8 Straight Facts You Must Know Before You Step Into The Fitness Industry
he Health and Fitness industry has grown tremendously in the last decades. Presently the market size of the industry has been estimated at a whopping 96 billion US dollars and counting. In the USA alone, the sector is forecast to reach 32 billion dollars, despite the COVID pandemic partially smothering the growth. The industry is once again back on its feet. Do you remember the good, old saying, “a healthy mind dwells in a healthy body”, well it looks like the world has finally opened its eyes to it.
The fitness industry is expanding and diversifying. Today, fitness has become a trend, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a priority. Even during a pandemic like COVID when gyms and personal training studios were shut down, the use of online fitness apps increased multifold.
The industry is booming at a higher pace and for investors, it is a great opportunity to pour in their money. The industry is rewarding and has huge potential but there are many things about which one has to be careful before creating any successful business. If you want to start a fitness business, here are a few things you can keep in mind before starting a fitness business and consequently make it successful and lucrative.
01. Need of a successful gym business plan
Before investing and starting with any kind of fitness business or personal training business, it is necessary to chew the fat (no pun intended) and ponder over what kind of business you want to get into - whether you want to start a health studio, a gym, a Zumba or yoga center or just a personal training studio? Or everything altogether? The choice made should be well informed, keeping every aspect in mind from investment to maintenance to feasibility. You just can’t start without proper research or knowledge. For example, if you are opening a Pilates training center, make sure you know the intricacy of trade, ground reality, and feasibility of attracting enough business. Here's an article that would walk you through the key elements of a gym business plan.
02. Figure out your lane
Before you begin your fitness studio, make sure you have the necessary skillset and know the niche you want to get in. Maybe you want to start a personal training program then it's important you are trained in that skill and deliberate over entering that arena of the fitness business. Proper research, exposure, and experience can make this decision easy for you. Develop a comprehensive plan, formulate a strategy and go ahead with it. This further has many dimensions -
- Find a market with need - Before starting your fitness business, it’s necessary to investigate and stay acquainted with market receptivity and competition. It’s better to explore unclaimed niches than over-exploited ones. For example, don’t start a gym at a place where there are dozens of gyms already, maybe start one in a locality where there is less competition. Like nature, the market also works on the principle of resource partitioning and competition. Go on the hunt where there are enough water buffaloes rather than the crowded swamps.
- Determine the growth potential - Proper research and analysis are invaluable for fitness business planning. You need to look at the growth potential for the type of fitness business you are planning to start. For example, it has been observed that recently boutique studios have been making huge profits. There is immense growth potential in tier 3 and 4 cities than already saturated places. The industry is expanding and diversifying. It has huge growth potential if one is smart enough to milk the right cow.
- Heal the pain points of the target audience with your service - A pain point is a specific problem that potential customers of your business are experiencing. Now, focus on addressing these issues and reassure your customers about the primacy of the service you will provide. Customers might experience issues like unskilled trainers, lack of member support, and one-way approach by owners. And if you can troubleshoot these issues - it will help you stand out and build credibility. For this, you need to have a look at your competitors, reach their unsatisfied customers, communicate with them, and work upon your service in that direction.
03. Market your product effectively to skyrocket sales
To start a successful fitness business, it’s necessary to promote it, publicize it properly, and have a marketing strategy aligned to attract enough clients. Technology and social media have created numerous opportunities to market and promote any product and if it is done rightly, it can render good returns. Here are a few points that can be kept in mind.
- Promote - To start a successful fitness business, it’s necessary to promote it, publicize it properly, and have a marketing strategy aligned to attract enough clients. Technology and social media have created numerous opportunities to market and promote any product and if it is done rightly, it can render good returns. Here are a few points that can be kept in mind.
- Discounts, do count! – Discounts in membership prices can be a good promoting strategy and can attract a crowd. Everyone likes discounts, and providing discounts initially can help in building a strong customer base. The prices can be increased to default gradually, once trust and reliability have been achieved.
- Marketing partners – Collaborating with people or fitness centers having the same interests and target audience, for example, collaborating with a supplement chain or footwear store could help you tap their customer base and in turn, increase your reach and revenue.
04. Prioritize the changing client-needs
For any fitness business to be successful, member feedback must be valued and respected as every member is also an agent of the brand to the outside world. Good member experience can help attract customers and build business whereas bad member response can affect the reputation causing a business loss. So, you must listen to your customers and value what they think. Are you still navigating your way through the first year of your gym ownership? Find to how you can do it with much ease.
05. Keep polishing your employees and instructors
There is a constant need to train your instructors and keep them ahead in the training techniques. This attracts more and more clients. You must find good and well-trained instructors for your gym as the staff is what will drive your fitness business ahead. Good and experienced staff can turn out to become an X- factor for your business and don’t worry, investing in them will not be a waste of your resources, and profit, in turn everything will soon get multiplied. If you hire trained instructors, more clients are likely to come and continue their membership. Skilled trainers can help build a reputation for your fitness studio and keep your clients coming back to you.
06. You must set realistic goals
It's okay to be ambitious but is important to set realistic goals. At the end of the day, goals are set to be met. Plan out the objectives with your employees & instructors in order to accomplish them in the near future. Starting or running a business requires conscious planning. For a healthy business, it’s important to consistently update goals and work towards them. Any action without proper planning can result to be catastrophic for the business. It’s one thing to have dreams and ideas but one just can’t indulge in reverie, thus it becomes crucial to set realistic goals. So, we encourage you to follow the S.M.A.R.T business approach to set and attain goals for your fitness business. Let’s have a look, what it is and how it can help you to plan your fitness business -
- Specific – Everyone in the industry wants to ‘grow’ their business but you have to set a clear target in your mind and then work towards it like “opening three countrywide branches by next year.” It will help you channelize your energy and resources better too.
- Measurable – The goals you set for your fitness business must be measurable, so you can keep a check on your business’s progress and growth. And it must contribute to your long-term goal. For example, you can resolve to ‘add X number of clients by the end of year’ or ‘Double the gym membership by end of the quarter.’
- Attainable - The goals you set should be feasible like it might be unviable to open three countrywide branches within a year of opening your first health studio. So, the goals set should be achievable.
- Relevant – The goals you set should be relevant and in sync with your long-term plans for your fitness business. You must ask yourself questions like does adding more clients or increasing revenues help you in establishing your studio as a business brand? If yes, then work for it passionately.
- Time-Bound – A target without a deadline is just a fantasy? It has also been found that setting deadlines can further improve productivity, track progress, and prevent things from getting lousy. Hence, it’s important to set deadlines and have a time-bound action plan.
07. Never expect a consistent market throughout the year
The ups and downs in the market are inevitable. Stay prepped for future uncertainties. Many times, it is observed that novice entrepreneurs get uneasy seeing the inconsistent market revenue and sales, and it is quite understandable. According to Ashley Selman, owner of Evolution Trainers in Mountain View, CA, "Eighty-one percent of studios close or fail in the first year,”
But it’s advised to be patient with the market as good things come to those who wait. Very few businesses experience steady profits initially and it is tizzy for most ventures.
The fitness industry is highly competitive and mostly big business brands (with immense resources at their end) dominate the arena but no need to lose hope as the industry is dense but not impenetrable. So, if you are starting a fitness business or already running one, there are a few things you can do to stabilize your revenues like implementing an aggressive Business Strategy, Identifying what the market needs, and keeping your focus intact on customer retention.
08. Wear as many hats as possible
Offer more and more products & services so that your clients don't have to go to another service provider. It is frequently suggested that it is ideal to devote your time and attention to a single subject or field. Many people believe that focusing on one thing but does not necessarily apply to the fitness industry. In the fitness industry, it is more, the merrier. If you can offer more facilities to your customer, more diversity in terms of service then your business will rise. Many times, customers look for one single place for many different things. It is more convenient and time-saving for them. For example, you could couple fitness training with a Zumba studio or calisthenics. Now, this will not only help you weather market fluctuation but solve the issue of inconsistent revenue also. You will always have something to offer and people will stick. You can identify another product or service to complement what is offered now. Both require intimate knowledge of the customers and their lives beyond your offer.
What all does your fitness business need to succeed in 2021?
The change in the needs of the clients and their preference for a more personalized approach led to the dynamic business model prevalent in the industry. 'Clients first' is the dimension in which every fitness business or studio is operating right now, and those who are not are quite behind in the race.
Running a gym or fitness business is an edifying experience that allows you to assist people in living a healthier and better life. The post-COVID world has come with different challenges and opportunities, there are many things that now need to be done differently. Thus, before you roll off on your journey, here are a few things you can do to hit the home run !
- Adaptable - Adapt as per the current requirements and provide a greater member experience. It's time to embrace change and go hybrid. Online personal training has been the number 1 fitness trend in 2021. The number of available fitness apps increased by 5.66 percent from 2019 to 2020 and as of 2020, there are over 49,890 fitness apps available. Hence, it is only wise to transform and adapt your fitness model to changing market needs. You can do this by adopting a hybrid model where online classes go along with in-class experience.
- Follow appropriate safety measures & maintain hygiene - Post pandemic people are a lot more conscious about health, fitness, and hygiene. Customers are returning back to gyms with all the precautions but still, there is an uneasiness amongst customers. Hence, it becomes important to make sure all guidelines are followed and people feel safe to come back. In a poll conducted by Upswell Marketing, nearly 40% of clients said they’d actually prefer to work out at a gym. Nearly half (46.8%) of those surveyed said sanitation and hygiene is one of the deciding factors for choosing a gym or fitness studio.
- Offer Improved engagement through a community-driven approach - Pandemic has hit hard on the mental health of people. They are now getting out of their homes to interact and get fitter. This is the right time to seize the opportunity and offer them a close-knitted community of fitness enthusiasts. A community-driven approach can help you build credibility, earn a good reputation among customers, reach potential customers through word of mouth and retain existing customers. For example, introducing add-on yoga or meditation classes can help you fetch more customers.
Are you all set to be a part of the fitness industry’s boom?
There is no doubt that the fitness industry is a hot pot for investment right now. It is a stable and rewarding industry. Today’s society is fitness conscious and is ready to spend whatever amount they can to remain healthy and fit. The old and traditional ways are being replaced by the new, modern way. Even during a pandemic, when people could not go to the gym, the usage of fitness apps increased tremendously. At last, it’s safe to conclude that there are immense opportunities and with the right approach and right planning you can make it BIG! Seize your chance!
Here's some much-needed motivation, we are sending your way. It’s okay to be anxious and feel overwhelmed in the initial months but stay dedicated and don’t lose your morale. If you remain dedicated till the end and with the right choices, success will be yours. So, just take a deep breath and jump into the industry by keeping the aforementioned tips in your mind.
We wish you all the very best in this journey and once you gain momentum, you might need a fitness studio management software that empowers you with the right tools to manage and grow your brand. For that, you can book a demo with us and give your clients a user experience that is beyond comparison.