Exercising Your Gym Equipment

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Gym equipment is the biggest class of capital assets (and possibly of hassles too) you’ll have to deal with when you’re starting your own gym. Whether you run a small gym or a national franchise location, there are some things that must be addressed with enough quality to make your investment worthwhile. Once you have the equipment in place you need to ensure that it stays in working order for as long as you need it.

Gym equipment is the bread and butter of your enterprise. It may be more or less important, depending on the type of gym you operate. If you run a studio that specializes in group-based activities such as yoga or high intensity interval training classes, you won’t lose much sleep over the state of the equipment you don’t have.Loaf of Bread and Stick of Butter

If, on the other hand, you depend on fitness machines any more complicated than kettle bells, the way that so many gyms do now, then the functionality and the cleanliness of your equipment will be important factors with which to please your customers.

The Gym Equipment Maintenance Trifecta

Keeping all of your equipment up to date and working is like keeping the gym floor space in the highest and best use. When a large piece of equipment is out of service it’s just a giant lump of metal sitting in the way and sending out bad vibes to everyone in the room. (more…)

Joining Professional Organizations

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You can’t say too much about certain things in this business and one of them is certification. Also beyond that, or perhaps before it, you want to consider which professional organization is the right one. There are plenty of good organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), which provide relevant and effective qualifications.

You should be pursuing advanced certification on an ongoing basis and encouraging your staff to do the same. In the competitive fitness and gym management industry you have to keep moving along just to keep up. Rather than taking up a lot of space to go into details of a particular organization, I’d like to discuss the framework that can help you get the right benefits and connections out of any organization that you ultimately choose to join.

Not So Much Joining As Joining InSaw sharpening tools with spark flying

Stephen Covey used to say that one of the habits of successful people is to sharpen the saw. By putting some energy into having the most up-to-date tools, your resources will go further toward your desired results. Getting involved with the industry and increasing your level of qualifications is the modern way to sharpen the saw. This was something that I tackled in a previous article about keeping your certifications up to date. (more…)

Keeping Certifications Up To Date

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Dirty Work Continued

As a business owner there’s a plethora of rules regulations and certifications that you have to navigate through. Of course, on top of that, gym ownership comes with its own specific headaches. When you own a business of any description you quickly find out that there are all kinds of tasks that seem to have been designed to distract you from your purpose and the mission of your enterprise. As always, I try to avoid the controversies and politics of ownership but we all have to deal with them. So, my discussion point here is how to respond effectively to yet another set of dirty jobs in the gym management and fitness center business.

Certification Re-certification and Supporting CertificationCartoon of man running on treadmill during a business meeting with a caption that reads, "If I have to be at these boring meetings I might as well get something out of it."

Three of the most common categories of documents that you will be forced to deal with as a gym owner are:
1. Fitness certification, both initial and advanced
2. Re-certification of expiring certificates
3. The prerequisite supporting certification that goes with them

The initial certification should not be such a big problem. After all you don’t hire untrained trainers, right? Either they come to you pre-certified or, alternatively, lesser-qualified staff in your gym is ambitious enough to get certified as trainers and build their careers from the bottom up. I think that kind of initiative should be strongly encouraged. If you have someone who starts at the bottom and works their way up I think they make for more loyal employees. (more…)

The Jerry Seinfeld Success Strategy

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Because my gym has been doing well recently, I’ve been forced to analyze all my financials. I say this because I had been solely relying on the competence of my bookkeepers for the past couple of years, blindly thinking that they would do a good job. I was so wrong!

The past few weeks, I have been scrambling to brush up on basic accounting principals in order to answer basic questions that are not clearly defined by the books. That means I am completely redoing everything that the bookkeeper did (or in my opinion, did not do).

The Jerry Seinfeld Strategy For Creative Success2014 wall calendar with "I am the master of my domain" printed on it.

You might not look to Jerry Seinfeld for wisdom. That is, if you didn’t first stop to think that he has been so completely successful as a stand up comedian and the star of his own TV show. It’s true that the hook for the show was that it was about nothing but it was a great show. That is in no small part because of the work that Seinfeld put into building his career and the long and determined path that he traveled to get there.

His secret to success is both inspiring and mundane. It is a practical habit that is entirely within the mindset that you want to cultivate in a fitness center or studio:

The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes; the way to create better jokes is to write every day.”

Jerry Seinfeld Quoted by Brad Isaacs in Life Hacker (more…)

CrossFit Trend Or Fad

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It seems like lately I can’t help but notice that workout spaces have been popping up with the name CrossFit displayed in bold letters across the front of the building. Gyms that offer this new workout system have been spreading like wildfire. Because it’s such a mixed and intense way of working out, CrossFit licensees, or affiliates as the brand calls them, need to be expert at fitness, personal training and injury prevention. It appears to present a huge opportunity for trainers to become owners. However, the question remains: Is it a true fitness trend or is it a fad that is just now peaking in popularity?

Crossfit Group Train Box JumpsCrossFit values strength and endurance over leanness and helps athletes become bigger and more powerful. The system covers training and diet and also leverages group dynamics of bootcamp style workouts to generate the highest possible motivation levels and help the members push harder. There is a hazard of overtraining or training beyond your fitness level and it’s the responsibility of trainers to supervise, motivate and advise to get to the edge without going over it. Even so, there’s a lot of benefit to be gained from it and the brand is enjoying a huge burst of growth in attendance and popularity right now. (more…)

The Top Reasons Gyms Succeed

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A while back I wrote an article about the ten reasons new gyms fail. It was well received by the readers of Gym Insight and the discussion was very gratifying for me. But as a believer in fitness and getting results in a positive way I feel compelled to balance it out with an article about the positive side of gym startups and success. I admit that there is likely plenty of overlap between this and the previous article. These things are worth saying over and over again and doing more reps never hurt anybody.

Arm Yourself With The Most Important Reasons Gyms SucceedNerd Businessman standing in front of a chalk board with Chalk Drawn Arm Muscles

Have A Great Business Plan
The power of business plans is that they work whether you follow them or not. The difference is not following the plan to the letter but making the plan in the first place. In the military leaders understand that once the battle starts the plan goes out the window. In business, as in war, it is the discipline of making the plan and putting preparations in place that sets you up for success. (more…)


Social Business And Self Employment

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I recently posted a blog about statistics in the fitness business. I really only just scratched the surface with that one. In this blog post I want to address a few things that I had to leave out, and tie up loose ends. It’s always good to know where the next generation of competition could come from.

I tend to think the source of competition to watch is self-employed trainers building followings through social media and then establishing studios once they have enough of a revenue flow. Also there were some statistics that relate the demographics of the industry to that of the employment world at large. It has some interesting data but it’s not worth a full post itself, so I have included it here.Change career directions employee street and entrepreneur boulevard signs

Making It In The Fitness Industry

As a gym owner you know what it is to be self-employed, whether you just started out on your own or buying into a franchise. What I know from the experience of working as a vendor, and also as a gym owner myself, is that there is a huge gap between the world of employment and entrepreneurship. What lies between is a little murky and blurry.

It’s a risky proposition to step outside the safety of employment and into running your own enterprise. But from what I’ve seen, the more time you spend in the business, the more likely that you are to become self-employed. The way gym entrepreneurs and freelancers generally start their careers is as employed staff members. They use that time to gain experience, confidence and relationships that they will call on later in their careers. On the other end of the scale, fitness business owners are self employed, by definition. (more…)

Know Your Gym Insight Terms

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Limber up your jargon muscles and stretch out your vocal cords! We’re talking gym management and fitness center business vocabulary again! It’s been a while since I wrote about jargon in the gym business. So I think it is time to review some more of the terms that you need to use and know to understand gym professionals, in reference to the business and the activities that support it.

Gym Insight has posted articles written about this before but I think it’s an important topic and there are some terms that need to be added to the original list. There will always be new terms to consider, not just the buzz words that come and go, but terms that are specific to new capabilities and systems.Humorous shot of a camel listening to music and singing along

Management Terms

EPOS - Your gym management system is distinct from the payment processing system, which is known as an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system, the modern cash register. Your gym management system handles all of the functions that are unique to our type of business. The EPOS system handles all of the specialized payment functions, common to any business. You need to know there’s a distinction between the two and how they work together. (more…)

Capitalizing On Gym Guest Passes

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Turbocharge Your Income With Gym Guest Passes

There are many different ways to increase your gym’s revenue. Let’s focus on how you can use gym guest passes to increase your income, in the way a turbocharger boosts the horsepower of a small car engine. Of course, your own particular approach to this strategy will be strongly influenced by the unique layout of your local racetrack. So, here are two different approaches to gym guest passes, for very different local markets.

Gym Guest Passes To Bring In New Members2 month old jack russel terrier puppy

The best and most consistent form of income to keep a gym afloat comes from monthly memberships. Once you have a steady stream of dues that pays your bills and covers salaries, any gross sales receipts you can add on top of that is mostly profit. That’s a big factor in taking the risk of starting your own business. I’d like to think that you could one day have an abundance of income that supports more than a frugal lifestyle. (more…)

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Experience Is Everything

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The concept of experience marketing is generating a lot of buzz among business consultants and academic thinkers right now. It encapsulates the emotional and subjective associations that come with using a product or taking part in a service. It is how your members feel about how they get along at your gym. It is all of the subjective associations and emotions they have relating to everything from the hygiene levels to the staff’s attitude and the results members get from their workouts.

Pillow Fight in New YorkA State Of (The Customer’s) Mind

As long as members are happy enough to keep coming back, whether it’s class-by-class or month-by-month, they can bring income and value to your business again and again. At a higher level of experience, happy customers can become advocates for your business. They give more value to you as they gain the kind of energy that drives enthusiasm. Of course that is influenced by personality, the more extrovert and ambitious may have more energy and social influence to share throughout their personal networks. To create an environment that produces advocates you have to work hard to provide the best possible experience for all members. (more…)

Scheduling Social And Following Through

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Digital Media Puts a Human Face On Business

Here’s an ironic fact: Digital media can actually add a human touch to your gym! In this day and age it’s absolutely imperative that, as a business owner, you take full advantage of the low-cost high-impact resources that you can find online, in social media, blogging and video blogging. If you’re a bit more ambitious, even podcasting can be a great way to promote your gym.

The subject of social media is vast and rapidly changing. I’m just going to put this out there as an idea. It’s just a quick overview, an attempt to say that this is something that’s worth looking in to. In fact, there is probably no way to avoid it! So you need to start coming to terms and trying to make an impact with your own particular fitness brand.

Secrets of Social Posting

Vintage rusty carWhy do you need a social media presence? Because that is the way that you reach the audience that has the most interest in becoming your future membership. It also lines readers up to enter your sales funnel with very little effort on your part, beyond the initial effort of publishing the content in the first place. Once it’s out there and you’ve fine-tuned your approach it will do the work for you as a passive source of business. Once you set it up it does all of the work for you. You can use social media and other online resources as a personal knowledge base and as a way to attract and support your membership. (more…)

Respond To Reviews Every Time

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These days it’s almost impossible to avoid the online community and customer feedback. Think of that as a good thing! Make the effort to be aware of reviews of your gym or studio and be prepared to respond. The secret is first knowing where to seek them out and then responding to them, before you find yourself digitally tarred and feathered.

Of course some of what you get is going to be positive. However in business it’s almost impossible to do anything that provides a customer experience that’s universally loved. Misunderstandings and miscommunications can occur even in ideal conditions. Just be prepared to respond to members writing things online.

Do Not Be The Last One To KnowBusinessman swap paper to show the contrast of thumbs up and thumbs down

Customers who write reviews are either going to be happy or they’re going to be unhappy. You are probably going to hear from the extremes. Customers who are contented or just apathetic are less likely to make a comment one way or the other. Be prepared for strong opinions, whether you find them flattering or you think they’re unfairly harsh. (more…)

Target’s Data Breach Impacts the Health Club Industry

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Maybe you’ve heard about how retail giant Target had a huge data breach in 2013. If you were exceptionally unfortunate, you know about it because of fraudulent activity somewhere in your personal credit profile. As a gym owner it may be hitting you particularly hard by interfering with your monthly membership revenue. In response you have to chase after payments and update card numbers on a scale that is putting a lot of pressure on you, your managers and your bottom line.

The Target ScandalRed Target Symbol with Credit Card as the Bullseye

So, what happened to Target? The short answer is that they had something like 70 million accounts hacked, from records for the Target credit card. The impact on their card accounts has been immeasurable and it looks like it’s not over yet. The Target scandal means you’ve probably noticed that automatic billing from the members’ cards on record are being declined more than they were in the past. This means that you have to make the time and effort to contact the affected members and update their accounts. (more…)

Social Supports Your Gym Business As An Interconnected Community

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If you don’t yet have a social media presence for your gym, you really should start now. Your business might have a passionate and active membership out there on Facebook or Twitter, just waiting to engage through social media as a community. Of course, that’s the holy grail of social media in business; you want to use social to drive your business. Realistically, you’re probably going to have to work at it a bit but once it picks up momentum it’ll be much easier than doing promotion all by yourself.young woman in gym clothes, wearing blue boxing gloves shaped as a heart

Your gym has a community of members and employees. People are brought together by the service and space you provide. It’s easy enough to extend that with the use of an established social media network even if it’s just a page on Facebook or Google Plus. There are more specific apps and networks that you can use also, which I have written about in the past.

The one thing that’ll confirm that you have a successful presence is when you start to accumulate advocates within your community. These are members and customers who are happy and passionate about your brand. They will tell the community their experience and give advice.

One Percent Will Do Ninety Nine Percent of The Work

The most valuable resource in your community is going to be the members who speak out about their passion for your gyms. These advocates can be the most influential members. It’s important to recognize the potential role that they can play in helping to market your gym and supporting your community. (more…)