What's Your Reputation?
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Publisher's Note: I wanted to comment on Derek Barton's article before you read his thoughts on reputation and why having a good reputation for your club in your community is crucial to the short- and long-term success of your club(s). My comment here is principally targeted to our NEW readers of Club Insider because those of you who've been with us for our first 26 years of publication already know what happened in our industry 30 or 40 years ago. But, even if you've been reading Club Insider for years now, I believe you will find great value in Derek's article.
Importantly, however, this Publisher's Note is to help those who're new to our industry know and understand that the health and fitness club industry you're in now has dramatically changed, and it's vastly different from the industry we had years ago when it comes to ethics in day-to-day operations.
Years ago, there were people whom I described back then as crooks... I will not state their names in this writing, but those misguided people in our industry were not only damaging their own reputations with their unethical and illegal activities (such as bait and switch advertising, just to name one of their tricks), they were damaging the REPUTATION of OUR ENTIRE INDUSTRY.
In 1993, I set out on a trip to Chicago for our Faust Roundtable #1, a group that our friend, Rick Caro had assembled. There, I intended to present the idea that I was going to create a new business that would be operated in my home so I could simultaneously be a "Mr. Mom" for my son, Justin, who at the time, was eight years old. My wife, Ilena, and I had built a 6,500 square-foot antique store for her. She was there virtually every day, meaning that, if I continued in the club business, Justin would have been home alone after school every day, and we didn't want that to happen. So, in Chicago, at the Faust Roundtable #1 meeting, I had a flip chart and a magic marker, and I told the group that I wanted to start a home-based business that would be helpful to everybody who owned and operated health and fitness clubs.
To make a long story short (which I know is a horse already out of the barn), I came away from that meeting in Chicago with the idea of creating a unique and special newspaper for our industry. Three months later, in Del Mar California, at another Roundtable #1 meeting, our good friends, the late Curt Beusman and his lovely wife, Jane, named this new venture. There were 14 people in the room, and at the same time, nine of them were throwing out ideas for a name for this new industry newspaper when Curt said, "Insider. No... Club Insider... No! The Club Insider News!" I screamed, "That's it!" And, it was! Now, 26 years later, Club Insider has published 303 monthly editions, including this one. And, to tell you the very honest truth, I truly believe that Club Insider has achieved a lot in the realm of helping our great industry to police and improve itself and to get rid of the crooks who had previously been damaging our great industry with their illegal and unethical activities. Thus, this article by Derek Barton truly rings my bell, and I'm very happy to present his excellent thoughts to you all here today.
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My good friend, Derek Barton, wrote...
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