When Is Now A Good Time For Planning And Strategy?
Finding strategy and purpose in the fitness industry is perhaps not as challenging as in some other business sectors. However, it always pays to pause and reflect occasionally, on such things as strategy and planning for the future of your small gym business.
Getting The Right Answer Means Asking Good Questions
If you want to find direction for your strategy, ask yourself, how can you better serve your membership? It is never a wrong time to think about this question. Is your business a fitness club or is it fitness? There is a saying attributed to Theodore Levitt. It says something like, "People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, what they want is a quarter-inch hole."
Isn’t it true that your members are seeking solutions, not products or services? Always! You should be working every day to provide a more focus appeal to deliver the solution that gives you the best position in your market and highest return on your investment.
You can ask this about your membership and about your own intentions. Why are you doing this? Why a business in fitness? I have asked that question of myself too.
Build Your Own Software Solution
As the founder and designer of Gym Insight, the software I build was designed from the beginning to facilitate solutions. Perhaps by happy accident, I hit on the right solution because it was my gym that needed it.
It wasn’t until after I began showing my work to my peers that I realized there was a market for it. That realization was a lesson in itself, it was the insight that crystallized as a gym management system.
I had the coding skills and training as a software developer, but Fitness has always been my passion. I needed to keep track of the people coming and going from my new gym business. I didn’t create Insight to impress anyone, I created it as a solution that filled a hole in my business. Happily, it turned out other gym owners in my circle needed the same solution.
The Genesis Of Gym Insight
My reasons for founding a business in fitness were complex and personal. So, I had to look at the reasons people use my gym too to find my market fit. Whether you’ve just opened a small gym business or you operate a fitness corporation, you should still look for insights into the motivators for your membership.
Ask yourself, as your membership has grown, who stayed and who churned most quickly? Can you identify a specific persona for your typical members? Are there two or more personas that you have identified?
If you use the Insight Gym Management Software System, you have reports that identify many things about your members. You can use these reports to determine the broad outline of the gym membership personas that help you reach your objectives.
You find out more if you engage with members and ask questions. The most basic engagement is just talking to people. Of course, when I say talk I mean you should ask an open question and listen to the answer. If you have a basic level of rapport with your members, this should be simple. If not, then now is the time to start conversations.
Leveraging Technology To Discover Your Strategy
Platforms like surveymonkey.com make polls and ballots easy to implement. The trick is to entice your members to take the survey. Perhaps a link on your website or Facebook page is all you need. Alternatively, a printed notice that includes a QR code for the link might work better for you.
If you have a mailing list, include a link in your newsletter. If your members are engaged enough to take a survey without coaxing, that’s a plus. However, you can set any enticement you give against your marketing budget.
Know Your Membership And Find Your Plan
The secret of your strategy is to know what your members want from your gym. When you help members get what they want, they will stay longer, be more engaged, and buy more premium services from you.
Focus your strategy and planning on what your members really want. Discovering these insights will maximize your revenue and keep your business growing. Whatever else you might want to achieve, a thriving fitness business is an excellent foundation to get you there.
Fagan, Lawrence. Gym Member Personas: Who Are These Idealized People? September 9, 2017. https://blog.gyminsight.com/4611-gym-member-personas-who-are-these-idealized-people/ (accessed September 20, 2017).
Harvard Business Review. “What Business Are You In? Classic Advice From Theodore Levitt.” Harvard Business Review, October 2006.
Volger, Shannon. Strategy is Key to Running a Winning Fitness Business. March 12, 2018. https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/strategy-is-key-to-running-a-winning-fitness-business (accessed April 8, 2018).