California Fitness Singapore immediate closure 20th July 2016

In the early morning of 20th July 2016 at 12.46 am, California Fitness Singapore announced that all their fitness gyms (Bugis, Raffles Place and Novena) will be closed with immediate effect, and that:

  • they've appointed Provisional Liquidators by the orders of High Court on July 19th 2016

  • they do not have adequate liquid resources to continue its operations and that's why they have to close from today until further notice

This basically means that they do not have sufficient inflow of cash (cashflow) to keep the business going. Now because I do not know the exact accountings (no one does except for their senior management and accounts team).

But what I do know is that

  • they are a subscription based (membership) business, means that their cashflow is usually pretty fixed, and they would know their churn (members terminating membership) and client acquisition rate - this is enough to make strategic decisions

  • they closed their fitness centres without prior warning or notice to existing members, especially members who had just signed up and no warning or any forms of compensation provided in advance (I wish this part was handled better, this is the leadership of the senior management - they should have managed this situation better, and also managed the people/members better).

Now I've been using their service for a very long time, I think it's close to 8 - 10 years, and I've been regular with them, so I'm sad of the way things turned out and the way they handled the situation. Ok, maybe they were under a lot of financial stress and hope it'd be better, and they kept it underground so that people could keep signing up so that they can have more cash, but truly, this isn't the way business should be run - it should be engaging, real and connected.

Yes of course, the market has changed to having more competitors from no frills 24/7 gyms, gyms with higher level of service, gyms with physio, boutique gyms, MMA gyms - competition came to play with them. And they didn't evolve.

Now the people who had just signed up or people who had prepaid (like myself, who have another 17 months prepaid) are left in the lurch without warning, preparation or anything.

Lessons Learnt

And this scenario unfortunately, is a common scenario, and is called "cashflow issues" - for us as individuals, entrepreneurs, employees and investors, having good sense and control of our own cashflow is paramount to our success and livelihood.

You have to learn to evolve and grow as well.

You have to ensure that you always have a positive cashflow from multiple streams of active/passive income (I prefer passive income) that is collectively more than your expenses to keep you afloat and safe and more importantly, financially free.

You have to be brutally honest with yourself and your numbers, if the data isn't good, then identify what you have to do, be it:

  • cut out unnecessary expenses that you don't care about (expenses that you care about, continue please)

  • hustle on the side and start a side income business

  • income investing a portion of your salary, increments and bonuses to build multiple streams of passive income from dividend stock investing

...then do it.

If you don't know how, that's ok - that's a technical issue - then go and learn.

If you don't take care of yourself and your own finances, who will?

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