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Top Reasons Why Gyms Fail


Fitness clubs are not all created or operated equally. Some feature top of the line fitness equipment. Others are located in busy city centers with many prospective members. Certain gyms are staffed with true fitness gurus who love their jobs. The bottom line is that there are all sorts of nuances that determine whether a gym stands the test of time or folds.

Michael Scott Scudder performed extensive research to pinpoint the top reasons why gyms fail. He studied almost a full decade worth of data on more than 8,000 fitness centers. Below, we discuss the top reasons for gym failure and how to prevent them.

1. How To Properly Fund Your Gym

Too many gym owners make the mistake of funding too little. Many owners only fund the costs to keep the facility's doors open each month. Some of these clubs lacked adequate funding, to begin with. Others did not do enough to generate revenue streams. This revenue can be used for new equipment, talented staff, marketing efforts, renovations, and more.

If your gym lacks an effective sales staff or if you do not have a sales staff, the business could succumb to undercapitalization. Do not rely on rate specials or promotions to recruit members. Hire the right sales staff to bolster your membership enrollment. Add high-quality equipment on a consistent basis and maintain your focus on building a lasting business. Follow these guidelines and you will maximize revenue. It will also allow for reinvestment of profits as time progresses.


2. The Keys To Branding Your Fitness Facility

Fitness clubs that attempt to please every type of member almost always fold. Your facility needs to understand your ideal members. Specialize as a gym that operates in a niche and you will stand a better chance of recruiting new members. You will also retain existing members at a greater rate. A gym that serves a particular niche almost always ends up with a fiercely loyal member base. The same cannot be said of a gym that attempts to provide universal appeal to the masses. With loyal members, you won't rely on discounts and promotions to keep the doors open.

3. The Right Marketing Messaging Strategy for Gyms

Developing a consistent marketing message and sales strategy is vital for your gym's brand. Your marketing efforts play a major role in your identity as a brand. Develop a marketing strategy and stick with it. Prospective customers will remember your gym name, tagline, logo, and brand values.

Key in on your key brand values. Communicate them in a clear manner through consistent advertising. This message should be replicated across all marketing channels. Advertise on traditional outbound channels like TV, radio and newspapers ads. Don't forget inbound channels like social media, mobile apps, and your gym's homepage.


4. How A Local Gym Can Stand Out

The rise of massive budget gym chains makes recruiting and retaining members difficult. These large club chains are in major cities as well as suburbs and even some markets near rural areas. If your facility's equipment is outdated or if your pricing is significantly higher than your competitors, you will lose market share. Focus on how you can compete. Update your gym equipment. Establish a marketable brand identity and hammer home your value proposition. It is the only way to compete with the big boys.


5. Identify Management Talent In Your Gym Staff

If management lacks a clear focus, there will be problems. Management should key in on developing and executing a strategy for successful operations. Management is also vital for continued growth. The facility should have a well-defined talent development system that promotes the right staff. Job openings should be filled after careful credential reviews. Don't rush to promote a lower or mid-level employee to a position after his superior quits. If you rush to fill an open position, it is almost guaranteed to backfire at some point down the line. Employee performance should be reviewed at least once per year. Reward those who hit specific workplace performance benchmarks with raises, promotions, and extra benefits. This positive reinforcement will retain your best staff.

The most successful gym management teams have developed a long-term business strategy. This strategy should also be considered realistic by employees consider. The strategy should be clearly defined, attainable, and reinforced with all staff. In the end, a gym with consistent profit margins, a well-compensated staff, and satisfied members will stand an excellent chance of reaching its long-term goals. Is your facility is lacking in any of these areas? Review your focus, make the necessary changes, and redefine your long-term aims.

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