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Owning A Gym: 5 Common Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Posted by Eamonn Curley on 24 September, 2018

 

Two weightlifters talking in the background with the end of a barbell in the foreground

We lay out the most common issues gym owners face running their business and give you advice on how to make sure they don’t happen to you.

The greatest joy about being a boutique gym owner is that you get to turn your passion into a profession. You have the opportunity every day to take the lessons you have learned over a lifetime and teach them to others with the goal of hopefully transforming their lives for the better.

However, you have to be ready to take on numerous different roles within your business and each of these will present their own unique challenge.

From making sure you have the correct gym management software in place to manage the important aspects of your business to hiring the right staff to carry out your vision, the journey you undertake in owning a boutique gym is a tough but ultimately rewarding one.

At Glofox we are heavily invested in the path our customers take from the day they sign-up, and we have gained valuable insights into the common challenges that they face. From this, we have seen the lessons they have learned from these challenges. More importantly they share with us the steps they have taken to overcome or prevent them in the future.

From this experience, we have listed the 5 most common mistakes boutique gym owners make and how to avoid them.

 

Not Doing Pre-Sales To Help Cover Overheads.

In the beginning, a lot of gym owners are hit with the realization that the first couple of months is dominated by one thing:

Overheads.

Rent. Electricity. Salaries. Insurance. The reality of the first six months of owning a gym is that a hell of a lot more money is going out in comparison to what’s coming in. To prepare for this it is vital that you have the resources to support the business and yourself. And the best way to do this?

Pre-selling memberships before the doors even open.

Having a pre-sales strategy in place leading up to the grand opening ensures you have income and bodies coming through the door on day one. This should be just as high on the priority list as choosing the location, hiring staff, and ordering equipment.

And when putting together your pre-sales strategy, consider these two key points.

  • Discounts: Offering 3 to 6 month discounted membership can help incentivize potential members who don’t know anything about your business.
  • Marketing Channels: To build up as much notice as you can you need to market your pre-sale offer on as many channels as possible, be it handing out fliers, putting posters up in the area, or promoting your offer online.

 While the key focus of this effort is to acquire new members before the gym opens, the knock-on effect is to build larger brand awareness in the area. If your name is out there in your location through your marketing efforts, you have made a good start in making potential members aware of your brand.

 

Concentrating on the training aspect over the business aspect.

One of the most common issues that arise from owning a gym is changing from a trainer mindset to a business mindset.

Let’s be honest, no one gets into fitness to do mind-numbing paperwork and admin. However, the simple fact is you have to get as comfortable behind a desk as you are in front of a class.

The ability to transition seamlessly through various different roles is so vital to the success of your business long-term and you need to be able to recognize the aspects of the business that need your time and attention. For some further tips on how to make this transition easier, take a look here.

 

Having a “build it, and they will come” attitude.

So after months of research, planning, and design, you have the perfect boutique gym that you wish was around when you began your fitness journey.

People would be crazy not to show up to it, right?

The truth is that while you have boundless enthusiasm for your gym, the average person will see it as just another gym in the area. You need to invest time and money into the marketing side of your business to get ahead of the competition. Luckily we have put together a superb guide to the perfect fitness marketing strategy for the digital age to get you started.

From putting in the hours on the sidewalk handing out fliers to spending your evenings working out how to use Facebook Ads, nothing can be beneath you and it takes a real effort from both you and the rest of your team to make sure the right people know about your business.

 

Not Having A Process For Following Up On Leads.

A common problem that occurs with lead follow up, especially in the first couple of months, is that it is only done once, if at all.

The idea that you as a gym owner must get into your head is that leads are like gold dust. It is then vital for you to bring the person on the journey from interested lead to an active and engaged member.

Once a request comes in from a potential customer there should be a system in place to not only respond to this lead but to nurture them through the sales funnel.

We have recognized how important this process can be for your business and our new Lead Management system is the perfect way to segment, target and manage perspective leads to make sure you are taking the right action at the right time.

 

Not Documenting What Works.

With owning a gym, there will be a great deal of throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Too often though this experimentation is not recorded and it takes longer to develop a process that works for the important areas of your business.

From things like your digital marketing strategy to how you organize and incentivize your staff, there needs to be a record of what works and what doesn’t.

Did you run a successful Facebook Ad campaign that brought it a record number of leads?

Are your consultations contributing to long-term member retention?

Have you developed a sales pitch that is improving your number of sign-ups?

Take what is working well in each area of the business and develop a playbook. By developing a playbook you will be able provide a resource for staff training and implement a proven working strategy throughout your business.

 

Topics: Business Management, Starting a Fitness Business