Club Insider

About Mike Manning

Mike ManningMike Manning

Mike Manning has been involved in the fitness industry as a CFO, consultant or board member since 2006 and had the advantage of being brought into the industry by two owners with 70 combined years of experience (as of 2006) with both large club chains and equipment businesses. Manning works directly with club owners, has been on both sides of private equity transactions, helps private equity groups with due diligence on acquisitions and has served on three fitness related boards. Manning has also provided services to a couple of operating and billing system providers.

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Email: manning@strategicadvicellc.com


Previous Articles

Showing 1 - 8 of 8 Articles


"Insider Speaks"
My Home Club for the Last 22 Years is Dying

February 2024 - In November 2001, I joined the best health club I'd ever walked into and experienced. My best guess is that this club will close its doors in the next 12 months, and its decline has been a sad and frustrating journey. Maybe, this short story will help a reader or two save one of your clubs from the same sad fate. When "my club" opened in 2001, it quickly shut down several older clubs in a three-mile radius. The club had more new strength and cardio equipment than I'd ever seen in one place and many other amenities. The club was full of members and was as much a social club as a health club. I loved everything about it, even when I had to wait a few minutes for a bench or machine. Read Article...

"Insider Speaks"
Things That Make Me Go "Hmmm"

April 2024 - Here is a short list of current things in the fitness industry that make me go "Hmmm..." Read Article...

"Insider Speaks"
Bad Health Club Signs

May 2024 - Recently, this sign caught my eye at a club and struck me as a combination of arrogant, paternalistic and lazy. Signing up and retaining members is the lifeblood of the business. Why would an operator be so cavalier about potentially running off members? Business must be very good indeed. The following are examples of how I imagine the club responding to member questions about this change. Read Article...

Beware! Common Payroll Traps That Will Get You In Trouble
July 2013 - No club owner wakes up one morning and says, "I think I'm going to start violating Federal or State Labor Laws." Even so, a quick Internet search reveals that some of the largest, most prominent companies in our industry have dealt with lawsuits or other government enforcement action related to payroll. If big chains with access to in-house legal departments and high-dollar outside attorneys have costly legal issues because of their payroll practices, you might, too, one day. Read Article...

Music Licensing And An ASCAP Scam
January 2016 - A few weeks ago, the CEO of one of my clients called to ask about ASCAP and whether he needed to pay the $1,200 to $1,300 per club per year for music licensing that they were demanding from him in an increasingly threatening way. That question brought back memories for me, and I'm sure many of you have had similar conversations with ASCAP, BMI and/or SESAC. I'm going to use this article to lay out the basic facts of music licensing and give you a couple hints that might help you save some money. Read Article...

Preventing Site Selection Mistakes When Opening Multiple Clubs in One City
October 2021 - One problem I've seen several times when working on fitness industry acquisitions is that operators sometimes open clubs too close together. In the past, this was fairly easy to do because tools didn't exist to make it easy for operators to understand where their members lived. But, this problem has been overcome by software providers who can link to your club billing system to plot the addresses of existing members on scalable maps. Used correctly, for operators who own multiple clubs in a market, this member mapping software is the biggest mistake prevention tool I've ever seen for new location selection. Read Article...

So, You Want to Bring in a Private Equity Partner?
December 2014 - I have one half-joking question for you, "Have you lost your mind?" Actually, there are a couple of very good reasons to consider doing an equity transaction. If you have a market-changing concept and want to grow faster than profits and bank loans will allow, it might make sense to consider an equity transaction. Also, many business owners wind up with a high percentage of their net worth tied up in the company. An equity deal can help founders partially cash out and diversify their wealth while staying involved in the business. In my career, I've been directly involved with two equity transactions and have spent many hours studying and discussing other transactions with both investors and investees. Read Article...

Would Your Business Benefit From An Advisory Board?
September 2013 - You are an intelligent, successful club owner with a growing business. Without knowing you, I'm going to guess that 85 to 90% of your ideas are good ideas, maybe even 95%. That is impressive, but it also means you have a not-so-good idea every now and then. As a business owner, surrounding yourself with a skilled management team and independent Board members who can help you eliminate half of your bad ideas (plus the time and money wasted digging out of the messes some of those bad ideas cause) will greatly increase the valuation of your business. Read Article...

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Showing 1 - 8 of 8 Articles


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