When You Have To Do What You Would Rather Not
One of the biggest challenges that a gym owner can face is moving the physical location of the business. Perhaps this is even more of a pressing issue if you already have a location that your clients love. Everything else being equal the best advice is to stay put; don’t, at least unless you have to.
Of course, there are many reasons that you might actually have to move, so I’m not going to go into the whys and what-fors. Assuming that it’s a necessity that you move your small gym business as a going concern the only discussion to follow has to be about how to get moved efficiently and launched at the new location.
The most successful approach in moving your business is mainly procedural; do the right things at the right time and it will minimize the disruption. The secret behind it is organization and a project management mind-set.
The Document That Helps You Get Through The Move
Long-term followers of the Gym Insight Blog won’t be surprised when I somehow work in a connection to checklists in gym management. Yes, I am going to recommend that you use a checklist to prepare to move and then to execute the operation. In fact you can go one further than develop the checklist into a project management chart that lists the objectives and the times at which they have to be completed.
This is a critical one-time set of events and the stress and confusion can easily cause something to get missed on the day. If you’ve taken the time to think through the process and listed all of the things that must happen to consider it to be a success, then there is no greater tool than a checklist.
Manage A Move Like An Event Or A Project
This is what PM types love to do to get from the start to the finish in any complicated project in business or engineering. Moving your gym is definitely stressful enough to qualify for a PM approach. Work all of the events that must happen to get moved successfully and determine what order they must happen in.
When you’re moving there will be some things that must happen and other things that must happen fast. The plan for moving has to make the most of timing such that all of the critical elements are dealt with in such a way that you close out the old location one day and then open the new one as rapidly after that as possible.
It goes from one operational phase, through a project phase; the move and then into the operational phase of the new location. So it can be treated like a project. This is where lists become most helpful. They form the basis of your project definition and execution. As such, you are working to find the path that has the least amount of down time.
Event Dependent And Time Dependent Events
Significantly, some events are dependent on other items getting completed before you can start them or timing that is dictated by outside demands or deadlines. An entire sequence of events that has to be completed before you execute a critical step, like signing a lease, getting the keys and redecorating the interior, all before you close out the old site and have the movers pack their truck and head across town.
So the most critical things are those that are most time critical and important to the completion of your project. This would be a thing like picking up the keys to the new gym or closing down and packing the equipment from the old gym. Don’t forget to schedule the announcements and email blasts to keep your community in the loop.
Draw A Line Under It
Finish with a grand opening that makes a ceremony of the opening day at the new location. Something that says, "we did this, it was hard work but now we begin a new chapter". Be prepared for a dip in attendance and sign-ups. This is to be expected and happens in relation to the amount of business that you get from walk-ins. For more advice, the Small Business Administration has some really useful resources about moving a business.
You can get past the stress and the drama if you manage your move carefully and proactively and work hard to minimize the losses and rebuild when you reopen. Nobody wants to wreck a good thing but there are times when events force you to make a move and other times when your situation just couldn’t get any worse. So, when you must, plan it carefully, treat it like a project and hope for good luck and better fortunes in your new location.
Beesley, Caron. Is Your Business Moving? 6 Tips for Attracting Customers To Your New Location. Mrch 21, 2013. https://www.sba.gov/blogs/your-business-moving-6-tips-attracting-customers-your-new-location (accessed July 30, 2015).
Fagan, Lawrence. Why Having Checklists Will Benefit Your Gym Business. October 16, 2013. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2013/10/why-having-a-checklists-will-benefit-your-gym-business/ (accessed June 19, 2014).
Henricks, Mark. How To Relocate Your Business. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/81406 (accessed July 30, 2015).
Portny, Stanley. Excerpt From Project Management For Dummies, 4th Edition. https://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/project-management-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html (accessed July 30, 2015).