Scaling a fitness facility and growing from a single location to several can be a dream come true for a lot of club owners. When the business model is working, there’s no reason not to expand your brand. Yet, what does scaling really mean? And, does your current business model support growth beyond your single location?
Scaling a fitness facility business means setting the stage to support and enable growth in your business. It means growing without being vulnerable. Doing so requires everything from planning to increased staff as well as funding and adding new technology. The following is a deeper look into the process and organizational system behind scaling. While growth is the financial result of the system, scaling is actually about so much more.
1. Evaluate and Plan
One problem many gym owners face is they want to scale too quickly. To avoid this, take a good look at your business to determine if it is, indeed, ready for more. First take a look at what you need to do to grow membership sales. Do you have the bandwidth to handle it if your business doubled overnight? Do you have the staff and systems in place to handle growth without completely failing? Remember, your reputation is on the line. Your plan should include detailing your sales growth forecast. You’ll need to break down the number of new members and revenue that you hope to generate. Put all of your planning in a spreadsheet and be as detailed as possible. From there, create an expense report that includes the costs of adding extra employees, technology, and more in order to handle twice the size of your current business. Having a documented plan allows you to anticipate issues before they happen. Try to write down everything you can think of and do some research to help fill in the gaps of information you don’t know.
2. Get the Funding
Chances are you’re going to need to hire more staff, purchase a lot more equipment, and install new technology when you add a facility, among other expenses. Scaling a facility comes with a price, so it’s necessary to know going in just how much money you’ll need and where that money will come from. Try to network with as many advisors, investment bankers, consultants and more who are well-versed in all aspects of growth capital and who are capable of helping you seek out some kind of funding. Of course, identifying potential bank funds to accelerate growth for a line of credit or loan is also possible. If that is the avenue you think you’ll want to go down, be sure to start applying sooner rather than later as the process isn’t quick.
3. Secure the Sales
Obviously you want to scale your business because you already know you can sell more. Stay focused by having a sales structure in place that will help you generate more sales. You’ll need:
1. Continuous flow of leads
2. Marketing systems in place to help manage and track your leads
3. A sales team to help follow up with prospects and close leads
4. Technology to handle tracking all your closed sales for billing and more.
Although investing in technology can be pricey upfront, it can actually make it easier and less expensive to scale a business. By automating everything you’ll save time and labor.
4. Hire the Right Staff
Finding the right employees – from front desk to personal trainers and instructors – takes a lot of time. Investing in interviews, training, and more can take months. But, the more time you invest in finding the right staff, the better your business will be. After all, at the end of the day, it’s the people who work for you who are most often the first people your customers see and the ones who most often interact with your members. Use recruiting and hiring systems to find the perfect staff for your newest facilities.
You’ll know when it’s time to scale your single facility into other locations. Just keep in mind that scaling requires a lot of hard work and tough choices. And, not all functions are those in which you can do alone. Working with a reliable partner may help you position your fitness facility to scale better, faster, and cheaper. Most of all, remember to stay flexible and committed to the change. Expect new realities while continuing to support the proper framework and business model of your successful facility.