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Reimagine Your Business


Chez Misko, the COO of Wisconsin Athletic Club, shares why you should reimagine your business to take it further than you were pre-COVID.

The Wisconsin Athletic Club opened in March of 1976. At that time, we were cleverly called “The Racquetball Club” because all we offered was racquetball. Since then, the health and sports club industry has changed and evolved. Many racquetball-only clubs closed in the 1980s and 1990s as the popularity of the sport declined and as other fitness programs grew more prominent. Today, I am not aware of any racquetball-only clubs remaining in the country.  

Instead of meeting the same fate, we made the decision to evolve with the times and add other programs and services. Looking back, that was clearly the right decision, but I can tell you at the time it was a difficult process. Decking racquetball courts to add group fitness programs is not easy or popular when all your existing members play racquetball and handball. 

I share this story because once again as a business, and even more so as an industry in general, we find ourselves at a point in time when we have to change and evolve or face extinction. Moving forward, COVID-19 will have a significant effect on how we operate our business.  

Do not fall into the trap many of the racquetball-only club owners did and believe everything will come back in a few months or years. Sit down with your management team and reimagine where you need to take the business, not just how to get back to where you were before COVID-19.  

Some examples of items in your business that should be reevaluated are:

  • How you innovate your program offerings and determine new revenue streams.
  • Correctly sizing your staffing model and compensation plans.
  • How you embrace technology and use it effectively in your business.
  • Reimagine the spaces in your facility: the size, the way it makes people feel, etc.
  • Equipment layout, type and quantity needed.
  • What is your customer going to require in the future that you don’t do now? 

I am confident our industry will survive COVID-19. Those that reimagine their business will be leading the way. 

Good luck and stay positive during this challenging time. 

Chez Misko

Chez Misko is the COO of Wisconsin Athletic Club.

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