Predicting The Unpredictable
As we hit mid-year in 2017, I’d like to touch on a few points about where the fitness business is going. You just need to look at the news to wonder if things will be unpredictable. I think we have reached a time in which you must be the certainty. By that I mean it is up to fitness entrepreneurs and gym business owners to have the discipline and do the things that make your world a little more stable.
Preparing For The Future That Is Next Year
The days when you would set up and open your gym, put out your signboard, and book a listing in the Yellow Pages are long gone. However, that is no reason to feel overwhelmed by the need to market your small fitness business. Even with all of the other management and professional things you have to do on a given day you can set aside a few minutes to push your marketing plan forward. The question is, what is that plan and where should it be going in the next few months?
The business climate is changing rapidly now, with new technologies and startups determined to disrupt the status quo, even as no stable situation exists. It does seem like change is endless and chaotic and the next new thing is but another twist in the trail. So, let’s see if there are some things that you can look out for and use to invest early and get ahead.
Club Solutions Magazine made some predictions about the near future in 2014 and the points they made are still valid today.
- The economy is likely to grow slowly – check
- The proportion of the population that’s into fitness will remain unchanged – check
- Premium clubs will continue to thrive – check
The economy is growing slowly still, and no one has come up with a way to change the habits of the nation. The successes of premium gyms just seem to go from strength to strength.
Video And Other Multimedia Sources In Your Business Model
If it ain’t broke don’t attempt to fix it, just improve it and get the numbers right. In 2018 the idea of community will be both local and digital. The way this works, as you discover when you see the children sitting in a room next to each other quietly, gazing at their digital devices are texting each other. This is a sign that the future is seamlessly integrated between the physical and online channels of the reality that your membership already inhabits; kids are just more completely committed to it.
If you can create videos post them on your Facebook page, to YouTube, or Snapchat to keep members engaged and tempt prospects to reveal their interest. Other multi media includes Augmented Reality that is threatening to turn into something big, as I mentioned before. But again, any content you create will be a significant commitment and also a steep learning curve.
In 2018 small gym business owners should take a wait and see attitude to new technology that you have to pay for. It’s good to know what’s going on and to produce your own content, but let somebody else make the expensive mistakes that are bound to happen early on.
Remote Memberships And Old School Connections
Like AR, Virtual Reality is showing signs of being useful technology. At least one research study shows that getting people to connect remotely keeps them engaged and brings them into the gym more often. Adding remote content and engagement will be a way to bring members back to the gym.
Virtual trainers and remote memberships might be coming, or they might become a fad or nothing at all; you never know until it happens, right? Well, of course, some things won’t pan out, but the practice of paying attention and preparing for changes is something that will be more important than ever.
The balance on the other side is to do the basics and get really good at them. Remember that the secret to marketing is to make connections and build positive associations between your brand and the community from which you draw your members that are not going to change in 2018.
Get your gym management system in order. Create a marketing plan that includes as much digital leverage (that means free or inexpensive) as you can get. Use email to build more connections and develop a sense of community. Email marketing is a relatively old technology but is a reliable channel to engage with the people who matter to your fitness club and make it easy for them to care about you.
Spin The Wheel And Hold On Tight
The fact is, changes are coming fast, and you don’t really know what is coming next. The best path is the one that works well for you and gives you the best return on investment. Whatever you do in fitness your gym management software from Insight is designed to do the important things.
You can take care of your payments, club management, and keep track of your members with the tools in our software. Getting paid is make or break, you need to keep your business on track, and manage the members all at the same time. Going forward in 2017 and into 2018 it promises to be an adventure. Smart and disciplined small gym businesses will be well placed to make the most of it as the mystery unfolds.
Club Industry Staff. Participation in Virtual Fitness Classes Can Boost On-Site Retention, Wexer Report Says. May 25, 2017. http://www.clubindustry.com/studies/participation-virtual-fitness-classes-can-boost-site-retention-wexer-report-says (accessed July 22, 2017).
Fagan, Lawrence. AR Augments Your Fitness Center For A New Reality. March 17, 2017. https://blog.gyminsight.com/wp-admin/edit.php?s=augmented&post_status=all&post_type=post&action=-1&m=0&cat=0&paged=1&action2=-1 (accessed July 2, 2017).
—. Will Virtual Reality Be Coming To Your Fitness Center Soon? February 13, 2017. https://blog.gyminsight.com/4269-will-virtual-reality-be-coming-to-your-fitness-center-soon/ (accessed March 2, 2017).
Zabonik, Rachel. The Tipping Point: The Need for Clubs to Evolve is Now. February 3, 2014. http://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2014/02/tipping-point-need-clubs-evolve-now/ (accessed July 22, 2017).