OK, a bit of background—a local friend, Marc Jobin, has been running the Boston Marathon for a number of years, and every year, he uses the race to raise money for Children’s Hospital.
This year, my wife Justine—who is a fitness instructor—offered to put on a bootcamp with some of her instructor friends, with all proceeds going towards Marc’s fundraising efforts.
In a show of support, I did something I’ve never done—actually participate in one of my wife’s bootcamps. This was, of course, mildly terrifying for me on a number of levels. But I faced the fear, and I’m glad I did—not just because it was a hell of a workout, but because I spotted a few great business lessons during the course of this event.
1) Give a little to get a little. Justine made the offer to put on this bootcamp for Marc at no charge. It was a huge win for Marc. He promoted it well and was able to recruit about 60 people to come to the bootcamp. By the way, that translated to $1,400 raised. And after Marc gets the company match he’s going to receive, the total raised from this event will be $2,800. Not shabby. And 60 people got exposed to Justine’s business. Will all of them become clients? Of course not. Will a few of them? Probably. Will they be evangelists for Justine to their friends? I think they will be.
2) Make it a party. The bootcamp was held on a frigid Sunday morning. I suspect a lot of folks were dreading it. But upon arrival, the music was cranking, there was a welcoming table, friends were mingling. One of Marc’s friends had set up an obstacle course of the kids. It actually felt… really fun. And if you get people having fun while doing something they get a benefit from (like working out), you’re on your way to building a clientele.
3) Embrace different personality types. Justine recruited 3 instructor friends to help her run the class. To say they were contrasts in styles is an understatement. Justine is the cheerleader captain type of fitness coach—upbeat but very clear and strong in her instructions. Jill takes a quiet, reassuring, supportive approach to her bootcampers. Marianne plays the part of the perky and chipper instructor. Nicole is hilariously sarcastic and takes a swear-like-a-sailor approach to motivating her bootcampers. All of them are completely different, yet all of them are supremely effective at what they do.
Sundays’ fundraising bootcamp made me a proud husband, and in a surprise twist, it also gave me a few things to think about when it comes to doing business.