With so many different gyms and fitness centers available, there is truly something for everybody. But whether your members pay $10 a month or more of a premium price, one thing is true, the secret to a successful club is rooted in creating a unique experience that values your members’ needs and personal health as much as your bottom line.
If your idea of a fitness center is throwing some weights and cardio machines in a room and letting your members fend for themselves as you collect their membership fees every month, your flawed system won’t withstand the long haul. As the owner and manager of a successful fitness center, it means you’re constantly continuing your education and are open to trying new fitness trends. If you’re not offering something unique to your members and creating a sense of community, than your gym will probably be closing its doors within a few years. The following tips will help you run a successful gym in even the most competitive markets.
Engage Members Immediately
Creating a gym with a sense of community may mean you have to do a little hand-holding within the first 30 to 60 days of a new member’s experience. A member is most motivated when they first become a member. They have their goals in mind and are eager to see results. They are excited by the shiny equipment and want to jump right in. That’s where you come in to welcome them as well as manage their expectations. Despite their initial motivation, a new gym can also be extremely overwhelming, particularly for those who are new to working out, or haven’t exercised in years. Personalizing a game plan and focusing on their strengths while helping them with their weaknesses, can be the difference between an engaged member and one that cancels within the year.
Using a four-pillar approach that involves mindset, movement, nutrition, and recovery, can start your member’s on the path to positive results.
Know & Analyze Your Market
If you don’t fully know your community and clientele, you won’t know how to market to them. Is the gym located in an area full of families and children? Are there a lot of senior citizens? Knowing who your members and potential members are can help guide you in terms of creating programs and classes that best serve them. Even determining the best equipment to purchase can be better understood by analyzing the market.
Design the Gym for Function
All too often club owners lay out the gym based on the equipment, not on their members and users. For example, in almost every gym cardio and strength training equipment are separated from each other. Yet with HIIT training, it might make sense to put them closer together. Assessing the type of workouts your members are doing can help you design a better and more functional gym. Even if your gym is small and you don’t have a ton of room to work with, if you design the facility with the user in mind, you can create a better experience for them. The same goes for the classes and programs you offer. Programming that speaks to your demographic can mean higher retention rates.
Invest in Better Locker Rooms
Too many gym owners skimp on locker room designs. They are often an afterthought, when in reality, they should be the center of attention. Think about it, most members will use the locker room before starting their workout. If the locker room isn’t clean or makes a member feel vulnerable, then they may not even make it to the gym floor. Your locker rooms should make members feel relaxed, comfortable, and most of all, keep them coming back.
Engage Your Demographic
Once you have analyzed your target demographic, do whatever you can to keep them engaged. Whether they are senior citizens or body builders preparing for competition, offer equipment, classes, merchandise and more that appeal to them. Think about opportunities to upsell. For example, if you have a lot of families at your gym, encourage camps and swimming lessons. There are always ways to hold the attention of your demographic and engage them further.
Create a Social Environment
Your goal should be to make your fitness center feel as much like a community as possible. Regardless of the size of your space, adding ways for your members to engage with each other and fall in love with the facility, are all part of the success of the club. People like to go where their friends are, so whatever keeps them coming back and engaging with each other should be part of your business strategy.
Focus on Holistic Health, Not Just Fitness
There’s so much more to fitness than “working out.” By growing the landscape and focusing on all aspects of health, you can help your members with a holistic mindset that includes healthy nutrition, movement and recovery. Tailoring programs that offer nutrition counseling along with personal training can be an added bonus for members to engage and stay on track. Understanding your members’ needs is key to meeting their full range of needs and wants at your club.