Breaking Down Boundaries 2014 saw changes and much activity in the fitness industry and new some trends. The hope of new things brought us the excitement of things like getting down in the mud with Spartan Fitness. CrossFit stepped up to be the exemplar of the aggressive type of training that only truly fanatical fitness enthusiasts understand. New gyms popped up, studios rode the trends and some big names ebbed and flowed in their fortunes. The combinations of fitness and digital will continue to throw up unexpected and tantalizing opportunities. The importance of the digital component of any business is [...]

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Because The Bigger They Are… As the big guys get bigger, and keep pouring cash into their fitness center locations, you might think that they would be impossible to beat. It’s just a fact that large corporations have all the money and other financial resources at their disposal that anyone could wish for. That does not mean they have a monopoly on innovation or competitiveness. The independent gym owner can still do much to fight back effectively because having capital resources is only part of the equation. You have to have a human side that doesn’t crush customers in the [...]

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There are people in the world who are naturals at selling and performing in public situations. Personally, I am not one of them. It amazes me when someone seems to be naturally cool and confident when eyes are all on him or her. Also, those people tend not to be trainers or managers working in gyms. I suppose that figures, helping people motivates most of the trainers that I know but they tend to have a history in jobs that are not sales related. I love working out and hanging out in the gym and so do most of the trainers [...]

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Do Premium Gym Memberships Have A Future? Why are there some gym business models that seem to be in huge demand while still charging top dollar for memberships? I think that the simple answer is that there are enough members who are shopping by value and not price. It’s not about competing based on what the gym across the street is charging, it’s about finding the things that you are truly great at and which are in demand and matching the two together. Too many small businesses fail to understand this important distinction, not just in the gym business but [...]

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You Cannot Avoid The Google There are so many things a small gym or fitness center owner needs to be aware of, most of which are not directly related to the gym business. Hopefully, articles such as this one will help you to keep up to date and informed about the state of the industry. I have some pretty good sources on the inside of the tech industry and I like to think that I can help gym owners learn what they need to know. So, here is a quick overview of what is in the works and what we are [...]

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It never hurts to look back at the predictions of the past and look at where the trends are leading at the present moment. I recently posted about the latest trends that were published by the American College Of Sports Medicine (ACSM). So I figured it might be appropriate to go back and look at how things are coming up from the view of the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). Long time readers of this blog will remember that I posted an article about their trends for 2013. Now that we are through 2014 effectively it seems like a [...]

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Platform As A Service Or Software As A Service I was recently talking to a local small business manager who told me about how his company saved itself by switching format. Clients demanded to get updates and they felt compelled to comply. Payment in a one-time fee meant that the longer clients used their software the less they profited. This turned around when they went to a monthly plan: clients became a cash flow and they have the resources to update generously. I wanted to share this because it is so similar to the experience I had in deciding the [...]

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There are lots of interesting ways to do promotions. Once again, with the holidays upon us, I think it’s time to take another look. One of the most accessible is selling gift cards as part of your retail operation. Even if it means just a desktop display at your reception you can boost your return on investment by offering this popular, high margin product to your membership and the general public. Promotions With Gift Cards Sell gift cards in your gym Sell gift cards at the local sporting goods store Distribute them through your trainers There is a reason that [...]

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OK so it is about time to start looking at the trends for fitness in 2015 and the ACSM has released their most recent survey of club owners. There were not a lot of surprises but there are some interesting conclusions from that report and some other things that come up elsewhere that are really worth taking a look at. The trends for High Intensity Interval Training, bodyweight training and an increasing demand for trainer professionalism all seem to be holding course and continuing onward. It’s like there is no real change from last year but that is sometime how [...]

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This is another article that takes a look at a particular brand in the gym business. I haven’t been asked to write these and I don’t receive any payment from them. This is just my attempt to put the gym management business in context and to spread a little knowledge and insight into what's going on, and why it might be interesting to gym owners. As always, your comments are welcome. There is always room in the fitness marketplace for creative and exciting ways to keep the membership interested and coming back for more. The New York born and bred [...]

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The Thanksgiving 2014 Gym Insight Blog Post It’s Thanksgiving again, one of my favorite times of the year. It’s the time to be with family and enjoy the harvest we've reaped. Even if it's been a tough year and there've been so many challenges your head's spinning, it’s important to count the blessings and keep the situation in perspective. So there are no references or links for this post, I’m just going to pitch it from my heart. When I say to be grateful facing challenges I mean it literally. When the chips are down that’s the best time to take inventory [...]

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Taking Your Reputation Forward By Asking For Testimonials If you have a system that currently gets testimonials and positive reviews from your membership that is a gift! If you can get testimonials easily, you’re golden. If not, join the club! It’s not usually easy to elicit praise from customers on the record, even when they are completely happy with your service. The secret is to ask, and to ask at the right time. Two Words Explain Why Customer Testimonials Work So, the question is: What do testimonials matter? Getting testimonials and positive reviews from your membership is worth a lot [...]

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After all of the hard work and time you have put into your small gym business you owe it to yourself to maximize the value you get out of it when you sell it. Quite simply, the best time to sell your gym is when things are moving up. When it has gone beyond your expectations and is still going. That is the exit point that will give you the most satisfaction and arguably the most cash in your pocket. To make sure you are prepared, have an exit strategy and clear milestones to indicate when you intend to exit. [...]

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Change Management Is Risky Business Crunch Fitness is on the market for around $200 million. Wow! Wow, not just because that’s a lot of dough but because of the company’s unique business model that they use and how it could be hit by change coming in from the outside. As far as I know Crunch is in good shape so I assume there is no need to do some sort of elaborate gym-rescue. If Crunch is a successful company, they need to keep doing what they do best, which is to creatively mix and match classes and fitness trends to [...]

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When The Unboxing Experience Feels Like Your Birthday I recently set up a local service with a card reader. The company that sent the reader seems to have a real insight into the concept of experience, particularly the unboxing experience. The reader is well designed but so was the box that it came in. It contained three cleverly designed and satisfying layers of wrapping that had to be peeled away or opened and then a final layer of protective plastic that was strangely the best part to remove. These days, it's no surprise that people unbox their tech-toys and upload the [...]

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