The gym industry took a beating in 2020. About 17% of all gyms closed for good, more than a million employees lost work, and major gym brands filed for bankruptcy.
Things improved slightly in 2021, but it’s getting more difficult to survive. People are still hesitant to return to the gym and commit to a new membership.
It’s tough to be in the gym business, but the reality is that you can make your gym successful, even in the toughest times.
Learning how to improve your gym’s revenue and profits now prepares you to be successful when the good times come.
Are you ready to turn your gym business around? Read on to find out how you can transform your gym business into a thriving institution.
- Run Your Numbers
When was the last time you looked at your numbers? No, not the numbers in your bank account. There is data in your business that you have to uncover to assess how you’re really doing.
How many leads does your gym generate each month? How many do you close? What’s your attrition rate?
Get these numbers together and find out what the average lifetime value of a customer is. This is the amount of money a customer spends while they’re at your gym.
Find out how much revenue your gym earns per square foot. This is a metric to use to make sure you’re utilizing your space well.
It’s also a good time to assess employee engagement. Survey your employees and find out how they can like their work even more than they do now.
- Review Your Business Model
The traditional business model is based on a monthly membership. Members can pay a low rate and use the equipment.
If they want additional services, such as personal training, they have to pay for that service. In this model, you’re depending on your personal trainers as the primary salespeople.
The problem with that is that personal trainers get certified in personal training, not sales. Without sales support, trainers are usually left to fend for themselves.
You may need to change your business model to one that offers small group classes. That enables you to get members, and your trainers can focus on serving clients, not sales.
Think about how you can best utilize the gym space to create a great experience for members while remaining profitable.
- Review the Past and Plan Ahead
Why do you think your business has struggled recently? This honest reflection is an important part of growth. It’s how you’d approach weight-loss clients who slipped up.
You wouldn’t make them feel bad about their choices. You’d just ask them what happened and what they learned.
You need to do the same with your gym business. Get together with your employees and talk about what’s worked in the business and what needs to improve.
That should give you enough information to move forward. Take the opportunity to set goals for your gym.
You have baseline metrics to work from. Create achievable benchmarks so you can mark your progress.
- Improve Customer Retention Rates
The average attrition rate is more than 28% for health clubs. About 50% of people cancel their gym memberships in the first six months.
That means you have to replace about a third of your customer base in the year. All of those signups that you get in January won’t be around in June.
You’re probably aware that it costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than to keep one. When you keep your members, they stay loyal to your brand and they refer people to your gym.
They’re more likely to participate in other activities and pay more for them. Those are the type of members you want to have.
You have to change the way you do things at your gym. The focus has to be on the member experience.
Look at every aspect of your gym from a member’s point of view. Is it friendly? Are the trainers and coaches approachable? Is it a fun environment?
Create an onboarding experience for new members. The more they feel like they’re part of the gym community, the less likely it is they’ll cancel their membership in the first six months.
Find ways to improve each part of the member experience and you’ll be able to keep members happy for a long, long time.
- Develop Better Operating Procedures
Do you have standard operating procedures (SOPs) to follow? This is the most important aspect of the business. These procedures ensure that systems and processes get managed in a systematic fashion.
There should be SOPs for opening the gym, closing the gym, financial management, member onboarding.
Develop a procedure for equipment cleaning and maintenance. Treadmills and equipment that have out-of-order signs on them for weeks give a bad impression to members.
Make sure that everything is clean and working properly. If employees have downtime, have them go around the gym and clean cardio equipment.
They should test all machines in the morning and at close to ensure if they’re working properly. If something isn’t working, they should submit a repair order.
You’ll then contact the service vendor for Elliptical repair and anything else that needs work.
That simple procedure ensures it doesn’t take weeks for something to get repaired. It shows that you’re on top of it and members see that you care about the business.
This systematic approach to running a gym ensures everyone follows the same procedure. It also makes it easier to open a second location because the staff at the new location have a set of instructions to follow.
- Develop Marketing Strategies for New Clients
Explain to someone why someone should become a member of your gym. You probably make your gym sound like every other gym in the area.
One of the most difficult things about running a gym is setting your gym apart from the others in the area. This is known as your unique selling proposition (USP) and it’s the heart of gym business marketing.
The USP is a few sentences that describe who your members are and what problem your gym solves for them.
For instance, your gym might cater to busy professionals who need an effective workout in a short amount of time. You could work with stay-at-home moms looking to get fit and find a community.
Your USP will appear in your marketing efforts. Spend plenty of time refining it.
Get your message out there by utilizing the marketing channels that your audience uses. They might be on Instagram, search engines, Facebook, or TikTok.
Be sure to include marketing strategies in your local community. Sponsorships and networking are great ways to get your brand out.
- Be Ready to Adapt
If COVID-19 taught gym owners anything, it’s that you have to be ready for anything. With new variants emerging and cases climbing, you just don’t know if you’ll face another shutdown.
You might have to restrict capacity at some point in the future. Your gym business has to be ready for anything.
Your gym business plan has to be flexible enough to pivot at a moment’s notice. Anticipate these risks as much as possible and have a plan to adapt.
- Develop New Revenue Streams
You don’t have to create a gym business plan, but you should list your current revenue streams. Get creative and add more revenue streams to the business.
For instance, you can run quarterly contests that have a small buy-in. Open up a juice/smoothie bar. Offer special seminars and classes.
Have a virtual training program to get members from outside of your area. Create a nutrition coaching program for members.
- Train Your Staff
The gym employees interact with members the most. They’re also responsible for the operations of the business.
You might be leaving them out in the cold with no support whatsoever. Give them the support they need by training them on a regular basis.
Train them on sales, operations, procedures, and customer experience expectations. It gives them the support they need and they’ll be more engaged in their work.
Running a Gym Business
When you became a gym owner, you probably didn’t realize that there’s a lot to running a gym business. It’s a huge responsibility you have because your members, employees, and family depend on you.
It’s a lonely place to be sometimes, especially over the last two years. There is light at the end of the tunnel. This guide showed you how you can create a gym business that thrives in any economy.
You have a gym business plan to improve your numbers and be successful. Head over to the home page of this site for more entrepreneurial insights.