. At the end of OnRamp, they have three options: private, semiprivate or group training. I trained my coaches to deliver onramp and trained one staff person to sell onramp. I put everything in a binder with ONE page in it: the options and the prices.
6. I turned off all marketing while I did the above. Then when it was time to start marketing again, I asked myself, “What’s worked in the past?” It was content. I started publishing a blog 3x/week.
Now I don’t have a lot of time to blog for my gym. I’m busy with TBB and that’s honestly where my passion lies. So I used ChatGPT to help me. I invested a couple of hours creating good prompts. Now I can just use those prompts over and over to produce good blog content.
When I had good content funnels going, I turned our lead nurture process back on. I trained one staff person to manage our CRM and get leads to book, then show, for appointments.
I started posting links to our content on social media. So that made two funnels: social media and content. There were still two more: referrals and advertising (paid marketing).
I knew referrals were more important…but honest didn’t have the time or staff to start there. So I gave myself permission to push that one til later, and went back into Facebook ads manager and turned them back on.
Now, I have to tell you: I didn’t build all this stuff from scratch like I did back in 2008. I did all of this FAST and easy because I just pulled templates and SOPs from the Two-Brain toolkit. I didn’t write a job description or staff playbook or any of that stuff – it was just sitting there for me. I didn’t relearn facebook ads or create new copy – I just used the mentors at TwoBrain to set it up and give me what I needed. Without that stuff, this would have taken 5 years instead of 5 months. Trust me; the first time I did this process, that’s exactly what it took, from 2008 to 2013.
Here’s the hierarchy I followed:
Catalyst is now growing again, but it was a hard 5 months, and I shared the whole story on the podcast this week.