These days many gyms can be a dime a dozen.
Successful health clubs require a lot of thought process, reassessment and more reassessment. Some of the most successful gym owners have made countless mistakes that could’ve been avoided had they researched and planned just a tad bit more.
While their efforts are inspiring, we have a few tips that can prevent you from going down that same painful road!
1. Have a Realistic Plan and Budget
Construct a spotless business plan. Yes, spotless. How will I know if it is spotless? I’m glad you asked. It will be spotless when you know who your competition is, what your demographics are, have a marketing plan, and understand true costs of rent, software, payroll, and utilities. Knowing true costs means you can’t skimp on the important items like front-desk check-in software, staff, fitness equipment and rent.
2. Hire and Train a GREAT Staff
Of course, your staff is extremely important to your gym’s chance at succeeding, from the front desk check-in associate all the way to the manager you choose to run your daily operations. You must train them in a way that they understand your vision and philosophy on how to treat members like family, and ensure that they are always smiling and engaged with the members. Maybe even go out of their way to call the member by name or ask about their day once and a while when they see them. Retention rates will increase and members will be less likely to bounce to the gym across the street if they feel like you care and actually notice when they arrive for a workout.
3. Lawyer It Up
Make sure you have a reputable lawyer to look over and review all your contracts. Many businesses have failed due to signing a poor lease or entering into a bad business agreement.
Find a mentor or hire a consultant, preferably someone successful in running your type of club. If you are looking to franchise or grow to multiple locations it may not be in your best interest to take advice from a local club owner who has owned only one club for the past 30 years.
4. Price Yourself Correctly (and find a cool location)
Product pricing at the dues level is just as important, if not more than hiring the right staff and picking the perfect location. Today you have three levels of pricing, Low ($9 – $25), Medium ($26 – $65) and High ($66 and higher). You would be doing yourself a huge favor by staying out of the middle. It is the hardest place to compete because you have competition from all three levels. Choose to be in one space or the other. Pick your ideal member and sell to that person. You can’t please everyone, right?
Location, location, location. It can drastically affect foot traffic, budget and marketing expenses. Once you have chosen your pricing structure (low, medium, high), you should complete your demographics study to understand if your surrounding is a good fit for your pricing structure.
5. Find the Right Partners
Any partnership is like a marriage. In business you must make sure that you are not only personally compatible, but like-minded before saying “I do”. Spend plenty of time talking about the vision of the club, philosophy when it comes to hiring, firing, and other services. If you are a go-getter who gets things done, but you never look at the mess you make on the way, your partner has to be an individual who can slow you down just enough to avoid major pitfalls, and vice versa.
Both partner’s strengths must balance themselves out. You will battle constantly, but if it is for the common vision, you will surely see the value in each other’s stance and appreciate it. If one wants to grow the business and the other is happy with just one club, you will not be able to fix it and things will probably not end well.
All and all, be sure to take a few steps back from the ledge and think twice before jumping into a stream of uncertainty.