What Is Lean Body Mass Of Your Gym?
Marketing is a funny business, funny as in strange but not so much hilarious. You pursue what you think is the best market solution and then it turns out something works better. What do you do? Go after the new opportunity? Ignore it and stick to what you know? How does anyone know what the right answer is?
Marketing strategies are changing rapidly for the modern small business. The entrepreneurial concept of the lean startup has taken hold and there are some awesome principles and lessons that can be learned from it.
The idea in a nutshell is that you find the bare bones minimum viable product that you can put to the market. Do enough research and market testing to get the basic level of demand and then launch with low investment and overheads. If it doesn’t work out you pivot to reposition, rebrand or start again from scratch. The key to lean startup is that you do all of this without investing any more than you have to you keep pushing until your latest concept starts to pay for itself.
Sales Before Everything And Marketing Before Sales
It is always good to be aware of trends and techniques that others are trying. Concepts and practices such as lean startup can be applied equally well to new gym businesses and by established small gym owners.
Learning from the mistakes of others costs nothing. But if you think of taking on new marketing and sales methods yourself make certain that it fits into the plan you have without too much overlap. It doesn’t matter how small your business is you have to be careful to look at the big picture in marketing. In fact the less resources that you have, the more careful you need to be to get the most out of them.
I have been writing a lot about using things like promotions, SMS marketing and social media in the last year or so. I stand by those articles but any and all of that sort of activity has to fall under the umbrella of marketing and your strategy of what you are trying to achieve for your business.
It comes back to the concepts of values vision and mission, what you have the capacity to create and serve and what the most appropriate customer is for your business. If you have a yoga studio that will be different than if you are providing free weights or machines. More than anything though it come down to the people and the skills, interpersonal intelligence and how you match them to a market opportunity.
The trend is your friend except when it’s not
Trend following can be a great way to jump onto a moving train and get into the business based on a minimum viable product offering. However, what happens in two to five years if the trend just drops out? This does happen; it arguably happened to concepts like Zumba and spinning, although brands like SoulCycle have been exceptions to that rule. If you are entirely invested in one trend then you may not have the resources to shift into the next opportunity.
What you need is a good general-purpose base of operation. This might be unaffordable to you at launch but you can have it based on your first steady flow of revenue. You want to be able to access the trends by being flexible. Once you get established be flexible enough to repurpose your studio space and rebrand your services to pursue new opportunities.
It also helps if you lease your equipment on the sort of terms that let you switch out for the latest and greatest at short notice. When you have the space and the current equipment leased on flexible terms you can respond to changes in as they arise. It’s also essential to get to know your local business community. Networking is a great way to serendipitously meet the right, like-minded people to help you reach your goals.
One of the strangest things about a marketing strategy is that you have to pursue opportunities like it is the only thing that matters. At the same time you need to be looking around and trying to anticipate the changes that are coming and be ready to step up at the right time to stay ahead of the game. When you figure out how to balance these opposing and challenging forces you will be well set to take your small gym business to the next level.
Fagan, Lawrence. "Of Marketing Gurus and Gym Promotions." Gym Insight Blog. 13 January 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2388-of-marketing-gurus-and-gym-promotions/ (accessed November 30, 2014).
Norris, Dan. The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch. Kindle: Amazon Digital Services, 2014.