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9 Solid Ways To Drive Results In The First Year Of Gym Ownership!

Customer Success Team
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A gym owner is likely to make mistakes when they first step into the fitness industry. After all, mistakes and gym ownership go hand in hand. That being said, just because mistakes are unavoidable in a business doesn't imply that the most common mistakes, which owners running a gym often make, should be ignored. There should be processes in place for avoiding errors and techniques for overcoming them if and when they do occur.

When compared to other businesses, owning a gym is not as easy. Moreover maintaining and making your gym successful is a different matter altogether. An entrepreneur’s first question while starting his or her business would be; would opening a gym be profitable or not? That profitability depends on a lot of factors, and as a new gym owner, you're likely to make mistakes in the initial year which can make your gym ownership unprofitable. That's why it's so vital to understand how to safeguard your business from such mistakes.

According to a survey of Forbes Media, 20% of small firms fail in the first year, and just 50% survive to reach the fifth year. There is no exception when it comes to gyms as many get launched and shut down at an alarming rate in most places. The question here is; why gyms fail?

The reason for their failure to succeed in this industry is not because they lack motivation, but instead the lack of foresight as they are unable to execute their ideas to bear desirable outcomes. By following some essential insight however, you can turn around your gym's direction so that it would not only sustain in the market but become a good revenue generator for you.

It is imperative to keep some things in mind before you start or own a gym. Failing to effectively manage your gym might lead to an increase in outgoing clients and a decrease in retention rate. It's not simple to own a gym or a fitness facility, but it can be highly lucrative if you're ready to put in the effort. Here’s how you can start. First, ascertain the cost and then look into the requirements of opening a gym in 2022. Later on, get on to executing your plan and don't forget to lookout for these 9 solid ways to drive results in the first year of your gym business.

01. Master your gym ownership with pre-sales

Early sales might help ease some of the burdens of high expenditures as your firm grows. Your gym's opening day isn't the best time to start selling as the best time is much before the opening. Assemble your clientele somewhere, build one-on-one relationships with them and recruit staff who will bring their own clients. Make sure you do everything to have customers lined up at the door on the first day.

In order to succeed in the first year of your gym ownership, you need to stay focused and avoid making any significant mistakes while you're just starting out. Begin your pre-sale months before the opening of the gym. Lots of business owners running a gym don’t start their pre-sale until they are just a few weeks away from opening. And that ideally shouldn’t be the case. Pre-sales are essential in the months before the opening. There is already a lot to be done before the opening and you wouldn’t want more things on your plate.

Increase the amount coming in by offering discounts on pre-sale memberships. Since people are not aware of your brand, the discount will drive them to step foot inside your gym. 

Moreover, first-time owners running a gym must invest heavily in pre-sale marketing & advertising. How many presale memberships you can sell will depend on how many people know about your business and its upcoming opening. Employees of the locations that allow you access to their bulletin boards may be offered discounts. As a result, more people will be aware of your brand.

02. Create a powerful retention strategy 

Client retention strategy sounds like a fancy word and even when it comes to practice, it can be quite difficult to implement. The cost of acquiring a new member is 9 times more than retaining an existing one. Retention is a crucial aspect for every business to flourish.

In the absence of a retention strategy, you'll continually be on the lookout for new talent. You'll never know where your next client will come from. Your gym profit margins will fluctuate, and you'll always be thinking about your limited revenue bucket, floating up and down like the sea waves.  As a result, not only will you suffer, but your gym ownership will suffer as well as your clients will be able to sense that lack of vitality.

Set short-term goals for your members, but offer them new long-term goals so they feel like they need you to teach them and help them become the best versions of themselves. You must learn how to play the game of internet marketing, which requires a lot of practice. Build your gym's clientele and learn to systematize its retention methods. Marketing campaigns, emails, and social media may help you establish your brand's presence and reach new clients.

Know more about retaining clients through our blog on fitness challenges and assessments where we’ve put together some amazing ideas and examples for your gym ownership journey.

03. Keep an eye out on the location of your gym

The key to a good location is to check the availability of enough customers nearby who can keep the gym occupied. But the customers also shouldn't be too many to invite competition. That's because there may be some major rivals nearby who may offer classes or alter their services to compete with you, even if your gym specializes in a certain area of fitness. If you do your research ahead of time, you'll know if the location you've chosen for your gym is suitable.

Although, moving to the same place where some gym is already located might appear like a feasible option but it may not be an ideal find. Because most people in your neighborhood won't be able to tell the difference between your business and the previous one. To them, it's simply a gym and you may end up with a difficult start to begin with.

You can also find yourself competing for a very tiny piece of the pie if the region you're wishing to put foot in already has everything from health clubs to yoga studios to powerlifting gyms in place. Even if you can claim your market, it's would take more time than usual to make your gym ownership profitable. Thereby it is so important to consider a lot of factors before choosing a location for your business.

04. Build an effective lead management process

Lead management is the link that connects marketing and sales. Identifying potential customers (leads) is the first step in the customer acquisition process. Once the leads have been considered qualified, they go from marketing to sales.

Follow an effective 6 step lead management process for a simplified transfer from your gym's marketing to your gym's sales team.

Step 1 - Determine who your customers are and what they want

Step 2 - Generate & gather intelligence about your leads

Step 3 - Score your leads

Step 4 - Keep track of the prospect you’ve already got

Step 5 - Pass on your leads to sales

Step 6 - Keep an eye on your prospects and evaluate their position in the funnel

Last but not least, keep reviewing throughout the process to determine what way of prospecting and securing leads works the best for your gym. Getting a smooth lead management process will take some time, but in the end, it will lead to greater business outcomes for your gym as a whole.

05. Upskill and train your employees

It's critical for a company's success to have and maintain skilled instructors. Great workers may be hard to come by, and if you don't create loyalty among the ones you do have, they may decide to depart for new gyms. This is where training and development for employees come into play. Sending trainers to seminars or contributing to the cost of certification are excellent business practices if your company has the resources to do so. 

If you want your employees to gain new skills, enhance their current ones, and stay motivated to improve, you need to provide a clear route for them to follow. Skill based training, along with one-on-one mentoring will raise the skill level of your staff while also fostering a sense of loyalty. Talented workers are considerably more likely to stay with you if the environment of your gym promotes their growth and development. This would directly impact your gym's profit margins.

06. Market your gym with a consistent strategy 

Marketing your gym with a consistent strategy is what you need for running a gym successfully in its first year. The urge to promote your service as the solution for everyone makes sense if you're new to the business or just getting your gym off the ground. This yes-man approach may bring in a few consumers in the short term of your gym ownership, but it will harm your business in the long run by blurring your marketing strategy and making it difficult for people to understand what you do.

When potential customers can see your strengths and dedication to a certain fitness niche, they are far more likely to perceive your gym as the place to go for achieving those goals. As an alternative, if your marketing strategy and identity are always changing and you appear to be caught up in the current fashion, you will find it difficult to stand out from the crowd.

Pay more attention to the gym community you already have and act on them with your marketing strategy in order to move beyond the average profit margin for fitness centers. Organize get-togethers and contests. Outside of training sessions, make an effort to meet with customers who could benefit from some extra incentive. It takes work to keep people interested, but it's worth it because you'll keep more customers over the long term with a consistent marketing strategy.

07. Build a playbook for all areas of business

Customer success teams need scalable methods, and that's what a playbook is for. A playbook aids in the quality assurance of your customer success methods and fundamentals. Think of playbooks as a basic "if-this-then-that" handbook to assist your team to be proactive. In case of your first gym ownership, your playbook would include methods, tips and tricks on how to run a gym successfully.

During product launches, events, brand marketing, marketers may utilize the same playbook many times, making adjustments as needed for different situations. It's logical to expand on previously successful efforts rather than formulating new ones. What the playbook does is break down the team's plan into specific plays, roles, and duties in order to be successful next time a specific situation arises.

The playbook aids the team in visualizing their goals, understanding the continuous improvement approach, and knowing what is required to meet those goals and be successful. The playbook also provides insights on how to run a gym business in a thriving manner. The workflow's key phases are identified, as well as the individual tasks that go along with them to successfully achieve the organizational goals.

08. What's your secondary revenue generator?

How do gyms make money? In the initial year of operation, it's normal that you only focus on membership acquisition. While it's crucial to your fitness company’s survival, in the beginning, you should absolutely create two additional revenue sources. Additionally, they may aid your acquisition and retention tactics by bringing in a little additional income that could be vital to your company's existence. Those companies that are most successful are the ones that not only increase gym profit margins through core memberships but also diversify into various revenue streams. These streams would ultimately boost the gym owner’s salary.

Events are the most practical revenue source to establish in the revenue base of the first year. Organizing activities have the advantage of getting your members out of the classroom and into a more relaxed environment. In this way, they improve the member experience and try to keep them around longer. When it comes to marketing, the event is also a wonderful opportunity to show off your gym or studio to the general public. The money comes from ticket sales, and you get to meet new people to market your gym. This results in the escalation of your clientele throughout the tenure of your gym ownership.

09. Make use of modern technology

A very important mistake your first year of gym ownership may bring along is that owners running a gym may fail to recognize that while they are in the business of helping people live better lives, it is still a business and it requires adequate business management tools to track and achieve profitability.

If you find it difficult during the course of your gym ownership to manually keep records of your clients, classes, lead management, and what not, then it becomes important to find a gym management software that can ease your burdens.

If you use the right software, you can simplify manual paperwork, streamline your business, and improve customer service. A gym management software helps you automate the vast majority of your business processes, the ones that you have to manually carry out on a daily basis. With a software to handle everything, you can focus on parts of your business that need more attention.

Choose Bookee and see how simple upgrading to modern gym management software is. With Bookee, you get an excellent website integration that seamlessly fits into your existing website design. That way your visitors can sign-up and pay for a class via your website in just three clicks and your personalized web store can help your sell more memberships.

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