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Tuesday, 12 February 2013 17:13

Brutal honesty

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It has been said that Minnesotans are really nice people.  It has also been stated that much of their perceived niceness is due to passive aggressiveness.  In other words, they don’t like confrontation.

Being a Minnesotan, I tend to agree with this assertion.  At the same time, I like to think it doesn’t apply to me.  I do not remember if I have always been this way, but somewhere along the line, I decided that it was more my style to tell it like it is.  


Most of this honesty, despite often evoking emotion, was in my personal life.  In my professional career it was difficult.  I wanted to tell prospects who I toured that if they didn’t exercise often, and eat properly, that they would die young and not look good doing it.  But I had a company to represent, so the sugar coating came into play.

At Snap Headquarters, I wanted to tell many franchisees that the impression they have of the fitness business is warped.  It’s not accurate.  They were sold a franchise license from a sales consultant who doesn’t know the business.  He or she only told them what they knew. That it was one of the fastest growing franchises in the country and it required minimal staffing. 

At Snap Headquarters, I wanted to tell many franchisees that they were not cut out for this business.  I wanted to tell many of them that the best thing to do was to sell the business and move on. 

But I couldn’t say those things.  I would face scrutiny from my leaders, and possibly termination.  Because I have always been more up front than most, I tip toed around it.  I even came close to brutal honesty on occasion. 

Then I left Snap Headquarters.

I work for myself now, which means I work for gym owners.  All of them. That is how I view it.  Some pay me, most don’t.  That is perfectly fine with me. 

This morning, I sent an email to a gym owner.  I met with him last week.  He owns a franchise gym.  He has been open for 14 months and I don’t believe he has even 100 members.

In all of my years in this industry, I have never met a person more set up to fail.  He is clueless, and to make it worse, his personality makes him prone to disagree.  He is the kind of person who is slow to change, partly because of routine, and partly because of stubbornness. 

Quite honestly, I am not sure I will work with him if he hires me.   It would be like teaching chickens to bark.  And if you think that sounds mean, I don’t care, because I predict you wouldn’t feel that way if you met this guy.

I am hopeful that he will wake up, smell the whey powder, and admit that I know the industry better than him, and that my services need rendering in his business.

Regardless, I was able to do something this morning that I was unable to do when I had a boss.  I was able to send the following email.

Fake name,


Redacted paragraph for his protection.


Another redacted paragraph for his protection.


I no longer have to worry about that.  So, I am going to give it to you as brutally honest as possible, and not worry about hurting your feelings.


1. Your club will continue to lose money if you keep running it the way you are.

2.You stated to me on the phone not long ago, that there was no magic to this business. (and I agreed)  Yet, I see no indication that you understand this business.

3. I have witnessed many gym owners fail because they believed that opening a key card fitness business meant:


A.            staff 30 to 40 hours per week, and take "sign ups".

B.            Marketing doesn't work.  "I sent out mailers, and got nothing." 

C.            I opened a business.  This entitles me to success.



This business is simple, yet hard at the same time.  The systems and processes you need to follow are fairly simple.  The hard part is doing them every day, despite having days when it seems the system is not working. 


It requires trust.  Trust in experts who have seen people fail, but more importantly, have seen businesses succeed doing the simple things every day.


Here is what your business needs to get going in the right direction:


I will leave the last part out for his protection.

I hope reading this helps some of you realize that being honest with other people, even if it’s uncomfortable sometimes, is always the way go.  But even more importantly, you need to be honest with yourselves.

Go change some lives.

Jason Linse

Jason has a passion for the industry, follows other industry experts, attends workshops, speaker schools, reads, reads and reads.  He enjoys imparting knowledge and ultimately affecting the bottom line of business.  He lives in uptown, Minneapolis, exercises almost daily, and lives by the motto:  “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Website: jasonlinse.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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