Applying The Aggregation Of Marginal Gains To Increase Profitability

When it comes to successful gym membership management, making several small adjustments across a range of areas, including direct debit collections, can add up to have a significant impact on the profitability of your business.

Dave Brailsford & The Aggregation Of Marginal Gains

Breaking down the process you are trying to improve into its component parts is essential to better understanding and optimising performance. Dave Brailsford, British cycling coach, used this approach to turn a failing cycling team into multiple world champions. The phrase, ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’, was coined by Brailsford and has been used by both sporting teams and businesses with much success in recent years.

Brailsford’s belief is that if you make a 1% improvement to a range of areas, the cumulative gains will become highly significant. When transforming a cycling team, Brailsford would search out all the weaknesses in the team’s assumptions, all the latent problems, in order to improve on each of them.

Wind tunnel experiments allowed Brailsford to identify that the bike was not sufficiently aerodynamic. He discovered that dust was accumulating on the floor of the mechanics area in the team truck, undermining bike maintenance, so in order to spot any impurities he had the floor painted pristine white.

In Brailsford’s eyes, each weakness was not a threat but a chance to make adaptations to create marginal gains.

As General Manager of Team Sky, Brailsford redesigned the team bus to increase comfort and improve recuperation. By probing deeper into untested assumptions, such as the relationship between warm-down intensity and speed of recovery, learnings increased, and further marginal gains were created.

Once described as ‘a laughing stock’, Team GB won 178 world championships, 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured 5 Tour de France victories by employing the aggregation of marginal gains method between 2007 and 2017. It is now widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history.

What Does Cycling Have To Do With Membership Management & Direct Debit Collections?

While we may not be able to make you a champion cyclist, we can apply Brailsford’s approach to improve your business performance.

In the health and fitness industry, regular membership payments– typically via direct debit collections – are the largest source of income. At Harlands Group, our goal is to make a series of small adjustments across a range of areas that combined make a significant improvement to your ongoing profitability.

We call this improvement in business performance – ‘The Harlands Effect’.

Our expert team will work with you to take your existing processes around membership management and direct debit collections to improve many of the component parts to maximise your net income.

Key Areas For Marginal Gains In Membership Management & Direct Debit Collections

Here are some of the areas we focus on when helping your business:

  • Online membership signup process – A speedy online joining process with minimal clicks, combined with adaptive pages, make joining simple on any device including smartphone, tablet or desktop. We can build you a new secure joining process or optimise your existing one.
  • Accurate data – With a user-friendly online signup process for all new members, joining both onsite and remotely, your data accuracy will improve. Quickly identify the peak times when members signup, communicate more effectively with your membership base with accurate email addresses and even attract past and lapsed members back.
  • Choice of payment date – Reduce payment failures by allowing members to pay on a date of their choice, this feature can also be used to eradicate the pro-rata payment needed in many joining processes. Pro-rata when worked out to the exact day is often discounted as the first session tends to start later than the join date. With direct debit collections every day we can implement a system allowing the member to pay the full month on the date joined. This is proven to increase the income taken in the first payment by as much as 20%.
  • Administration and flexibility of payments – Payment processes are automated where possible (e.g. arears payments, freezes, change of bank details/account, reinstatements, change of payment date), members can self-serve on their smartphone through our Payflex portal or speak to our dedicated member service centre. Choose to integrate Payflex into your own app, so members can book a class and manage their membership payments all in one place. In addition to improving income, this will allow your staff time to better focus on engaging with your membership base to increase customer retention and upsell products. If it suits your business model, you can also reduce staffing costs as many low-cost operators and budget gyms have done.
  • Security of critical business processes and data – Data breaches and compromised systems could leave you unable to perform your usual direct debit collections process as well as having a critical impact on your business. Industry leaders, like The Gym Group and Anytime Fitness, cannot take this risk and so entrust us to look after this. We are FCA regulated and comply with the highest standards in the world on data and cyber security.
  • Areas beyond membership payments management – In addition to optimising your membership management processes, our health and fitness industry experts will identify other areas for improvement and through our unique ecosystem of strategic partners, we’ll ensure you have the tools you need to grow.

At Harlands, we help you make these improvements and more – resulting in more sales, less on-site administration, improved flexibility and an enhanced member payment experience for your business. Typically, we will reduce your payment failure rate by an impressive 40% or more.

Use our quick online tool now to calculate your ‘Harlands Effect’ and see how much more profitable you could become with Harlands.