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SGT: The Key to Post-COVID-19 Success


The rug has just been pulled out from under us, and we are all scrambling, waiting to see what the new norm will look and feel like. Many industry leaders are challenging us to use this time to question and re-evaluate our businesses — essentially, to take this unforeseen opportunity and “hit the reset button.”

Club business efficiency will be more important than ever in order to rebuild. Now is the time to take the information we know to optimize our revenue and profit centers. According to the 2019 IRHSA Profiles of Success Report, small group training (SGT) is the most profitable department, producing a margin of 43.7%.

Many club owners have wanted to launch a successful SGT department, as they are aware of the importance of this profit on their businesses. However, many have reported being trapped or hindered by their free group exercise offerings.

Unfortunately, over the years of trying to keep up with the trends, club owners have fallen into the trap of adding more and more free class offerings to their timetables — high intensity interval training (HIIT), CORE, boxing and bootcamp classes. In fact, they’re trying anything new to prove to members they are being innovative and offering the latest.

This regrettably has led to some clubs literally offering hundreds of free classes a week on their timetables. As a result, it directly translated to a huge cost in weekly wages.

Many of these free classes are, in fact, better suited to being delivered in a small group format. This format lends itself to an environment of better individual coaching. It allows for progressive programming with more exercise and equipment variation, along with real connections and camaraderie in a smaller team of members. 

Many club owners are often heard saying, “I wish I could start fresh with my program offerings. If I could, I wouldn’t have all these free classes on my timetable.” Ironically, the success of many clubs’ SGT departments (and in return their financial success) is being hamstrung by their very own free class offerings.

Club owners’ wishes of starting fresh is now a reality. In relaunching our clubs post-COVID-19, we can improve the balance of our exercise offerings — free and SGT — to increase our much needed bottom line.

When opening our doors again, we know it will be a different landscape. Our members and communities are coming out of isolation. Several have been in a world of virtual connection and will be seeking real social connection.

There will initially be a certain requirement for physical distancing. The beauty of a profitable SGT offering is that it lends itself to smaller groups and teams. Coaches can comfortably give guidance to team members while they exercise safely with space around them.

We’ve been offered this ability to realign and become more proficient in our businesses. Take this opportunity to outsource the best SGT programs on the market to streamline revenue, and connect members back to our clubs and each other.

Sue Richard is the co-founder of TRIBE Team Training®, as well as a successful full-service facility club owner for 12-plus years. She can be reached at info@tribeteamtraining.com or by visiting tribeteamtraining.com.


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