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Leadership Lessons from Ballarat Body and Soul 24/7 Gym


In 15 years, Ballarat Body and Soul 24/7 Gym in Victoria, Australia has grown from a small group fitness studio to one of the premier 24-hour fitness facilities in the country.

Developing engaging programs, adopting new technology and answering the needs of members are all components of Ballarat’s success — and it has all been driven by the fearless leadership of Mel Tempest, the owner of Ballarat Body and Soul.

To help shed some light on what has made Ballarat so successful, Tempest shares some of the best lessons she’s learned about starting a club from scratch and driving its success with strong leadership:

CS: What’s one great daily habit you’ve developed as a club operator?

MT: I’m on the fitness floor all the time. You shouldn’t just work on your business, you need to work in your business. You need to be speaking to your members on a daily basis, so you need to be seen in your club being proactive — that’s one of the most important elements of running a club.

CS: What role has your fitness programming played in your club’s success?

MT: You should be changing your group fitness timetable a couple of times a year and moving your instructors around. Don’t have the same instructor in the same time slot month after month — move them around a little bit. We need to remember some members can only get to the gym Monday nights at 6:00, and if you’re always delivering the same product at the same time, sooner or later they’re going to seek out another facility with something fresh and exciting. You must be forever evolving your club, asking for feedback and educating your team.

CS: How much does member feedback affect the way you run your club?

MT: Listen to what your members want. I found out within the first week of opening my club the community wanted a non-intimidating environment where they could go and workout, wear tracksuit pants and baggy T-shirts. There was nothing like that in our community, so we changed our business plan straight away to meet the needs of the community.

If you’re going to run a business based on what you want, most likely, you’re not going to be as successful. You might be successful, but you won’t be as successful as you could be otherwise, and you won’t have high retention rates or referral rates.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine. He can be reached at bobby@peakemedia.com.

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