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Addressing Universal Fitness Industry Concerns


There are a number of concerns that are universal in the fitness industry:

  • Intense competition
  • Lacking a unique selling proposition (USP) — differentiation
  • Lacking operating systems
  • Lacking sales training
  • Missing marketing calendar
  • Lacking multiple profit centers
  • Understanding what members want
  • Non-dues revenue options

Intense competition, not only from multiple brick and mortar location openings, but also online class memberships, adding a new dimension to the concern of competition.  Handle the upcoming other issues, and this initial concern will diminish significantly. Do that.

USP: What do you do that they don’t or can’t? Knowing this, or having this, is what will keep the doors open and business flourishing. Do that.

Operating systems are a must for every department or process implemented within the business. Without systems, employees can’t perform, can’t duplicate, and most assuredly can’t be successful. Systems allow operations to run efficiently, smoothly and reliably.  Do that.

Sales training is key for every employee, even those who aren’t directly responsible for sales. Too many fitness businesses fall flat in this important part of the business, not considering the impact — often until it’s too late. Fitness trainers don’t tend to like sales, so relying on them might be a mistake worth avoiding. Work on that.

An annual marketing calendar will allow the business to be prepared for the monthly behavior and patterns of consumers. Are you waiting until February to market for a Valentine special? That should have happened back in early January. Do that.

Multiple profit centers shouldn’t be confused with trying to be everything to everyone. This goes back to the USP — Who are you? What do you do? And why do you do what you do? If you can get two or three profit centers all functioning with a systematic approach, you’re well beyond your peers.  The saying is to “maximize your per square foot revenue.” Definitely do that.

Understanding your members is huge. What did they say they wanted when they joined? Are you listening and providing the 100% solution? If they say they want to lose weight, have more energy and feel more confident, do you have what it takes to fulfill that goal? Universally, it’s understood that 80% of overall transformation results are attributed to nutrition. That leaves a huge margin if you aren’t addressing this subject in a way that not only serves your members, but is delivered in a systematic way. You need a system for sales, servicing, implementing and executing. Don’t leave nutrition up to the trainer to sell and service — his isn’t their role, nor should it be. Give your customers what they want. They have a problem and you should be able to effectively solve it. Definitely do that.

Non-dues revenue is generated through means other than membership dues.  It sounds obvious, but many fitness businesses are more focused on monthly dues versus finding auxiliary options to increase revenue in other ways. In some ways, this is similar to multiple profit centers but can be thought of in a different context of various departments all contributing to the bottom line and success of the business other than membership dues. Do that.

Carolyn Fetters is the CEO and founder of Balanced Habits™, who has partnered with 175 fitness businesses all across the U.S. and Canada. Reach her at carolyn@balancedhabits.com or www.balancedhabits.com.


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