29 05 2022
In this blog we talk with and get to know more about our athlete Ryan Hall and his story ‘Success After Service’.
A bit about Ryan
Hi, I’m Ryan and I’m the owner of Tactical Transformations, a military based gym in the North East of England and i want to share with you my journey to ‘Success After Service’. I served seven years as a dog handler and All Arms Physical Training Instructor in the British army where I fell in love with the sheer grit and determination associated with military training. After choosing to leave the army in 2018, I pursued a career in engineering (specifically, fridge engineering where I became well acquainted with every supermarket in the North East, test me!).
Before long, I realised I was missing the atmosphere of the gym environment back in the army. I developed the idea of adapting military training for civilian populations whilst sticking to the six week training structure similar to a pre-deployment programme. I drafted them in an old notebook where they remained just that for another few months, just ideas.
After becoming tired of the mundanity of a 9-5 job, I knew I had to get back to doing what I loved in whatever form that might be and thus, Tactical Transformations was born! The notebook was reopened and the ideas were sculpted into something that had a faint semblance of a business plan resulting in me launching my PT business in the spring of 2021. I hosted sessions around my 9-5 on a local rugby field in Newcastle upon Tyne where I had a mere four (albeit, very reliable) clients who would attend three times a week. Equipped with a burgen and a camnet, I planned sessions that both I and my clients enjoyed (seemingly at least) and I quickly noticed that I was looking forward to my PT sessions far more than the job in engineering.
Taking the leap
After a few months of hosting on the rugby field, through the wind, rain and all, the thought of taking Tactical Transformations full time was creeping in. I chose to invest in a business and marketing course to improve my skill-set and knowledge of how to set up and lead a successful company. This was transformative and thus really began my Success After Service.
My mentor taught me the ropes of how to become a successful entrepreneur and provided me with endless hints and tips on how to grow a business with efficacy and efficiency. I recorded myself speaking to ensure I was delivering my sales pitch with impact; monitored my body language to guarantee I had a personable and relatable presence both on and off screen and learnt about the intricacies and complexities of effective marketing. Ultimately, I absorbed any advice that I felt would improve my company and optimise sales.
After sourcing a local gym that had an outdoor training space available to rent, it was time to make the jump. I resigned from my job (and the security that came with it) in pursuit of a passion that I had 100% belief in but was daunting nonetheless.
Terrified, apprehensive and aware that I would very soon be SKINT, I launched my ads, prepared my marketing funnels and campaigns, polished up my website paying graphic designers to ensure that everything looked as professional as it could be. I designed a logo, located an embroidery company to create a uniform and ordered our first batch of TT flags and merchandise. I invested tirelessly into doing all that I could to promote Tactical Transformations and spent hours every evening trying to build a social media presence so that the local community would see our adverts. It soon paid off and clients began to sign up in response to our video campaigns (insert sigh of relief).
In a short period, I had rapidly built my clientele and was slowly able to purchase equipment to store on site. However, I knew that the feeling of comfort that was coming with growing with TT needed to be disrupted again if we were to continue to expand. It was time to take another leap.
TT makes gains
After four months of renting the outdoor space, I decided to set out looking for a TT HQ and after countless viewings, I found a local unit that was already being used as a gym. The only hang up: it was 15 minutes away from where I rented the outdoor space. I knew it was risky- I would potentially lose clients due to the distance, but I had to have faith that with another push of ad campaigns, effective marketing and hard graft, I would be able to replace any clients lost. I collected the keys in December 2021 and had two weeks until New Years Day where I planned on opening our facility. I think it’s safe to say, I underestimated how much work would be required over the following fortnight.
Kitted out with a paint roller and countless gallons of black paint I made it my mission to get rid of the heinous blue walls. I knew I had the opportunity to take on the clients that had attended this gym when it was under its previous owner, so I needed to impress the pre-existing clientele with the renovation. The pre-existing members of the gym had stated that they were desperate to see improvements in the equipment, classes and quality of coaching so I had to give it my all. I spent every waking hour in the gym trying to make it the best it could for opening day. We constructed a cafe bar, knocked down a wall to open the space, inserted a shower room (complete with shampoo and conditioner, a nice touch) and invested money in quality equipment.
Since opening on January 1st, TT have now secured 180+ members (a big number when you compare our memberships to commercial gyms in respect of the cost and what we deliver)| and have recently been able to purchase an additional unit to further expand the space (someone fetch me my roller and black paint). TT has been recognised by organisations, including The Chronicle News, as the fastest growing gym in the North East and we have grown our presence gaining recognition from large scale companies including MyZone and of course, the beloved Combat Fuel. We have held social events, competitions and have done all we can to ensure our members feel appreciated and valued.
Ryan’s advice for you
Setting up your own business is scary and requires you to have 100% belief in yourself and your idea. My initial advice for starting up would be to scout out your competition: who in your area is doing something similar, if anyone, and what can you offer that your competitors can’t? How are you going to separate yourself from other businesses?
Next, build your foundations. The old military saying that ‘bull***t baffles brains’ is definitely true so focus your energy on building your social media presence; invest in good quality graphics; and ensure your website is professional and user friendly- remember this is your shop front for potential customers.
Once your foundation is set and you are at the stage to take on clients, make sure to keep it professional but strive to build a relationship with your customer. For example, a client is far more likely to purchase your product if they receive emails and texts from the owner. So, address the message to the client directly and sign it with your name, ask them about their personal goals and engage in conversation; this will be far more effective than a payment link as the client will appreciate the owner taking time out of their day to speak to them.
Further advice would be to use a reliable membership platform. Whilst this may seem like an unnecessary expense, it improves the professionality of your company. GoTeamUp is a great resource and will help you manage courses, payments and classes. Moreover, as you grow, time will become your most valuable asset. Therefore, be sure to utilise automations as much as possible. Your marketing campaigns and social media can be completed using automated systems which will free up your time for other tasks.
A final tip: you need total belief in your worth and expertise. You need to not just want to be better than everyone else, but be better than everyone else. Don’t be afraid to charge more for your time, you do not need to price match if your business provides a better product or produces better results than a competing business. You will need to dedicate significant amounts of time to your business and ensure you reflect on what is working well and what could be improved to ensure the business is operating at its best. Above all, show your clients that you value them: offer incentives, rewards and additional bonuses. The reputation of your business is key and this will help you to build a community that will be more close-knit than your grandmother’s cardigan. This my my story from ‘Success After Service’, if you’re starting a business or already have one as a service leaver i hope its helped!
Good luck & all the best.
Ryan and the TT community