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No Judgement: Finding A Niche Of Their Own

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I guess you can call me a gym rat; I have been someone who goes to his gym regularly for many years.  I’ve belonged to my current gym for twenty-two years.  I mix up my exercise time by swimming, sometimes lifting, an occasional run, weekly spinning,  and I even attend a yoga class when I have time.  Like the guy who eats too much at the buffet, my gym isn’t making money off of Rob Jolles!  But I am not the norm.

I could have joined a few other gyms, but to me, they’re all pretty much the same – give or take a few machines, classes, or parking spots. There’s one that’s different.  Planet Fitness is a gym that basically offers the complete opposite experience that my gym and so many others offer.  That’s not my opinion, by the way.  It’s their motto:   “We’re not a gym, we’re Planet Fitness.” 

Well, I think they may be a gym, but regardless, they are a success story worth watching and learning from.  For instance:
 

  • My gym offers state of the art equipment.  Planet Fitness proudly admits they do not.  They offer treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and basic weight lifting equipment.  Nothing too fancy.
  • My gym has an aggressive sales force.  Planet Fitness doesn’t have a sales force.
  • My gym has a lot of massive guys lifting massive weights making massive sounds.  Planet Fitness might have a few massive guys lifting massive weights, but if they make massive sounds, the “Lunk Alarm” goes off!
  • My gym judges you; it is what it is.  Planet Fitness touts its Judgment Free Zone®, which means members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in, well, my gym.
  • My gym offers personal training for a fee.  Planet Fitness offers personal training for free.
  • My gym costs $84.00 a month, with a multiyear commitment, and a healthy initiation fee.  Planet Fitness costs $10 a month, with no commitment whatsoever, and a $49 initiation fee that is often waived.
     

Don’t miss the message here; Planet Fitness isn’t for everyone.  I happen to be swimmer and you won’t find me at Planet Fitness because you won’t find a pool in Planet Fitness.  But Planet Fitness reminds us you cannot be everything to everyone.  Ironically, doing so doesn’t strengthen your position; it weakens it.

Related: What Happens When You Set up and Enforce the Rules

This is not a new lesson, and there are plenty of other examples that prove this same point.  In my mind, all fast food restaurants are the same… unless you go to Subway.  With the help of a simple, unencumbered message delivered by a humble man who looks nothing like a pitchman, Jared and Subway reinvented themselves.  They carved out a unique niche as a fast food restaurant that somehow serves food that will make us skinnier.  Subway went from a forgettable sub shop to the number one fast food franchise in the world

To survive in business, you must identify what makes you unique, and commit yourself to it.  By addressing everything most health clubs are not, Planet Fitness created a niche market for itself, and they are reaping the rewards from it; over 5 million members, and their popularity seems to have no bounds.

Above is a link to a classic commercial for Planet Fitness that sums it all up.  Enjoy…

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