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    Default Gym Business Fundamentals | Ray Gillenwater

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    "Like strength training, the beautiful thing about entrepreneurship is that it has principles that are clearly identifiable by those that have experience, and the result of those principles being followed (or not) is blatantly (and sometimes painfully) obvious to see by anyone that’s paying attention. There is no faking it, not for long anyways."

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    Excellent article Ray. Esp about fulfilling an existing demand—I’ve often heard the contrary, that entrepreneurs create a demand. Your logic makes more sense. Also liked your point about location. Good to know that investing the time and headache up front will pay off!

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    Ray Gillenwater is offline Administrator, Starting Strength Gyms
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Smith View Post
    Excellent article Ray. Esp about fulfilling an existing demand—I’ve often heard the contrary, that entrepreneurs create a demand.
    Thanks, Jen.

    I look at it on a continuum:

    Left - solving an obvious problem in a way that consumers are familiar with, like selling memberships at 24 Hour Fitness
    Center - solving an obvious problem in a way that consumers may not be familiar with, like offering Starting Strength Coaching 3x/week in a small group
    Right - solving a problem that consumers are unfamiliar with, that may or may not be a real problem - many of these businesses rely purely on perceived benefits, like stretch lab

    The left side of the continuum = more competition, less room for differentiation. The right side of the continuum = less competition, higher risk, [usually] more expensive to bring the product/service to market.

    There are some truly innovative businesses that solve real problems on the right side of the continuum, the trouble is these are extremely expensive to bring to market and are quite rare, since most industries are saturated with solutions to real and perceived problems. Technological, social, regulatory, and/or economic shifts can create new opportunities on this side of the continuum. There will be some really interesting "demand creation" type businesses that emerge from this COVID situation, for example.

    If it wasn't for Rip and Stef building a community of Starting Strength fans that are well educated on the problem and why this is the best solution, we'd need millions of dollars to build a business like this and our level of risk would be so high that I probably would place my bets elsewhere. We are lucky to be selling something useful, that people already want. And luckily, what we have cannot be commoditized since the barrier to entry is high for becoming a competent coach and for gym owners to access competent coaches. Plus, Rip and Stef invented the intellectual property and no one else has figured out how to approach strength training anywhere close to the level of efficiency and effectiveness. This is once-in-a-career type opportunity, which is one of the many reasons why I'm all in.

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