Club Insider

About Thomas Plummer

Thomas PlummerThomas Plummer

Thomas Plummer has been working in the fitness business for over 30 years. He is the founder of the Thomas Plummer Company, as well as the National Fitness Business Alliance (NFBA), a group of industry vendors and suppliers who have banded together to provide education and tradeshows to the independent club owner. Currently, the NFBA offers over 20 seminars a year all across the country. His new book, Where Did that Member Go? Rediscovering the Lost Art of Member Service, will be released in early March by Healthy Learning.

Phone: (800) 726 - 3506
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Previous Articles

Showing 1 - 21 of 21 Articles

About Our Authors

"Insider Speaks"
The State of the Health Club Industry Today


January 2015 - What terrifies us in this business, and then causes mass panic and overreaction, usually turns out to be the invisible monster under your child's bed that is all imagination and dust balls. It's never the horrible reality we imagine. We see something new. It's something we don't understand, and we are immediately scared that it will destroy us. Read Article...

"Insider Speaks"
The State of the Health and Fitness Club Industry According to Thomas Plummer


September 2015 - For sale cheap: Used DeLorean time machine. No longer needed. Just visited a chain gym and was transported back to 1995 without it. No longer interested in living in the past in the fitness industry. Read Article...

"Insider Speaks"
When Two Worlds Collide


January 2016 - Chaos brings opportunity, and the fitness industry is certainly operating in a chaotic mode as we go into 2016. Meaning, if there was ever a time to attack in this industry by anyone looking for growth opportunities, it would be this year. Chaos can be defined for us as an end of one belief system and the beginning of a new era where, no matter what you think you know about the business, the rules have changed and everything you think you know is now horribly wrong. Read Article...

"Insider Speaks"
The Health Club Industry is a Mess!


April 2016 - The health club industry is a mess! And, if you aren't making money, then it is customary to blame someone else for your current lack of success. In the late 1940s, we blamed the first commercial guys for ruining the physical culture gyms. The first commercial guys blamed the first chains for ruining their businesses in the '60s. Those guys blamed the first Nautilus guys for ruining everything good about the gym business. Those guys then blamed the rise of the full service commercial gyms for ruining the Nautilus purity. Read Article...

"Insider Speaks"
The Five Hardest Lessons You Will Ever Learn In The Fitness Business


March 2017 - Hard lessons in life, and business, are usually the end result of someone denying the truth until the truth kicks their ass. We call these lessons, "hard," because not grasping these ideas earlier in our careers, or life, cost us so much time and money doing everything, "the hard way." Small business owners are often forced to learn these lessons quickly when things go bad. You wake up someday with about $10 left in your account and a letter from the landlord that you are going to get booted. All of a sudden, you are now open to a few new ideas! Read Article...

Can the Industry Hit 100 Million?
No, Says Thom Plummer, Not Unless it Changes Its Ways!


September 2001 - Read Article...

Convert Your Weaknesses to Strengths!

October 2017 - We all have our strengths, and in the old days of the health and fitness club industry, those strengths could carry you against any market condition or competition. Today, the health and fitness world is different, and what we don't know and understand are the very things that can bring us down. Back in the day, if you could sell or build a sales team, you could literally sell your way out of trouble. If you learned to do hardcore marketing, such as lead boxes or cold calling, you could fill your gym and just think of how many thousands of young sales people were fired through the years because they couldn't keep up the 100-cold-calls-a-day nonsense trying to set appointments for people who never showed anyway. Read Article...

Customer Service Is As Simple As...

February 2013 - The most important asset in your business, and the hardest thing for any competitor to copy, is a well-trained staff. Fitness trends come and go, but a quality, professional staff is something so rare that it gives any owner who has the drive and patience to build one an almost insurmountable competitive edge in the market. The definer for this staff is the commitment to delivering legendary customer service to the members who have trusted that business with their money, faith and time. Read Article...

It Really Is About The Frog and The Boiling Water...

June 2015 - It really is about the frog and the boiling water. You know the story; the one where the frog happily swims in the science lab pot as the water gets turned up hotter and hotter, not aware that doom is just a few more degrees away. In the fitness industry, we are the frog sitting in the pan of ever hotter water slowly starting to bubble. Yet, we still sit and stare over the edge of the pot wondering why it's getting a little warm in here and denying that change is happening no matter how we work to ignore it. Read Article...

Out of Chaos Comes Opportunity

August 2011 - The classic definition of chaos is complete disorder and confusion. Much of what most of you are feeling in the industry today is a reflection of the chaotic state of the industry at the moment. Even the financial gurus of our industry, such as Rick Caro, declared 2009 as the worst year in modern fitness history when it comes to financial aspects. Read Article...

Ownership

December 2012 - Owning your own business is the dream that wrecks so many sleepless nights, causes family fights and pushes friendships to the limits. Once you catch the ownership fever, it often becomes an obsession that fills your head every waking moment, and the emotional attachment is what sends a usually normal person down the path of "I have to do this no matter what it costs me or my family." Read Article...

Sometimes the Answer is NO!

July 2012 - The Pareto Principle states that roughly 80% of the effect comes from about 20% of the causes. Stated in our business terms, this means that we make about 80% of our money in business from about 20% of our clients. Or, yet another way, most of what we get comes from a small segment of the people we deal with each day. Read Article...

Sometimes The Only Way To Save A Business Is To Destroy It

October 2016 - A single, flimsy thread can't do much harm to you. Threads are usually just little cotton strands that a child can snap with her little fingers. Thousands of threads, especially those that keep us tied to a failed past, can however, combine into a force that chokes the life out of any business trying to stay alive or evolve. Every business with any age to it has threads that bind that business to its history. Read Article...

The "Insider Speaks"
The Foundational Truth Will Set You Free


December 2009 - Publisher's Note: This month's Insider Speaks column is written by Thomas Plummer, who is the single most prolific and proficient educator in the health, racquet and sports club industry. His reputation as a straight-shooter is embraced in the article that follows, and he truly "Tells-it-like-it-is" here (This commentary was in a blog Thomas recently wrote for his website www.thomasplummer.com). Read Article...

The Basic Rules of Reinvention
How to Move the Health and Fitness Industry From Infancy to Adulthood


July 2017 - Look! Look! It's bright and shiny! I want it! I want it! I want it! Oh, now look over there! Brighter and shinier, and I have to have that now, too. In the health and fitness world, chasing bright and shiny is our industry's way of instant gratification. Curves introduced the 30-minute circuit about a hundred years ago, and we all had to rush out and buy one for our own gyms, because obviously, the 30-minute circuit was the missing secret to financial success in the health and fitness universe. Read Article...

The Death of the Big Box Business Model

December 2013 - It's as if 1995 never left us in the fitness industry. Walk into almost any big box mainstream player, especially the chains, and it is as if time is standing still. The machines might be newer, the colors a little different and the hairstyles have changed, but the basic business model dating back to the 1950s is still alive and well. Read Article...

The Fitness Industry Has Hit Rock Bottom
A Blog Post By Thomas - May 5, 2009


May 2009 - Every person who has ever suffered from a drinking problem knows the old adage that there is never change until you hit bottom. Then, and only then, can you admit you have an issue and rebuild your life. In this industry, we have hit bottom, and we're floundering on the floor like a bunch of wet monkeys in a hot tub. Read Article...

The Issue That Confuses Most Owners of Box Clubs Or Training Facilities Is Price

January 2012 - The issue that confuses most owners of box clubs or training facilities is price. When clubs hurt for business, the owner figures all it could be is the price, and immediately, he lowers his price believing that, once the price comes down, the memberships go up. Read Article...

We Are Bad At Retention

March 2010 - We are bad at retention in this industry because we have never had to be good to survive. Ever since the advent of modern fitness in the 1950s, we have been totally focused on only one thing: the acquisition of new members. Read Article...

Why Everything in Life is About Fighting Change

August 2012 - The original title for this article was going to be something about a day in the life of a consultant and what we all can learn from a typical day's worth of calls that I do whenever I am in town. Even as I wrote the first sentence, I found myself bored. Read Article...

You Risk Everything You Have To Create A New Business!

January 2017 - You raise money, build your vision, take the risk of being in business, and yet, nowhere has anyone guaranteed you will make this dream a financial success this time. Yet, when the business struggles, we often get angry at the universe because there is always a sense of entitlement within us; since we took the risk, we should be entitled to succeed. Not so. Read Article...

About Our Authors