How to Succeed in the Health Club Business

August 13, 2012

By: Jim Thomas
Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting

Will your gym business thrive, or will it join others that have faltered along the way? Here are some basic rules to make sure your gym business grows and prospers:

1. Find a Niche. For independent gyms, it is best to find a niche. A small gym with limited resources can efficiently serve niche markets. This entails sticking to what you do best, and becoming an expert at it. Realize that you can’t be all things to all people.

2. Be a small gym, yet think like a big gym. The most common question of small gym start-ups is “How can I compete with the bigger competition?“ Small gyms have inherent advantages over the big clubs, including flexibility, ability to respond quickly, and the ability to provide a more personalized member service. Make sure that your gym takes maximum advantage of those areas that represent the strengths of small clubs.

3. Differentiate your gym services. Present the benefits of your products and services to your members, highlighting the unique solutions it offers to their problems. Avoid doing what everyone else is doing. Study your competition, and package your fitness services distinctly.

4. First impression counts. Strive for accuracy and quality the first time around. Many times you do not have a second chance to make a good first impression with members and guests. This entails a well-laid out gym, courteous staff, and personable voice over the phone, etc. Make sure that you and your gym staff are always presentable, professional in your ways and knowledgeable about your gym.

5. Good reputation. Your gym business hinges on its reputation. It is imperative that you build a good reputation for the quality of your fitness products and support services.

6. Constant improvement. Gym owners should not be rigid in their ways of thinking in their quest to improve their gym. You risk being left behind if you cling to the “this is how we’ve always done it” kind of thinking. The gym business environment today demands that you need to come up with new solutions fast!

7. Listen to your members. Listen and react to your member’s needs. Members need to feel that they are important to you because they are. When you focus on your members and gain their trust, they will not only refer you to their friends but they will also remain loyal to you. Personal referrals and word-of-mouth, are the least costly yet most effective marketing strategy for your gym.

8. Plan of action for success. A gym owner should understand the power of planning and have a written plan of action. A good plan helps you increase your chances of succeeding and can help you define your gym concepts, estimate costs, predict membership sales and control your risks. It tells you where you are going and how to get there.

9. Be innovative in your gym. Innovation should also cover your operations from pricing, promotion, member service, web site, etc. Keep your eyes open for new ways of doing things, and apply those that can improve the quality of your fitness products and efficiency of your gym operation. Stay current with technology.

10. Work smart. As a gym owner, you need to possess self-confidence, plus a never-ending sense of urgency to develop your ideas. Gym owners who succeed in owning their own club are far-sighted and can accept things as they are and deal with them accordingly. They know how to manage their time, realizing the importance of leisure in as much as work. They are quick to change directions when they see their plans are not working. They recognize their weak points and move on to nurture alliances and acquire the skills they need to put their gym on the right track. They realize the importance of working smart, knowing that it is not the quantity of work you do, but what you do and how well you do it.

Now, go make your club a success.

Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting