The average gym subscriber will walk into the gym, work out, and head home, and to them, running a gym seems easy. But the truth is that it is becoming harder by the day due to a number of factors, including increasing competition, struggle to consistently land members, and the difficulty associated with day-to-day operations. It’s no surprise that according to Investopedia, most gyms don’t make it past year one.
Now, what are the helpful but unpopular ideas about running a gym? Well, most people who get into the business don’t know that it takes more than a great location and excellent equipment to run a successful gym.
As a gym owner, you’ll have to make decisions on strategy, finances, marketing, hiring, and several other things.
This guide explores the day-to-day challenges you’ll experience while running a gym. So, if you’re wondering how to run a gym effectively, this article is for you.
1. You Are Not Just a Trainer
Because most gym owners switch from being trainers, they often experience a massive shift in responsibilities. They also have to get into the mindstate of a business owner, which can be quite challenging. Even though no one who owns a gym dreams of doing paperwork all the time, it’s still part of the job.
At the start, you would have to take on a lot of responsibility like focusing on marketing, sales, and maybe even supervising the gym’s cleaning. The truth is, your success will depend on your ability to make the switch as much as your desire for success when owning a gym franchise.
2. You’ll Always Have to Create Your Own Leads
After an extended period of planning, researching, and designing, you may be surprised that not many people aren’t interested in your gym. There may be new competition or the people in your area may simply be interested in other forms of exercise.
It will become your responsibility to market your establishment and generate leads. So, it’s a good idea to start thinking about using a combination of strategies, from launching campaigns to devising clever ways to get people in the door.
3. You Have to Build Multiple Streams of Revenue
Gyms cannot depend on the funds generated from just the memberships. The most successful gyms get revenue from selling classes and personal trainer packages, and selling other goods and services.
When owning a gym franchise for the first time, people make the mistake of focusing on only membership fees in the first year. While it is essential to sustain your gym in its early stages, you also have to build alternate revenue sources.
Another great revenue stream is making a deal and allowing independent PTs to train clients in your gym.
4. Think about Making Connections and Building Networks
If you’ve ever started a business you’ll know that people are very eager to give you advice. While that’s great, you have to make sure to take advice from the right people. That includes experienced gym owners and other successful Workout Pros in your niche.
You’ll need to think about making connections, preferably with other gym owners who aren’t direct competitors, and ask them for some sage wisdom. You should also consider networking with other business owners because they understand how difficult it is to run a business and can give you invaluable advice.
5. You Should Create and Record Your Strategies
When you run a gym, you’ll sometimes have to try out gym management strategies to draw in customers, and unfortunately, not all of them will pan out. It’s a good idea to document all these attempts, including why they failed and what you can do better. That way, you can refer to them in the future when creating new strategies.
Things will be hectic at the start, and you want to be able to take a step back to make evaluations as often as possible. This is a great habit that allows you to understand what has worked and failed and how to apply them to different areas of the business. If it feels like a lot of work, just think how it will help you attract new members to your gym.
6. Developing a Retention Game Plan is Critical
It takes more energy to get new gym members than it takes to keep registered ones. Therefore, retention has to be top-of-mind for you because your gym’s success or failure depends on it. essential to your gym’s growth and sustenance.
You can prioritize retention by organizing regular events that members can join. You can also maintain regular communication with members, track their progress, and conduct referral programs.
7. Discounts Will be the Death of Your Gym
Although you may be a little tempted to offer discounts in the early stages of your gym, experienced gym owners will give you a thousand and one reasons why that’s a bad idea.
Usually, discounts develop a culture that portrays your gym as a low-quality discount gym. Additionally, people will begin to expect these discounts and low rates every time they want to renew their membership. This culture will encourage your members to rank your services lower, and ground your gym’s growth.
Finally, this practice affects how much cash comes into your gym. Your establishment should generate enough revenue to pay your gym owner salary, coaches, and other staff. You can’t do that and still make a profit if you discount all the time. Instead, you should be deploying strategies that will generate more money for your gym.
8. Sales Training is a Plus
If you have sales training, you will be a better gym owner than someone who doesn’t. Everything from hiring trainers and negotiating compensation to buying new equipment requires some sales skills.
Even if you’re not involved in day-to-day marketing, understanding sales will help you coordinate your gym’s activities much better, and you can invest in strategies that will yield a great return.
9. Avoid Excessive Overhead Costs
The fastest way to weigh down your gym is to attach it to huge bills and debts. Unfortunately, this is a slippery slope as the bills stack up pretty quickly. The key is to evaluate every bill and ask yourself if it’s absolutely essential.
There are critical ones like rent, equipment purchases, and the addition of extra gym facilities. With others like trainers, you can pay them on a commission basis or strike a deal that doesn’t saddle you with ridiculous bills.
10. Do Not Hire Your Family and Friends
Mixing business with personal relationships never ends well, and this holds true whether you’re running a gym or a lemonade stand.
While this isn’t strictly gym business advice, it’s definitely something to remember. Don’t hire your relative just because they are a personal trainer, and you can work out a better agreement. It makes firing them much harder down the road.
It’s also a good idea to pick your business partners based on their strengths and what they can offer.
The Bottom Line
There are many things to consider if you’re thinking about how to open a gym. Apart from getting the items on opening a gym checklist, you should also develop a knack for management in people and organizational aspects.
Your goal should be to attract and retain patrons in the long run. But also remember to employ an excellent money management strategy to sustain your establishment past its development stages.