It happens to just about every health club at one point or another: business booms, new member enrollment is steady and all of a sudden people begin to cancel their memberships. The phone doesn't ring as often. Interest in new club memberships dips. The business stagnates. This phenomenon is bound to happen to your gym. What matters is how you respond to the challenge. Identifying the cause of the downtick in business is essential to overcoming stagnation. Let's take a look at some of the top reasons for health club business slow-downs and how to respond in a proactive manner.
A Flawed Marketing Strategy
The manner and extent in which you advertise and brand your health club is critically important to growing your member base. Execution is often the most important component of marketing. You can craft the perfect logo, slogan, and tone only to see the effort fall flat as a result of poor execution. If you aren't a marketing guru, consider bringing a marketing professional on board.
A gym that does not employ the proper people is doomed to fail. Seek out individuals who genuinely care about physical fitness and member wellness. It is not enough to simply hire personnel. You must train them properly. Furthermore, staff members should be flexible enough to change as the business evolves over time.
Minimal Standards and Controls
Set the bar high for your staff. Once you establish expectations you must implement control systems so those standards are met. The lack of such controls will ultimately yield disappointing results.
The Wrong Attitude
The attitude of your staff toward members as well as one another matters a great deal. Staff members should not lose sight of the fact that gym customers are the sole reason for their paycheck. Gym members should be treated kindly even if they are demanding or annoying. Though some customers will never be satisfied, staff members should never stop trying to please. Otherwise, members will inevitably complain and word will spread about how your fitness club staff is unfriendly toward paying customers.
A Lack of Leadership
Every gym staff needs a passionate leader who provides guidance and direction. The owner and manager should have a clear vision for the business. They should be determined, reliable and cordial. These are the character traits that inspire staff members to give their all.
The Failure to Incorporate Technology in the Proper Manner
Technology has the potential to make or break a business. Don't push high-tech solutions to the point that your staff becomes overwhelmed. Alternatively, completely neglecting technology will put your health club at a significant competitive disadvantage. The bottom line is tech requires a delicate balance.
Do not lose sight of the fact that each time a tech malfunction occurs your staff is forced to troubleshoot the problem, implement a fix and possibly deal with a subsequent malfunction again. Use tech solutions only as far as they enhance the member experience without compromising your staff's ability to improve the health club experience.
Resting on Your Laurels
Do not assume your gym will continue to enjoy success just because success occurred in the past. There is no guarantee members will renew their membership or that others will sign up. Those who become complacent eventually fail to implement improvements and ultimately lose sight of business goals.
The Failure to Invest in the Business
Your gym must evolve as time progresses. Regular investment in your business is essential to its continued growth. Gym evolution occurs when money is spent on new exercise machines, new group classes, skilled instructors, remodeling old and dilapidated portions of the facility and so on. If necessary, secure financial support from investors or take advantage of a line of credit. Continually invest in your gym and it will prove that much more enticing to current and prospective members.
A Reluctance to Change
What worked a couple years ago might not work in today's business climate or that of the future. So don't be stubborn. The best gym owners and managers adapt to change and continue to progress in a manner that pleases members. So take some time to review your fitness club's strategies and policies at least once per quarter. Make the appropriate changes as necessary to facilitate continued growth.
Letting Fitness Services Become Stale
View the facility from the perspective of member who joined a few years ago or even half a decade ago. Consider what his experience is like. If the club has not changed or has changed very little since he has joined, it is time to make some improvements. Otherwise, members will find the fitness club experience to be static and boring. Spice things up with new classes, equipment, locker room amenities, personal trainer services and other offerings to keep your members fully engaged.